agency, assessment, balanced literacy, collaborative professional development, creativity, engagement, high-poverty, identity, motivation, professional learning communities, self-efficacy, whole-school intervention
How best to narrow the literacy achievement gap between children in low and high socio-economic status (SES) communities, has been a focus of successive governments around the world. This paper describes phase one of a longitudinal collaborative university, school and community intervention in eight disadvantaged schools in Dublin, designed to address underachievement in literacy and build children’s motivation, engagement, agency, and academic resilience. It begins with a brief outline of policy context in Ireland and the range of initiatives undertaken to date to address the underachievement of low SES children. Second, an overview of the research underpinning the balanced literacy framework used in the intervention, the change model, and the collaborative professional development are outlined. Third, drawing on questionnaires, findings in relation to school and teacher change are presented. Next, a profile of a school which has been successful in changing outcomes for children at all class levels is presented drawing on the questionnaire data and results of standardised tests of reading achievement. Finally, key factors impacting on the level of success in changing outcomes are highlighted.