Recognition in OECD Seminar Evidence-Based Policy Research

The following passage is from Improving Educational Policy and Practice through an Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme, delivered by Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee (NZ Ministry of Education) to the OECD US Seminar, Evidence-Based Policy Research, Washington DC, 19-20 April, 2004:

Biddulph's (1983[1];1983[2];1993[3]) experimental study of a four-session (five hour in total) group programme to train New Zealand parents of children with reading difficulties to tutor their children at home, was relatively low cost. It produced reading gain increases across one to four reading levels that were significantly (p <0.001) higher than those of a control group after three months and sustained a year later at an average level of progress for previously struggling readers. Both the target group and the control group received the business-as-usual in-school supports for learners with reading difficulties including individual assistance. Research and development were closely aligned in Biddulph's approach which was grounded in a strong theoretical foundation and the findings elaborated and explained through detailed case studies. The experimental design using random assignment of matched students within and across schools was quite feasible because the intervention occurred out of school time. This work illustrates a critical role afforded by research-based postgraduate study in education for supporting inter-linked research and development. Perhaps the strongest indication of the success of the intervention is that across two decades of word-of-mouth recommendations, it has occasioned from NZ educators, hundreds of requests for the originator to help others to implement the intervention. [p.5]


  1. Biddulph, J. (1983). A group programme to train parents of children with reading difficulties to tutor their children at home. MA Research Report, Education Department, University of Canterbury.
  2. Biddulph, J & Tuck, B. (1983). Assisting parents to help their children with reading at home. Paper presented to the New Zealand Association for Research in Education. Wellington.
  3. Biddulph, J. (1993, May). Teacher-parent partnership to support children's reading development. Paper presented to the New Zealand Reading Association Annual Conference, Christchurch.

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