Trial Evaluation of Business in the Community's (BITC) "Time to Read" Pupil Mentoring Programme  Trials 1 & 2

Study number (SN): 0066-01 BITC 1

Study number (SN): 0066-02 BITC 2                   





This dataset pertains to the findings of a randomized control trial (RCT) evaluating the 'Time to Read' pupil mentoring programme from Business in the Community. The programme is delivered by volunteer mentors who spend one hour per week reading with two children on a one-to-one basis (30 minutes each). The RCT aimed to assess the impact of the 'Time to Read' programme on children.

A total of seven hundred and thirty four children form fifty schools in Northern Ireland took part in the RCT between September 2006 and June 2008. Three hundred and sixty children were randomly assigned to the intervention group and three hundred and seventy four to the control group. Children in both groups were tested on outcomes relating to self-esteem, aspirations for the future, reading ability and enjoyment of education. Outcomes were measured before the intervention, and again every four months for the next two years. 

The BITC2 dataset outlines the findings from a follow-up randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluation of the Business in the Community's 'Time to Read' porogramme. The trial was undertaken between October 2009 and June 2010 and was a follow-up to a previous RCT conducted between 2006-2008. The secind trial took on board recommendations that emerged during the first trial regarding the need to focus on more specific outcomes relating to literacy outcomes. 

Five hundred and twelve children aged between 8 and 9 years old form fifty schools across Norther Ireland took part; two hundred and sixty three were in the intervention group and two hundred and forty nine were in the control group.

Both literacy and non-literacy outcomes were measured. Literacy skills measured included: decoding, reading rate, reading accuracy, reading fluency and comprehension. Educational aspirations were also measured as a non-literacy outcome. 



  • Children
  • Reading






 P5, 6 and 7 primary school pupils in Northern Ireland 


Observation units

  • Individual


Temporal coverage

From 09/2006 to 06/2008


Geographical coverage

Country: United Kingdom, Northern Ireland 


Methods of data collection

  • PAPI (Pencil and Paper Interview, with interviewer (face-to-face, telephone or other)


Sampling procedures

Schools who met the following criteria were invited to take part in the evaluation:

  • had never taken part in the programme previously
  • were located in geographical areas where there would be a concentration of business volunteers to recruit as mentors
  • schools that were large enough to have one teacher per class
  • an equal numer of schools from each of the Education and Library Boards

Two hundred schools were identified. The first fifty schools who responded to the invitation were recruited and the remaining schools were placed on the reserve list. All consenting P5 pupils in the schools were tested as baseline. The following eligibility criteria was applied to pupls for inclusion:

  • scored below average (between 10th and 50th centile) on the reading test
  • did not have a SEN statement

The application of these criteria resulted in eight hundred and forty three pupils. Business in the community has the capacity to put four mentors into each school. Therefore eight pupls from each school were randomly allocated to the intervention group (n = 385) and the remaining eligible children formed the control group ( n = 458).








Data (available through ISSDA application process)

File name

File format/s

Contents of file



Dataset of the BITC Trial 1 RCT 



Dataset of BITC Trial 2 RCT



Documentation (available for download)


File name


File format/s

Contents of file



Summary guide of dataset 



Information letter to parents



Information and consent for parents of control group



Information and consent for arents of intervention group



Summary guide and background of dataset



 Information letter to parents



Information and consent for parents of control group 



Information and consent for parents of intervention group 




Accessing the data

To access the data, please complete a ISSDA Data Request Form for Research Purposes, sign it, and send it to ISSDA by email.

For teaching purposes, please complete the ISSDA Data Request Form for Teaching Purposes, and follow the procedures, as above. Teaching requests are approved on a once-off module/workshop basis. Subsequent occurrences of the module/workshop require a new teaching request form.

Data will be disseminated on receipt of a fully completed, signed form. Incomplete or unsigned forms will be returned to the data requester for completion.



Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, Queens University Belfast 


This study was funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies.

The research team consisted of Dr. Sarah Miller, Dr. Angela Eakin and Dr. Erik Cownie.

Any work based in whole or part on resources provided by ISSDA, should  acknowledge: "An evaluation of the Rialto Learning Community Out of School Time (OST) project,  2011-2013" and also ISSDA, in the following way: “Accessed via the Irish Social Science Data Archive -”.

Citation requirement

The data and its creators shall be cited in all publications and presentations for which the data have been used. The bibliographic citation may be in the form suggested by the archive or in the form required by the publication.

Bibliographical citation

Centre for Effective Education , Queen's University Belfast. (2018). An evaluation of the Rialto Learning Community Out of School Time (OST) project, 2011-2013  [dataset]. Version 1. Irish Social Science Data Archive. SN: 0065-00. URL


The user shall notify the Irish Social Science Data Archive of all publications where she or he has used the data.