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CEP discussion paper

Teaching assistants, computers and classroom management: evidence from a randomised control trial


Many students still leave school without a good grasp of basic literacy, despite the negative implications for future educational and labour market outcomes. We evaluate a programme that involves changing how resources are used within classrooms to reinforce the teaching of literacy. Specifically, the programme involves training teaching assistants to deliver a tightly structured package of materials to groups of young children. Further, we compare the effectiveness of computer-aided instruction using available software with the paper equivalent. We implement the experiment in the context of a Randomised Control Trial in English schools. Both interventions have a short-term impact on children’s reading scores, although the effect is bigger for the paper intervention and more enduring in the subsequent year. This paper shows how teaching assistants can be used to better effect within schools, and at a low cost.


Helen Johnson, Sandra McNally, Heather Rolfe, Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela, Robert Savage, Janet Vousden and Clare Wood

1 August 2018     Paper Number CEPDP1562

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Education and skills programme.