We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Christine Merrell

Fleming, M., Merrell, C. & Tymms, P. (2004). The Impact of Drama on Pupils' Language, Mathematics, and Attitude in Two Primary Schools. Research in Drama Education 9(2): 177-197.

Author(s) from Durham


This article reports on research which examined the impact of The National Theatre's Transformation drama project on young pupils' reading, mathematics, attitude, self-concept and creative writing in primary schools. Two of the schools taking part in Transformation were matched to two Control schools in the first two years of the project. Assessments were administered to all pupils at the start of Year 3 as a basis for comparison at the end of Year 4. The assessments were developed by the Performance Indicators in Primary School (PIPS) project, Curriculum Evaluation and Management Centre based at Durham and are widely used by schools across England. This meant that comparison could be made against a nationally representative sample of schools. Although the sample was small, the research project had interesting findings. The value-added scores of pupils in the Transformtion group were frequently higher/more positive than the scores of pupils in the Control group.
The self-concept of the pupils in the Transformation group as determined by the questionnaires was significantly more positive than the pupils in the Control group at the end of Year 4. The article raises questions both about the type of research worth pursuing in the arts and drama, and what research in the arts should seek to achieve.