Evaluation of articulate project

Scottish Executive (Funder); Soden, Rebecca and Seagraves, Liz and Livingston, Kay. (2008) Evaluation of articulate project. Scottish Executive, Edinburgh.

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The Articulate Project was commissioned by West Dunbartonshire Council, with funding from the Scottish Executive’s Future Learning and Teaching (FLaT) programme,The Scottish Arts Council, West Dunbartonshire Council and West Dunbartonshire Partnership. Activities relating to the project took place between May and December 2004. The overall aim of the Articulate Project was to “explore how or if the arts, and specifically drama and theatre practice, might impact positively on English language skills in the classroom” (AELP, 2005, p5). The five specific aims of the Articulate Project were to: · develop the creative and imaginative writing skills of participating pupils · improve the ability of pupils to communicate effectively · raise levels of pupils’ self esteem and self worth · increase pupils’ motivation to participate in, and enjoy, learning · create a positive impact on thinking skills, problem solving and team working on individuals, schools and the community. The Traverse Theatre devised a programme of pupil activities with the help of a teacher in one of the participating primary schools. In the initial stage, all participating pupils (in each class from each of five schools) were introduced to drama techniques by a Traverse Theatre actress and they attended two theatre performances. In the next stage the focus shifted to creative writing, and a group of ten pupils from each class worked directly in 10 workshops with a Traverse Theatre playwright, in order to develop their own drama sketches, which were performed by professional actors in Denny Civic Theatre. At the same time, the remainder of each class engaged in similar creative writing lessons with their teacher. Although this second Articulate group did not have their work performed, they supported the Denny Civic Theatre production by producing art work with the help of a professional artist. There were three main phases in the evaluation, which began five months after the projectended. A first phase (June and July 2005) was designed to build up a picture of the Project through extended interviews with its key architects and through document analysis. In a second phase (August – October 2005), impact on pupils was explored through theirresponses to Articulate-specific questionnaires and to two standardised instruments (the Marsh Self Description Questionnaire and the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking - ‘Thinking Creatively with Words’), as well as through their focus group contributions. This second phase included evaluation of the project’s impact on staff through one-to-one interviews with school staff and analysis of an extended interview with the Traverse Theatre Literary Development Officer. A third phase (November 2005 – January 2006) was concerned mainly with data analysis, including pre- and post-project attainment level data for reading and writing, but also provided an opportunity for parents and a local community organisation to express views on the project. During this phase final discussions also took place with a primary Head Teacher and the Depute Head in the secondary school.