Quest was designed to help struggling pupils in early secondary school to quickly improve their literacy. Pupils are grouped according to their reading skills, with very small classes for those who are furthest behind. The teaching approach emphasises cooperative learning, and the pupils who are making the least progress also receive computer tutoring and individualised teaching. Pupils are regularly reassessed and move groups as they improve
Quest evolved from a US project called the Reading Edge, which has been shown to have a positive impact on literacy skills. There is some promising evidence for Quest in the US, but it has not been evaluated in the UK. This project will test whether the approach is transferable to the UK, and whether it can support struggling readers to catch up at the start of secondary school.
The project will be evaluated by a team from Queens University Belfast. The Quest evaluation will involve 30 secondary schools. Schools will be randomly assigned to either begin teaching Year 7 English using Quest in September 2013, or to a control group. This evaluation is set up as an efficacy trial. Efficacy trials aim to test whether an intervention can work under ideal conditions (e.g. when being delivered by the intervention’s original developer) in greater than 10 schools.
To view the project’s evaluation protocol, click here.
The evaluation report is due in Spring 2015.