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IES Grant

Title: Project Coordinate: Increasing Coordinated Use of Evidence-Based Practices for Improving Word Study in an RTI Framework for Teams of 4th Grade Teachers
Center: NCSER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Brownell, Mary Awardee: University of Florida
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (7/1/2017-6/30/2020) Award Amount: $1,399,999
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A170135

Co-Principal Investigators: Benedict, Amber; Kelcey, Benjamin

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to develop Project Coordinate, a professional development program and set of tools designed to improve general and special education teachers' ability to plan for and enact coordinated, evidence-based tiered reading instruction (i.e., in multisyllabic word decoding, morphological awareness, contextual analysis, and summarization). Project Coordinate uses online content modules and a lesson study process to improve teacher knowledge and practice. In addition to supporting individual teachers' knowledge and practice, there is a need to increase the collaboration between general and special educators in planning and implementing reading instruction. This project seeks to address this need by developing a professional development program to improve general and special education teachers' implementation of coordinated evidence-based instruction and subsequently improve student outcomes.

Project Activities: This project will use an iterative process to develop a professional development program comprised of online content modules to support teachers in implementing evidenced-based instruction at different instructional tiers, and a lesson study process to improve teachers' implementation of coordinated, tiered instruction. Researchers will develop this program in Year 1 and collect information about its usability. In Year 2, researchers will collect information about Project Coordinate's feasibility, fidelity, and initial evidence of promise for improving teachers' implementation of coordinated, evidence-based instruction. In Year 3, researchers will conduct a randomized controlled trial to determine the promise of efficacy of Project Coordinate for improving teacher and student outcomes.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed professional development program that improves teachers' implementation of coordinated, evidence-based instruction and student outcomes, as well as peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will be conducted in approximately 20 public elementary schools within an urban school district in Florida.

Sample: In Year 1, six general and special education teachers (two teaching teams) will participate. In Year 2, nine teachers (three teaching teams) will participate. A total of 48 teachers representing 16 teaching teams and approximately 288 students (18 per teaching team) receiving Tier 2 or 3 instruction will participate in Year 3.

Intervention: Project Coordinate is comprised of six online content modules that (1) incorporate content knowledge underlying evidence-based word study and connected text instruction, (2) provide models of effective implementation of evidence-based practices and tiered instruction, and (3) support teachers in learning to analyze student data and develop appropriate goals for instruction. After completing all six modules, teachers participate in an online training on the lesson study process. The lesson study process includes a framework and facilitation process that provides teachers with a structure for collaboratively (1) planning instruction, (2) revisiting knowledge and pedagogy acquired in the online content modules, (3) analyzing implementation of instructional efforts for promoting effective, coordinated instruction across the tiers of a Response-to-Intervention model, and (4) analyzing student performance and set goals for coordinated instruction.

Research Design and Methods: In Year 1, researchers will develop, implement, and refine the online content modules and lesson study process. Two teams of general and special education teachers participating will complete the modules and lesson study and provide summative and formative data to inform changes needed to the modules and lesson study process. In Year 2, three teaching teams will participate in a pre-post study to provide information on the fidelity and feasibility of implementing the modules and lesson study, as well as initial promise of improving teacher outcomes. This information will be used to make final revisions to Project Coordinate. In Year 3, researchers will conduct a randomized controlled trial, randomly assigning 16 schools (1 teaching team each) to either the intervention or control condition. During this phase of the study, researchers will investigate the promise of Project Coordinate for improving teachers' knowledge and coordinated use of evidence-based instruction and reading outcomes for students.

Control Condition: For the Year 3 randomized controlled trial, teachers in schools assigned to the control condition will receive the professional development typically provided in the schools and continue business-as-usual instructional practices.

Key Measures: Three types of measures will be used to develop and refine Project Coordinate and to assess its promise for improving teacher and student outcomes. Process measures will be used to understand the feasibility, usability, and fidelity of Project Coordinate. Teachers will complete surveys on their perception of the quality of the information provided in each module, the usefulness of the LSP training, and the feasibility of implementing the process. They will also complete a researcher-developed survey on the overall usefulness and feasibility of Project Coordinate. Implementation fidelity will be assessed using online data and usage logs that indicate if teachers complete the modules in a timely manner as well as an observational lesson study checklist completed by research project staff. Researchers will also use a researcher-developed instructional practice measure and lesson rubric to code video-based observations of teachers' instruction to determine the degree to which teachers are implementing coordinated, evidence-based, tiered instruction. Student outcome measures will include the i-Ready Diagnostic to assess decoding, vocabulary, and reading comprehension of informational and narrative texts and the Extract the Base Test to assess morphological awareness (i.e., students' ability to extract the base from a derived word; for example, farm from farmer).

Data Analytic Strategy: Descriptive statistics will be used to analyze the data collected from the process measures. For the randomized controlled trial, researchers will use multivariate models (taking into account nesting of students within teachers) to analyze the impact of Project Coordinate on teacher and student outcomes. Mediation analyses will also be conducted to determine whether teachers' knowledge and instructional practice mediate intervention impacts on student outcomes.

Related Projects: The Influence of Collaborative Professional Development Groups & Coaching on the Literacy Instruction of Upper Elementary Special Education Teachers (R324B070192)