|Title:||Effectiveness Replication of Enhanced Core Reading Instruction (ECRI)|
|Principal Investigator:||Wang, Elaine||Awardee:||RAND Corporation|
|Program:||Research Grants Focused on Systematic Replication in Special Education [Program Details]|
|Award Period:||5 years (9/1/2021 – 8/31/2026)||Award Amount:||$4,500,000|
|Type:||Replication Effectiveness||Award Number:||R324R210009|
Co-Principal Investigator: Fien, Hank; Pane, John F.
Purpose: The goal of this project is to conduct a replication study of Enhanced Core Reading Instruction (ECRI), a comprehensive approach to early reading instruction and intervention for students from kindergarten through second grade. ECRI has been implemented in thousands of schools across the U.S., and prior efficacy studies have shown beneficial impacts on broad measures of students' reading outcomes. However, the impact of ECRI has not been evaluated under routine implementation conditions. The current study will use a cluster randomized controlled trial design similar to prior IES-funded efficacy studies of ECRI; however, this study will systematically vary the conditions under which ECRI is implemented, from the ideal (which involves providing additional implementation supports as needed to ensure fidelity) to routine (which reflects the everyday practice occurring in schools), and the geographical location. The goal of the effectiveness replication is to examine the impacts of ECRI when implemented under routine conditions on the foundational reading skills of first-grade students with or at risk for reading disabilities who are eligible to receive Tier 2 intervention.
Project Activities: In this project, the research team will employ a cluster randomized controlled trial, where schools will be randomly assigned to ECRI or to a business-as-usual (BAU) control group. Universal screening will be conducted to identify students that are eligible to receive Tier 2 intervention; these students will form the analytic sample. Teachers will provide Tier 1 (ECRI or BAU) classroom instruction, and interventionists (teachers, specialists, or paraprofessionals) will provide Tier 2 (ECRI or BAU) small-group intervention. Students will be assessed at baseline and post-test on reading measures. In addition to examining ECRI's impact on first-grade students, the research team will also document fidelity and explore factors associated with successful implementation and analyze the cost and cost-effectiveness of ECRI.
Products: The primary product of this project will be evidence of the impact of ECRI on the foundation reading skills of first-grade students with or at risk for reading disabilities. The project will also result in a final dataset to be shared, peer-reviewed publications and presentations, and additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders, such as practitioners and policymakers.
Setting: The research will take place in urban, suburban, and rural elementary schools throughout Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Sample: The sample will include approximately 2,160 first-grade students with or at risk for reading disabilities from 60 schools.
Intervention: ECRI is a comprehensive approach to early reading instruction and intervention for students from kindergarten through second grade. It is designed for schools using a multi-tiered system of supports in reading (MTSS-R) and can be used with a large number of core reading programs. Instruction addresses foundational reading skills (phonemic awareness, regular and irregular word reading, and oral reading fluency) and vocabulary and comprehension skills. Tier 1 whole-class instruction is characterized by explicit, scaffolded instruction and practice opportunities. Tier 2 is highly aligned with Tier 1 and involves pre-teaching content in daily, 30-minute lessons to small groups of students. In addition to the instructional component, ECRI involves screening and progress monitoring to support decision making as well as training and ongoing coaching.
Research Design and Methods: ECRI will be evaluated using a cluster randomized controlled trial. In Year 1, the research team will prepare the intervention materials and recruit and randomly assign schools to the intervention or BAU control condition. In Years 2, 3, and 4, two cohorts of students in each participating state will participate in the research activities. In Years 2 and 3, the first and second cohorts from one state will participate, and in Years 3 and 4, the first and second cohorts from the other state will participate. Specifically, teachers and interventionists will be trained in ECRI. Teachers will provide Tier 1 classroom instruction (ECRI or BAU), and interventionists will provide Tier 2 (ECRI or BAU) small-group intervention. Universal screening of foundational reading skills will be conducted, and students that are eligible to receive Tier 2 intervention will form the analytic sample for the study. Pre-test and post-test data on student reading outcomes will be collected. The research team will also document fidelity (of training and coaching) to ECRI, and quality of implementation as well as the costs of implementing ECRI. In Year 5, the research team will examine the impact of ECRI on students' post-test reading outcomes; potential moderators (student baseline characteristics) and mediators (implementation features); the level of fidelity of implementation and the difference between the intervention and BAU; and the cost and cost-effectiveness of ECRI. The team will also conduct an implementation study to explore factors associated with successful implementation and how they relate to school, teacher, or student characteristics.
Control Condition: Students in schools assigned to the comparison condition will receive BAU instruction as part of MTSS-R.
Key Measures: Student reading outcomes will be assessed using the Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests, 3rd Edition (alphabetic understanding, word recognition, and reading comprehension) and the DIBELS, 8th Edition (nonsense word fluency, word reading fluency, and oral reading fluency). The DIBELS will also be used as the universal screener. Researchers will use ECRI-specific measures to assess fidelity of ECRI implementation. They will also assess the quality of implementation of evidence-based reading instruction using the following observational measures: Classroom Observations of Student–Teacher Interactions, Ratings of Classroom Management and Instructional Support, and the Quality of Explicit Instruction scale.
Data Analytic Strategy: Multilevel modeling will be used to examine the causal impact of ECRI on student outcomes. The research team will also explore the potential moderating effect of student baseline characteristics and the mediating effect of implementation fidelity and teachers' perceptions of social validity and increased experience with ECRI.
Cost Analysis: The ingredients method will be used to determine the cost of ECRI and its implementation. Researchers will distinguish between recurring and non-recurring costs and estimate the cost of ECRI at the school and district levels. They will conduct sensitivity analyses and, using the impact analysis results (i.e., effect size), calculate cost-effectiveness ratios, considering school, district, and state as units.
Related IES Projects: Project ECRI: Enhancing Core Reading Instruction in First Grade (R324A090104)