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IES Grant

Title: Efficacy Evaluation of Zoology One: Kindergarten Research Labs
Center: NCER Year: 2016
Principal Investigator: Gray, Abigail Awardee: University of Pennsylvania
Program: Reading and Writing      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3.5 years (7/1/16-12/31/19) Award Amount: $3,299,903
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A160109

Co-Principal Investigator: Philip Sirinides

Purpose: In this project, the research team is testing the efficacy of Zoology One, an integrated literacy and science curriculum, for improving the reading, writing, and science achievement of kindergarten students. Many students in the United States fall below grade level in reading, and research suggests that there are benefits of integrating literacy and science instruction to improve outcomes in both areas. Research shows that integrating science and literacy instruction benefits older students' achievement in both domains; however, there is little research on integrated instruction for younger students.

Project Activities: In order to test the efficacy of this fully-developed integrated science and literacy curriculum, the research team will randomly assign kindergarten classrooms of students to receive Zoology One or regular classroom practices already in place. Researchers will assess students before and after participating in their assigned intervention, and then again in first and second grades. Researchers will also conduct a cost analysis to determine how much the intervention will cost for schools to purchase and use.

Products: The research team will produce evidence of the efficacy of the Zoology One curriculum for kindergarten children, and also produce peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place in Philadelphia.

Sample: Approximately 1,600 kindergarten students in 80 classrooms and 20 schools will participate in this study.

Intervention: Zoology One is a fully-developed program that integrates literacy and science instruction for kindergarten students. The program features code-focused instruction, high-volume print exposure, complex text exposure, and integrated science and literacy instruction. Specific components of the program include direct instruction via flexible grouping, formative assessments and progress monitoring, high-volume writing practices, accountable talk, professional development, and parent support resources. Zoology One also includes books, a curriculum guide for teachers, and various assessments.

Research Design and Methods: This project uses a multi-site cluster randomized trial. The research team will randomly assign two cohorts of 40 kindergarten classrooms to receive Zoology One or to a business-as-usual control. Researchers will assess students using pre-and post-tests and follow students longitudinally and assess them in first, second, and third grade.

Control Condition: In the control condition, students receive standard classroom practices in place at the school.

Key Measures: Student outcome measures include the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test, the Sentence Writing Assessment, and the Science Learning Assessment. The research team will assess fidelity of implementation and comparison classroom practices using semi-structured interviews and classroom observations.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use multilevel modeling to examine the efficacy of Zoology One on students' reading, writing, and science outcomes. The models will include students at level 1 and classrooms/teachers at level 2. The researchers will also examine variation in impact between schools. The research team will analyze observation and semi-structured interview data to determine fidelity of implementation and comparison classroom practices.