The ORACLE (Observation and Classroom Learning and Evaluation) and its follow-up study address the following questions:
Has teaching in the primary school changed over the past twenty years?
Has pupil performance improved or declined?
Are the links between certain teacher approaches and pupil achievement still the same?
Has the National Curriculum had any important consequences for the way in which transfer is conducted?
One of the main claims of the National Curriculum is that it has provided greater continuity through the various stages and this should be reflected in smoother transition from one school to the next. This book focuses on the issue of transfer from the primary to the secondary school, using data from the ORACLE project.
This study which took place from 1975 to 1980, followed by 'Son of ORACLE', the study of group-work in the primary classroom 1980 to 1983, has had an enormous influence on the debate on primary education. The studies described in detail what took place in primary classrooms, the teaching styles used by teachers and the responses made by pupils. It linked these processes to pupil performance. Finally, it followed the pupils as they transferred out of the primary school into the secondary phase of education.
At present a new research project is being carried out in Leicester. It involves studying primary schools for one year and then following the children as they transfer to the secondary phase or to a middle school. The project involves two thirds of the schools used in the original ORACLE research. In addition, the same observation instruments and the same tests, modified for cultural differences, are being used.
Maurice Galton, Linda Hargreaves and Tony Pell are all in the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University. Chris Comber and Debbie Wall are at the University of Leicester. They are the authors of Inside the Primary Classroom: 20 Years On.
Times Educational Supplement Book of the Week
'It's a fascinating read, with real lessons for all who are interested in transfer issues ...' - Gerald Haigh, Times Educational Supplement