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IES Grant

Title: Fostering Reading Comprehension and Knowledge-Building in Middle-School Students
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Caccamise, Donna Awardee: University of Colorado, Boulder
Program: Cognition and Student Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (08/01/2017 - 07/31/2020) Award Amount: $1,399,857
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A170142

Co-Principal Investigators: Peter Foltz and Megan Littrell-Baez

Purpose: In this project, researchers will develop and pilot test the eBRAVO intervention aimed at helping middle school students develop deep comprehension skills necessary to read, comprehend, and build knowledge for informational texts. This intervention will be an adaptation of a previously-developed intervention (BRAVO; Fostering Comprehension and Knowledge-Building in Middle-School Struggling Readers) shown in pilot work to have promise for improving students' reading comprehension outcomes. The eBRAVO intervention will be available online, which will allow for greater flexibility and interactivity, and will be designed for use in both Language Arts and content area classrooms. eBRAVO, like BRAVO, will be aimed at improving the reading comprehension skills of middle school students who have adequate reading fluency but still have trouble learning from informational text that they read. The intervention teaches students how to implement reading comprehension strategies and how to actively build knowledge.

Project Activities: The eBRAVO intervention will be developed iteratively over the first two years of the grant. The researchers will begin by identifying and adapting components of the offline BRAVO intervention that can be delivered electronically. After creating an initial version of eBRAVO, it will be tested with middle school classrooms, after which more revisions will be made to the intervention depending on pre- and post-test data collected from participating students. Additionally, the researchers will work on developing the library of texts, assessments, and comprehension activities for field testing with students in Year 2. Finally, in Year 3, the researchers will randomly assign 6th through 8th grade students to either receive the eBRAVO intervention or the regular instruction already in place in their classrooms.

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

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place in schools in Colorado.

Sample: Participants in this study include approximately 2,800 students in 6th through 8th grades.

Intervention: The research team will adapt eBRAVO from the existing paper-and-pencil BRAVO intervention. By adapting BRAVO for electronic delivery, the researchers hope to make the curriculum framework and content more flexible, to make delivery more flexible in a way that increases feasibility and usability, and to create more in-depth and extensive teacher professional development. eBRAVO will be a fully automated, online curriculum that includes baseline assessments of students' comprehension skills, as well as formative and summative assessments throughout the curriculum. eBRAVO combines comprehension instruction with content instruction and includes modules on local cohesion, global cohesion, inference, and integration. Each module will contain lessons with modeling, including brief videos with comprehension and metacognitive strategies modeled for students, text chapters and activities for students to practice comprehension strategies, and individualized learning with adaptive technology.

Research Design and Methods: The first two years of this project will involve iterative development of the eBRAVO intervention. Researchers will begin by identifying and adapting curriculum components into a format that can be delivered online through eBRAVO. The beta version of eBRAVO will be field tested in Year 1. Data will be collected from teachers and students via surveys, interviews, and focus groups to examine usability and feasibility. The eBRAVO system will collect user data, and the researchers will collect student performance data pre- and post- intervention. Also in Year 1, the researchers will expand the library of texts for eBRAVO to cover Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and Social Studies. Year 2 will involve revisions to eBRAVO and field testing of the system with the new texts. In Year 3, the researchers will conduct a pilot study of eBRAVO by randomly assigning 6th through 8th grade students to receive either eBRAVO or regular classroom instruction.

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

Key Measures: Proximal outcomes of the eBRAVO intervention include assessments embedded within the eBRAVO system such as quick quizzes and writing prompts. Researchers will assess student education outcomes using the Gates-MacGinitie reading comprehension subtest, and a text recall task.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use multilevel models with students nested in classrooms and classrooms nested in schools to examine the effects of eBRAVO on student outcomes, both during field testing and the pilot test. Covariates in the models will include pre-test reading level, grade, gender, GPA, and time on task.

Related IES Projects: Fostering Comprehension and Knowledge-Building in Middle-School Struggling Readers (R305A110467)