Cleverbean - Cleverbean research

Proudly a preferred supplier of NSW Department of Education

Proudly a preferred supplier of NSW Department of Education

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Research drives what we do

To ensure the highest quality of materials are delivered to you, we are very deliberate about how we include the latest educational research in every lesson, unit, resource or other material we publish.



At Cleverbean, our team is passionately committed to evidence-based practices, ensuring that teachers have access to the highest quality materials for effective teaching. Drawing from extensive individual experiences of 10-20 years in diverse classroom settings, our team guarantees support with the most effective practices. We believe that the combination of Cleverbean's materials and your expertise will ensure student engagement, achievement of educational outcomes, as well as a profound love for learning.

Gradual Release of Responsibility

What is it?

The Gradual Release of Responsibility model is broadly recognised as a successful approach for moving classroom instruction from teacher-centered, whole group delivery to student-centered collaboration and independent practice. It is often referred to as the 'I do, we do, you do' mode of delivery, which proposes a plan of instruction that includes demonstration, prompt, and practice effectively.

Research tells us that the Gradual Release of Responsibility model of instruction is an effective approach for improving literacy achievement (Fisher & Frey, 2007), reading comprehension (Lloyd, 2004), and literacy outcomes for English language learners (Kong & Pearson, 2003).

How we use it

The Gradual Release of Responsibility model is fundamental to Cleverbean's instructional approach. All of our lessons are structured to enact the model, starting with 'Modelled', moving into 'Guided' and finally 'Independent' stages. We implement this model by demonstrating concepts explicitly, providing prompts, and guiding collaborative and independent practice.

Our use of the Gradual Release of Responsibility model is not just about receiving instructions; it's a collaborative process where teachers support students to build their independence. This flexible teaching method ensures all Cleverbean's lessons promote engagement and curiosity, fostering a classroom environment where students become confident, creative and critical thinking learners.

The Science of Learning

What is it?

The Science of Learning provides current and relevant information on how students learn, and how teachers can help them learn better. It is important for all teachers to know about the principles of learning and how they can apply them in the classroom.

Sometimes, teachers make assumptions about how students learn based on their own experiences and what feels right to them; however, it's important to remember that our intuition can be wrong. For example, reading a text several times without any breaks or checks for understanding might not actually help us understand and remember the information better. Cognitive science can show us better ways to learn and remember information.

Another key aspect of learning is memory; it's how we remember and use information over time. Teachers can help students learn better by understanding how memory works and using that knowledge in their teaching. By introducing new information at the right time and in the right way, teachers can help students remember it better. Providing tasks that reinforce what students have learned will help them think critically and creatively.

When it comes to evidence-based reading instruction (the science of reading), Scarborough's Reading Rope, a tool created by Dr. Hollis Scarborough to understand the complexities of reading, is fundamental to understanding how students learn to read. It consists of two parts: word recognition and language comprehension. Importantly, the Reading Rope helps identify areas of weakness and guide interventions for struggling readers. It also highlights how building literacy knowledge is critical to reading success. Literacy knowledge refers to understanding the purposes, features, and conventions of texts. As students progress through primary and secondary school, they need opportunities to read a wide variety of genres and receive explicit instruction in text structures. Importantly, this research shows that students with more knowledge have a better chance of understanding the texts they encounter, and thus becoming skilled readers and writers.

The science of learning is a growing field that combines neuroscience, psychology, and other learning sciences. It shows that the brain continues to develop throughout life based on relationships, environments, and experiences. This research has many practical implications for creating opportunities for all learners in the literacy classroom.

How we use it

Cleverbean's approach to literacy is rooted in an in-depth understanding of the science of learning. Informed by evidence based practice and cognitive science, our materials are aligned with key principles that enhance educational outcomes for all students.

We acknowledge that learning involves a change in long-term memory, highlighting the connection between working memory and storing knowledge for future use. Our lesson plans encourage repeated practice for consolidation of knowledge, to ensure effective learning, fostering the development of robust mental models.

Understanding the limited capacity of working memory, Cleverbean presents all information in lessons and supporting materials in manageable chunks, providing opportunities at each stage of the lesson for guidance, feedback, and importantly, for practice. This approach supports all students, tailoring strategies to diverse capacities for processing information.

Cleverbean prioritises mastery, guiding students to store and recall knowledge meaningfully. Through varied practice, students develop fluency, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Relevant background knowledge is consolidated, empowering students to apply it creatively. This approach is evident in all lesson materials.

Finally, using insights from Scarborough's Reading Rope, Cleverbean designs reading lessons with a focus on two key aspects: word recognition and language comprehension. For word recognition, our lessons follow a systematic approach to teach phonics, starting with basic concepts like single letters and progressing to more complex ones. Early learners benefit from using picture books and engaging literacy activities. To improve students' comprehension, our lessons concentrate on vocabulary, background knowledge, and understanding language structures. Structured for explicit teaching and consolidation of learning, we also incorporate diverse mentor texts to enhance students' reading experiences.

Formative Assessment

What is it?

Formative assessment is a collaborative process that involves both students and teachers. It is not something that is done to students, but rather with them. It involves ongoing feedback and checks during the learning process to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student achievement.

Unlike summative assessment, which evaluates educational outcomes, formative assessment focuses on providing qualitative feedback to both students and teachers. It is a continuous process that allows teachers to monitor student progress and make informed decisions about their instruction. This type of assessment supports students in becoming self-directed learners, helping them to set goals and take responsibility for their own learning.

Formative assessment can take many forms, such as single sentences, verbal responses or short written texts. Two experts in formative assessment are Dylan Wiliam and John Hattie. Dylan Wiliam’s research outlines five key strategies that support effective formative assessment. These strategies include clarifying learning intentions, having effective classroom discussions, providing feedback, activating students as learning resources for each other, and activating students as owners of their own learning. John Hattie discusses the principles and practices of effective teaching and learning in his book ‘Visible Learning’. Like Wiliam, his research supports ongoing feedback as being crucial for students' academic learning outcomes. Both of these experts highlight the importance of using assessment to make learning more visible and to enhance its power as a learning tool.

How we use it

Cleverbean strongly supports the practical benefits of formative assessment for teachers and students. In all our lessons, we embed formative assessment prompts that directly align with learning goals and success criteria. These are included at the end of every lesson plan. Some of our lessons even feature digital tools such as Google Forms that can be used to conduct efficient and effective formative feedback, with little to no preparation from the teacher. This ensures that teachers can seamlessly incorporate these assessment tools into their daily instruction. Cleverbean's commitment to formative assessment goes beyond theory; it's a practical integration into every lesson.


What is it?

Differentiation is a high impact strategy where teachers vary their instructional approaches to the content, the process, and/or the product in anticipation of or in response to student differences in readiness, interests, and learning. When it comes to content, teachers can use materials at different reading levels, provide auditory and visual aids, and meet with small groups to re-teach or extend learning. In terms of process, teachers can use tiered activities, groupings and manipulatives to support different learners. For products, students can be provided with options to express their learning, such as drawing a picture, writing a letter, or verbally recounting some information.

Carol Ann Tomlinson, a well known expert in the field of differentiation, believes that differentiation is about teaching with the individual student in mind. Tomlinson’s research highlights the need for recognising and building upon students’ similarities and differences in the classroom, and establishing clear learning goals. In this way, a differentiated classroom provides multiple options for students to acquire content, make sense of ideas, and express their learning: “Teachers are most likely to be most effective when they have students work with the same essential understandings but at varied levels of complexity and with different scaffolding based on the students’ current points of development” (2013, pp. 6).

How we use it

At Cleverbean, we advocate for the creation of robust tasks that can be effortlessly differentiated, fostering an inclusive learning environment where every student can access the curriculum and achieve academic success. Our lessons enable teachers to embed collaborative, open ended tasks that encourage critical and creative thinking, and celebrate the success of every individual student. Cleverbean lessons also provide guidance on how to adapt tasks, ensuring they are accessible for students requiring additional support and challenging for those seeking an extra level of engagement.

Differentiation at Cleverbean is not about introducing entirely new tasks or activities; instead, it involves thoughtful adjustments to accommodate diverse phases of learning. This ensures that all students, regardless of their individual needs, can actively participate and thrive within the learning process.


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