Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: SRSD+: Development of a Powerful Writing Program for Children in Grades 1 and 2
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Kim, Young-Suk Awardee: University of California, Irvine
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (07/01/2017 - 06/30/2020) Award Amount: $1,400,000
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A170113

Co-Principal Investigator: Karen Harris (Arizona State University)

Purpose: In this project, researchers will develop and test the promise of a writing intervention called SRSD+ for children in grades 1 and 2. SRSD+ will be an adaptation of Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD), a writing instruction approach that has been shown to be effective for improving writing outcomes for students in upper elementary and secondary school grades. Many students have difficulty writing by the time they get to upper elementary school, and research shows that oral language, transcription, and writing strategies are important skills for the development of writing skills. Additionally, teaching these skills in early elementary school may help children develop stronger writing skills later in school. SRSD+ will be developed to integrate oral language skills, transcription, and writing strategy skills for students in grades 1 and 2.

Project Activities: SRSD+ will be a fully-developed, expanded version of SRSD for use with students in grades 1 and 2. It will focus on informational texts and teach students oral language, transcription, and self-regulation skills. SRSD+ will be developed over the first two years of the grant. Researchers will begin by developing lessons and testing them in first and second grade classrooms with special interventionists hired by the research team. Teachers will participate in focus groups to provide feedback on the lessons. After revisions to the lessons, the researchers will again test the intervention, this time implemented by first and second grade teachers. The researchers will then make final revisions and will conduct a final test of SRSD+ in which first and second grade students, and their teachers, will be randomly assigned to either use SRSD+ or the regular classroom instruction already in place in their classrooms.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed SRSD+ intervention, evidence of SRSD+'s promise to improve student writing outcomes, and peer reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place in an urban California school district.

Sample: Participants in this study include approximately 480 first and second grade students and their 64 teachers.

Intervention: SRSD+ will be an adaptation of SRSD, which has been shown through extensive research to be effective for improving writing skills for students in upper elementary and secondary school. SRSD+ will incorporate the writing skills and self-regulation strategies present in SRSD, with a number of important additions. First, SRSD+ will extend SRSD downward into first and second grades. Second, SRSD+ will incorporate lessons in transcription skills. Third, SRSD+ will incorporate lessons in oral language, specifically vocabulary and sentence proficiency. The intervention will be implemented over 12 weeks, with three days of instruction per week, and each sessions lasting approximately 45 minutes.

Research Design and Methods: Development of SRSD+ will occur over the first two years of this three year project. The researchers will begin by developing SRSD+ lessons based on the current SRSD. At the end of the first year, trained interventionists will implement SRSD+ in first and second grade classrooms. Interventionists will provide feedback to the researchers. At the same time, teachers will participate in focus groups to provide feedback to researchers on SRSD+ regarding feasibility and usability. Information from the first field test and the teacher focus group will be used to revise the intervention. The second field test will be conducted in Year 2 with teachers implementing SRSD+ in their classrooms. Finally, in the third year, the researchers will conduct a small-scale randomized control study in which teachers and their students will be randomly assigned to implement SRSD+ or regular classroom practice.

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

Key Measures: The research team will assess students' ability to write informational text using two experimental tasks that will be developed in Year 1 of the grant. In the tasks, assessors will read brief source material to the student and then the student will be asked to write about what they learned from the source materials. Researchers will score writing samples for overall quality, vocabulary diversity and word choice, sentence structures, spelling, handwriting legibility, and length of writing. The research team will use the Process Assessment of the Learner–Second Edition (PALS-II) to assess handwriting fluency and spelling and the Sentence Combining task of the Test of Written Language–4th Edition to assess proficiency.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use multilevel modeling to analyze the promise of SRSD+ for improving student outcomes, with students nested within small groups and/or classrooms. In the first two years, researchers will assign students to small groups with cross-classified classrooms. In the pilot study in the third year, the research team will assign classrooms to treatment and control groups, so there will be no cross-classification. Researchers will test moderation by including interaction terms.