Comparing the Measuring stick to the measured: Supporting EAL Pupil’s writing Development

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


This article reports a study conducted in an inner London primary school . The study, conducted in 2011, explores the extent to which the school supports the early development of ‘English as an additional language’ (EAL) pupils’ writing. The school had seen a downward trend in attainment. What is not clear is whether the cause of this decline was due to the issue of English being an additional language or dialect for the majority of the pupils and / or whether curriculum, assessment structures and instructional practices were a contributing factor to the perceived failures.

Literature and theories relating to bilingualism, EAL approaches and motivation are presented within the context of a case study conducted at the school. Teacher interview transcripts were coded for theoretical references. In addition to this form of data collection, other prevailing themes were identified in this and curriculum document analysis to ascertain and portray the possible reasons for these low results.

Some of the findings from the study suggest that while the National Curriculum is supportive of the need to adapt instruction to pupils’ needs, an inconsistent approach to local curriculum provision, and national assessment practices, and the lack of autonomy felt by some teachers may explain the observed underachievement in attainment. Practical recommendations for more supportive and progressive approaches are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Specialist publicationNational Association for Language Development in the Curriculum: EAL Matters
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


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