School Supporting Interventions for Marginalised Children

Vulnerable children do significantly worse in public school compared to other children. They already do worse at the first national tests in 2. Grade (Danish) and 3. grade (mathematics). Register data analyses show that very few children manage to catch up with their classmates during the school days.

How can the importance of social background be reduced for these children? That is what TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research seeks to find an answer to in an assessment of two school supporting efforts, Klub Penalhus and Makkerlæsning. The effect assessment is carried out in cooperation with Socialstyrelsen.     

Period:

2015 – 2018.

Target group:

Children in 3. and 5. grade, who are either placed or receives a preventive arrangement.    

Number of participants:

650 children are expected to participate in the tests.     

Intervention:

The goal of the project is to improve the academic level in Danish and mathematics for vulnerable children. Therefore, one of the two school supporting efforts, Makkerlæsning, aims to improve children’s reading skills, while the other effort, Klub Penalhus, focuses on both reading and mathematics. Both efforts are school supporting, given that they take place at home and outside school hours.

In Klub Penalhus the child receives a colourful package with learning material each month through half a year. The packages contain books, games, reading – and writing tools plus mathematic problems. Additionally, the packages contain a personal letter to the child from a number of role models such as Hella Joof and Jacob Riising. Klub Penalhus is a Danish version of the British project The Letterbox Club, which has had promising results.

Makkerlæsning is a reading program, where an adult reading buddy, such as the child’s parent, foster parent or guardian, reads together with the child for abour 20 minutes, three times a week through four months. The adult reading buddy is being trained through a one-day course before the test starts. Buddy reading is inspired by the effort Paired Reading that has been tried out in England and Sweden.      

Research:

The effect of the school supporting efforts will be evaluated in randomized controlled trials with randomisation on individual level.  

Half of the in total 650 participating children will through a draw be extracted as the action group, while the other half functions as a comparison group.
The draw ensures that the group of children who receives the effort and the comparison group are alike before the trial period. As a result the differences between the two groups after the trial period can be attributed to the effort itself. The children in the comparison group are offered to participate in the effort the following school year.

The students’ benefits, consisting of competencies in reading and mathematics plus improved well-being, are measured through the national tests and the satisfaction measurement.    

Partners:

Socialstyrelsen, Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality, Rambøll Management Consulting, VIA University College and Als Research.

Results:

Expected in 2017.

Project group

Dorthe Bleses

Professor
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Mette Vedsgaard Christensen

Associate professor
Via University College

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Bo Vinnerljung

Professor
Stockholm's University

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Simon Calmar Andersen

Professor
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