Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: PAWS: Efficacy
Center: NCER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Puranik, Cynthia Awardee: Georgia State University
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 Years (09/01/2019 - 08/31/2024) Award Amount: $3,209,379
Type: Efficacy Award Number: R305A190168

Co-Principal Investigator: Petscher, Yaacov; Al Otaiba, Stephanie; Lemons, Christopher

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to test the efficacy of Peer Assisted Writing Strategies (PAWS), an empirically based writing intervention to improve the writing outcomes of kindergarten children. PAWS was developed and evaluated with an IES goal 2 grant. PAWS is a fully developed writing instruction and has demonstrated evidence of promise and feasibility. Study results from that grant showed PAWS students outperformed students in the control classrooms in medium performing schools on letter writing, punctuation, sentence and essay writing productivity and quality

Project Activities: The research team plans to examine the initial efficacy of PAWS (whole class instruction) to a business as usual (BAU) comparison group. Second, to provide the most practical information on the robustness of the intervention, they will examine variables that may mediate (for example, classroom instructional quality) or moderate (for example, oral language) instructional effectiveness. Finally, they will explore delivering PAWS in a small group format to the lowest performing students to determine if student outcomes vary as a function of the degree of scaffolding that a teacher can offer.

Products: Researchers will report findings to the school districts and schools that provided this project with data and data-collection opportunities. This will be done through workshops and presentation to the teachers, school principals, and district personnel. Researchers will give presentations and workshops at meetings at local, national, and international conferences of professional associations of teachers and leaders. They will also produce peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in elementary schools located in Atlanta, Georgia, Nashville, Tennessee, Dallas, Texas and surrounding areas.

Sample: Participants for the study include kindergarten children and their classroom teachers.

Intervention: PAWS is a writing intervention based on teaching key transcription and text-generation skills that the research team will implement in kindergarten classes. Additionally, researchers will compare the delivery of PAWS instruction in whole class and small-group format.

Control Condition: The control group will receive the existing language arts curriculum used in the classroom.

Research Design and Methods: In this randomized control trial, in the first two years of this five-year project, researchers will deliver PAWS whole class instruction in seven classes and will compare it to seven BAU classes in each year (total of 14 classrooms/280 students in each condition). In the last two years, they will deliver PAWS instruction in a small group format (6 students) to at risk-students and compare it to at-risk students in the BAU condition in 10 classes in each year (total of 20 classes/120 students in each condition).

Key Measures: Curriculum based measures for reading will include three subtests from Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS). Measures of oral language will include three subtests of the CELF-5. Curriculum based measures for writing will include the following tasks: letter writing fluency, sentence copying fluency, sentence writing, and story writing. In addition, the project team will use researcher generated questionnaires and fidelity checklists to assess teacher questionnaires, classroom instruction and classroom quality.

Data Analytic Strategy: Analytical methods will include descriptive, correlational, and multivariate analysis.

Cost Analysis: Researchers will conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis to help schools, districts and states compare the cost of implementing PAWS to different writing interventions and identify which are most likely to lead to the greatest gains in student writing outcomes for the lowest costs. They will obtain the cost of implementing PAWS using a cost analysis strategy and the increase in writing outcomes will be calculated separately for PAWS whole class instruction and PAWS small group instruction.

Related IES Projects: Peer Assisted Writing Strategies (PAWS) (R305A140701)