XClose

Institute of Education

Home
Menu

The Grammar and Writing Research Project

A mixed-methods research project in collaboration with the UCL Survey of English Usage to assess whether 'Englicious', a new approach to teaching grammar, has benefits for children’s writing at KS1.

Grammar has a much greater emphasis in the 2014 National Curriculum for England than in previous national curricula, and knowledge of grammar is assessed and tested in schools at Key Stages 1 and 2.

Englicious is a web-based platform that was developed at UCL and is informed by cutting-edge linguistics. It advocates an innovative, interactive, game-based approach to grammar teaching.

As of November 2020, over 10,000 teachers have signed up to use the platform.

Team
Aims

The aims of the project are:

  • to contribute to the knowledge base in relation to the ways in which the teaching of grammar impacts on pupils’ writing
  • to support teachers in relation to the teaching of writing required by the National Curriculum in England
  • to bring new evidence to the attention of policy makers who are responsible for the teaching of English, and specifically grammar, in the National Curriculum.

The outcomes will also be of interest to other countries, where English is the dominant language in schools, because the teaching of grammar is included as part of most national curricula for primary schools.  

    Research questions
    • To what extent is the web-based 'Englicious' Intervention (EI) effective in improving pupils’ writing?
    • What are the main implications for teacher practice as a result of implementing EI and, more generally, for evidence-informed teaching of writing?
    • In what ways do the outcomes of the research have implications for the teaching of writing in the National Curriculum for primary schools in England?
    Methods

    The 'Englicious' approach is being evaluated by using the mixed methods design of Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) and qualitative process evaluation.

    74 Year two teachers will be allocated at random to two groups:

    1. The 'Englicious' Intervention (EI) will be trained to use 'Englicious' in lessons
    2. The 'business as usual’ group will receive their normal writing lessons and not receive additional training until project completion. 

    Children’s writing will be assessed using a standardised test and a bespoke sentence construction measure: 

    • pre-randomisation, and
    • at the end of the school year, after the treatment group has received the EI intervention. 
    Latest activites

    The Grammar and Writing Research project began in Spring 2019. Following a successful recruitment phase, the project team began working with 64 primary schools. Excellent progress was being made until COVID-19 resulted in the closure of all schools across the country and a national lockdown was imposed in March 2020. 

    In Autumn 2020, project activities resumed, with many of the same schools and an encouraging number of newly-recruited schools across London and from the neighbouring counties of Essex, Kent and Surrey. In the next phase of our work, we will be randomising all of our new schools. Teachers in the intervention schools will receive our free training and the delivery of the intervention lessons will begin soon after. 

    We will update this page as our work progresses so do check back for the latest news. 

    Please do get in touch with us at grammar-project@ucl.ac.uk if you have any questions or would like to know more about any particular aspect of our research.

    Outputs