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IES Grant

Title: Scale-up Evaluation of Reading Intervention for First Grade English Learners
Center: NCER Year: 2011
Principal Investigator: Francis, David Awardee: University of Houston
Program: Reading and Writing      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years Award Amount: $5,201,997
Goal: Scale-Up Evaluations Award Number: R305A110297
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Sharon Vaughn (University of Texas at Austin)

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to determine the effectiveness of a fully developed first grade literacy and oracy intervention in Spanish and English when implemented directly by school personnel across various settings and populations. In addition, researchers will assess the factors at the student and school levels that moderate intervention effectiveness. The research team also intends to complete a one year follow-up of participants to determine maintenance of effects. Researchers seek to generalize findings from prior efficacy studies. This will be done by carrying out the research in settings and with populations that vary from close to far extensions of the original populations and settings used in the efficacy trials that have been conducted on this intervention.

Project Activities: Researchers will focus on determining the effectiveness of a fully developed supplemental reading intervention for English language learners (ELLs) with reading difficulties (Proactive/Proactiva) when implemented under normal conditions. School district personnel will deliver the intervention in school settings across a variety of conditions (i.e., different populations of student participants, different geographic areas) and with a large sample of at-risk ELL students who are learning to read. The intervention is delivered during small group daily reading instruction for students identified as experiencing early reading difficulties. Two randomized control trials will be carried out (close extension and near-far extension), each comprised of two cohorts of 10 schools (20 schools per study) with four classrooms per school and 5-10 participating students per classroom. Students participating in the study are Spanish-speaking bilingual first graders who may be receiving their literacy instruction in either English or Spanish at the school's discretion. Observations of the intervention and core reading curriculum will take place in treatment and control schools. Students will be assessed individually at the start of the school year (screening/pre-test), and at the end of grade one (immediate post-test) and two (follow-up).

Products: Products include evidence of effectiveness of the intervention (Proactive/Proactiva) under different conditions. Published reports of findings will also be produced.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in elementary schools in urban Texas, border Texas, small suburban Colorado, and an urban site outside of Texas.

Population: Students participating in the study are Spanish-speaking, bilingual first graders who may be receiving their literacy instruction in either English or Spanish at the school's discretion. Data will be gathered from approximately 400 first-grade students, and their 40 first-grade teachers.

Intervention: The interventions to be tested are two early reading interventions for Spanish-speaking students, one in Spanish (Proactiva) and one in English (Proactive). These interventions have roots in SRA's Early Interventions in Reading, a comprehensive, integrated reading, intervention program. Proactive/Proactiva includes a language development component and is more appropriate for ELLs. The Proactive/Proactiva intervention is targeted to first-grade English language learners experiencing early reading difficulties. The 120 lesson intervention curriculum for both English and Spanish is implemented as small group daily reading instruction. The intervention programs for both English and Spanish are composed of 6–10 short daily activities. This typically includes word games designed to promote phonemic awareness, practice with letter-sound correspondence for letters or letter combinations, and practice writing letters. Other activities include learning the sound of a new letter or letter combination, reading and writing words and sentences, and comprehension. The intervention has been rigorously tested in both languages and found to have good efficacy in two separate trials for each language.

Research Design and Methods: Both effectiveness studies will use random assignment of schools to either an experimental treatment or a "business as usual" control. Two studies will be carried out (close extension and near-far extension), each comprised of two cohorts of 10 schools (20 schools per study) and 5-10 students per classroom, with four classrooms per school. Students participating in the study are all Spanish-speaking, bilingual first graders who may be receiving their literacy instruction in either English or Spanish at the school's discretion. The research team will screen all first grade students in the school, but schools will decide using their own data and decision rules which students are at-risk and merit intervention in addition to their core reading program. The research team will follow all students meeting research criteria for intervention, regardless of whether the school has identified them for intervention. Additionally, the research team will also follow all students identified by the school for intervention, and a small group of students not identified by the school or research team as in need of services in order to assess outcomes for typically developing children in the same classrooms. Observations of intervention and core reading curriculum will take place in treatment and control schools using the same observation instruments, and on the same schedule. Students will be assessed individually at the start of the school year (screening/pre-test), and at the end of grade one (immediate post-test) and two (follow-up).

Control Condition: Schools assigned to the "business-as-usual" control condition will continue to deliver their first grade reading curricula, including supplementary interventions, as they typically do.

Key Measures: Effectiveness of the treatment in improving students' word level reading skills, reading comprehension, and oral language skills will be tested using well-accepted, standardized measures from the Woodcock-Johnson III and the Woodcock Muñoz III. Phonological awareness will be measured using the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing and the Test of Phonological Processing in Spanish. Word reading fluency will be assessed using the AIMSWeb first grade benchmark stories. Researcher-developed observation protocols will be used to gather fidelity of implementation information.

Data Analytic Strategy: Research hypotheses will be tested using a three-level repeated measures analysis of covariance following an intent-to-treat model. Subsequent to these analyses, researchers will examine the role of student and school characteristics as moderators of intervention effectiveness.


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