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National Center for Special Education Research


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Reading Achievement Multi-component Program (RAMP-UP)

Year: 2012
Name of Institution:
Lehigh University
Goal: Efficacy and Replication
Principal Investigator:
Calhoon, Mary Beth
Award Amount: $3,485,216
Award Period: 3/1/2012 – 2/29/16
Award Number: R324A120123

Description:

Co-Principal Investigators: Edward Shapiro (Lehigh University) and Lee Branum-Martin (University of Houston Medical Center)

Purpose: Many adolescents with reading disabilities read 4 to 6 years below grade level, score poorly on reading assessments, and show severe deficits in word recognition, reading fluency, and comprehension. Questions exist regarding the most effective way to provide remedial reading instruction for adolescents. Some researchers advocate for an instructional emphasis on phonological decoding, while others promote an emphasis on comprehension.

This research team is conducting a randomized controlled trial designed to address these questions and explore the most effective and efficient means to develop reading skills of middle school students with reading disabilities. The team is examining the efficacy of two versions of a fully developed and empirically supported peer-mediated, multi-component remedial reading program that is designed specifically for adolescents with reading disabilities. Both versions address deficits in phonological decoding, spelling, fluency, and comprehension skills. However, they differ in the amount of allotted instructional time devoted to phonological decoding or comprehension. The two interventions will be compared to a business-as-usual condition.

Project Activities: A randomized controlled trial will be used to evaluate the efficacy of two versions of a peer-mediated, multi-component remedial reading program that is designed specifically for adolescents with reading disabilities. Both versions address deficits in phonological decoding, spelling, fluency, and comprehension skills. One intervention will devote more time to phonological decoding instruction while the other will devote more time to comprehension instruction. Approximately 720 sixth-graders with reading disabilities from 72 middle school classrooms in Pennsylvania will participate in this research. The team will determine the extent to which each version of the program leads to gains in reading outcomes for sixth-graders compared to each other and to a business-as-usual condition. The team will also examine the extent to which any observed differences persist in seventh and eighth grades.

Products: The products of this project will be published reports on the efficacy of the two versions of the intervention for improving phonological decoding, spelling, fluency, and comprehension outcomes of middle school students with reading disabilities.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research project will take place in middle schools in Pennsylvania.

Sample: Approximately 720 sixth-graders with reading disabilities from 72 middle school classrooms will participate in this research.

Interventions: This project proposes to contrast two versions of an intervention, called the Reading Achievement Multi-component Program. Both versions address deficits in phonological decoding, spelling, fluency, and comprehension skills. However, they differ in the amount of allotted instructional time devoted to phonological decoding or comprehension.

Reading Achievement Multi-component Program—Phonological Decoding emphasis. Students will receive 50 minutes of reading instruction every day during the students' designated remedial reading period for 26 weeks for a total of 109 hours. The Phonological Decoding emphasis module provides phonological instruction in isolation while providing combined instruction in comprehension, fluency, and spelling. Students will receive two consecutive days of phonological decoding instruction alternating with one day of comprehension, spelling, and fluency instruction. The comprehension, spelling, and fluency instruction lesson will be divided so that students receive 30 minutes of comprehension instruction, 10 minutes of spelling instruction, and 10 minutes of fluency instruction per session. This pattern will be repeated for the 26 weeks of program implementation, resulting in approximately 73 hours of phonological decoding instruction, 21.5 hours of comprehension instruction, 7.2 hours of spelling instruction, and 7.2 hours of fluency instruction.

Reading Achievement Multi-component Program—Comprehension emphasis. Students will receive 50 minutes of reading instruction every day during the students' designated remedial reading period for 26 weeks for a total of 109 hours. The Comprehension emphasis module provides comprehension instruction in isolation while providing combined instruction in phonological decoding, fluency, and spelling. Students will receive two consecutive days of comprehension instruction alternating with one day of phonological decoding, spelling, and fluency instruction. The phonological decoding, spelling, and fluency instruction lesson will be divided so that students receive 30 minutes of phonological decoding instruction, 10 minutes of spelling instruction, and 10 minutes of fluency instruction per session. This pattern will be repeated for the 26 weeks of program implementation, resulting in approximately 73 hours of comprehension instruction, 21.5 hours of decoding instruction, 7.2 hours of spelling instruction, and 7.2 hours of fluency instruction.

Research Design and Methods: A randomized controlled trial will be used to study the efficacy of the two reading interventions. Adolescents with reading disabilities will be randomized within schools to treatment or comparison conditions. The treatment classes at each school will then be randomly assigned to one of the two treatment conditions. Students will be assessed before, during, and immediately after intervention, and at the end of seventh and eighth grade. Information on the fidelity of intervention implementation will be collected.

Control Condition: Students in the business-as-usual condition will receive instruction typically provided by the schools.

Key Measures: Key outcomes include standardized and norm-referenced assessments of reading comprehension, fluency, spelling, listening comprehension, and vocabulary. The researchers will also collect observational data on fidelity of implementation and treatment dosage.

Data Analytic Strategy: Multi-level modeling will be used to estimate the effects of the two reading interventions on measures of reading comprehension, fluency, spelling, listening comprehension, and vocabulary immediately after the intervention ends. The team will also investigate whether any program effects observed are sustained one and two years after treatment.