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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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The CLIMBERs Study: Preliminary Findings From a Randomized Cluster Design

Beth Boulay, Abt Associates
Carolyn Layzer, Abt Associates
Richard R. Hurtig, University of Iowa
Nancy Jackson, University of Iowa

Abstract: The CLIMBERs study is using a randomized cluster design to estimate the impact of an early literacy curriculum (Breakthrough to Literacy, BTL) on preschool student literacy outcomes, as well as on teacher instruction. While a randomized trial is widely accepted as the best method for evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention or program, the use of this type of design is still limited in school settings. The CLIMBERs study team successfully recruited 44 schools to participate, and randomly assigned 22 schools to implement the BTL curriculum and 22 schools to a control condition. This poster display will present the details of the design of the study, the statistical models being used to estimate the impact of BTL on students and teachers, and preliminary findings based on data collected on the first cohort of preschool classrooms and students. These preliminary findings reveal no significant differences in measures of teacher practice; however, there was a trend toward BTL teachers being less punitive towards their students than their control group counterparts (p < .10). Across the 4 domains of early literacy skills measured in preschool students, BTL students outperformed their control group peers on the test of blending skills. The BTL student scored 1.23 points higher, on average. This corresponds to an effect size of .26, which is both statistically and practically significant. Students did not differ on tests of print awareness, elision, or expressive vocabulary.