TEACHING

ASSISTANT RESEARCH

Click the titles below to download the DISS project reports and briefings published by the Dept for Children, Schools and Families (2006-09)

 

The deployment and impact of support staff project. Research summary (2009)

Short summary of DISS project main findings, conclusions and recommendations

 

The impact of support staff in schools. Strand 2 Wave 2. Research report (2009)  

Findings on the impact of TAs and other support staff on the teachers, teaching and pupil learning, behaviour and academic progress

 

Characteristics, working conditions, job satisfaction and impact of workforce remodelling. Findings from the Strand 1, Waves 1-3 surveys. Research report (2009)

Findings from a systematic survey of support staff on their characteristics and deployment in schools, and how these changed between 2004 to 2008

 

The deployment and impact of support staff in schools and the impact of The National Agreement. Strand 2 Wave 1 report (2008). Research report | Research brief  

Findings from systematic observations on classroom interactions and interim findings from case studies on the deployment of TAs and other support staff

 

The deployment and impact of support staff. Findings from the Strand 1 Wave 2 survey (2007). Research report | Research brief 

Interim findings from a systematic survey of support staff on their characteristics and deployment in schools, and how these changed between 2004 to 2006

 

The deployment and impact of support staff. Findings from the Strand 1 Wave 1 survey (2006). Research brief

Preliminary findings from a systematic survey of support staff on their characteristics and deployment in schools in 2004

The Deployment and Impact of Support Staff (DISS) project

Key publication:

Reassessing the Impact

of Teaching Assistants,

by Blatchford, Russell

& Webster (2012)

tawithpair

Key DISS project publications

 

Blatchford, P., Russell, A. and Webster, R. (2012) Reassessing the impact of teaching assistants: How research challenges practice and policy, Oxon: Routledge

 

Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Martin, C., Russell, A. and Webster, R. (2011) The impact of support staff on pupils’ ‘positive approaches to learning’ and their academic progress, British Educational Research Journal, 37(3) pp. 443-464

 

Radford, J., Blatchford, P. and Webster, R. (2011) Opening up and closing down: Comparing teacher and TA talk in mathematics lessons, Learning and Instruction, 21(5) pp. 625-635

 

Webster, R., Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Martin, C. and Russell, A. (2011) The wider pedagogical role of teaching assistants, School Leadership and Management, 31(1) pp. 3-20

 

Rubie-Davies, C., Blatchford, P., Webster, R., Koutsoubou, M. and Bassett, P. (2010) Enhancing learning?: A comparison of teacher and teaching assistant interactions with pupils, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 21(4) pp. 429-449

 

Webster, R., Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Martin, C. and Russell, A. (2010) Double standards and first principles: Framing teaching assistant support for pupils with special educational needs, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 25(4) pp. 319-336

 

Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P. and Webster, R. (2009) The effect of support staff on pupil engagement and individual attention. British Educational Research Journal, 35(5) pp. 661-686

The DISS project is the largest study of teaching assistants and other school support staff carried out in the world. The research was conducted between 2003 and 2009.

 

It is the first longitudinal study to analyse the impact of TAs on teachers, teaching and pupils' learning, behaviour and academic progress in everyday classroom settings. The findings have been widely reported in the media and have important implications for teaching, school management and the education of pupils - especially those with special educational needs.

 

Contrary to commonsense views about TA support (i.e. more adult support for those who need it most helps them to progress), we found that a negative relationship between the amount of TA support received and the progress made by pupils in mainstream primary and secondary schools. These results were not attributable to pupil characteristics, such as their prior attainment or SEN status, and nor could we explain them in terms of decisions made by TAs. Instead, it is the way schools and teachers deploy and prepare TAs – factors that are out of TAs’ control – that best explain the surprising results.

 

The DISS project findings are detailed in our book Reassessing the Impact of Teaching Assistants. In it we reveal the extent to which pupils in most need are let down by current arrangements and present a robust challenge to the widespread practices concerning TA preparation, deployment and how they interact with pupils. Links to our key publications based on the DISS project are posted in the right sidebar.

 

 

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