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IES Grant

Title: Multi-Year Middle School Intensive Reading Intervention for Students with or At-Risk for Reading Disabilities.
Center: NCSER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Calhoon, Mary Beth Awardee: University of Miami
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (7/1/2021 – 6/30/2026) Award Amount: $3,799,991
Type: Efficacy Award Number: R324A210074

Purpose: There are few multi-year studies examining the effect of intensive reading programs for middle school students with or at-risk for reading disabilities (SWRD). Those that exist have shown that without multiple years of intensive reading, students appear to stagnate or regress in their reading levels. Therefore, this project will conduct a two-year intensive reading intervention in grades 6 and 7 using the Adolescent Multi-Component-Intensive Training-Program (AiU). Researchers will conduct a 5-year, 3-Cohort longitudinal study with middle school SWRD in Florida. Using a randomized control trial (RCT), the project will test the efficacy of AiU for improving student reading outcomes compared to business-as-usual (BaU) conditions. After the two-year intervention, follow-up testing will be conducted at the end of grade 8, to examine the extent to which reading outcomes maintain or improve. The research team will also determine whether there are any significant mediating and moderating factors of the longitudinal trajectories of reading outcomes. Finally, researchers will conduct a cost analysis and a cost-effectiveness analysis comparing AiU to BaU programs. Outcomes from this study will provide long-term contributions to the development and refinement of instructional approaches in reading programs for middle school SWRD.

Project Activities: In Year 1, researchers will recruit middle schools and grade 6 SWRD. These students will be screened for eligibility (creating Cohort 1), pretested in the fall, randomly assigned to either the two-year AiU program or the BaU conditions, and tested at the end of grade 6. Teacher fidelity and classroom observations will be conducted four times across the academic year, and results will be analyzed. This process will be repeated in Years 2 and 3, creating Cohorts 2 and 3. In Year 2, Cohort 1 will continue the AiU or BAU program in grade 7, staying in their assigned condition. Fidelity and classroom observations will be conducted four times across the academic year. Students will be tested at the end of grade 7, and results will be analyzed. This will be repeated for Cohorts 2 and 3 in years 3 and 4, respectively. In Year 3, Cohort 1 will be administered one-year post-treatment testing at the end of grade 8 and an analysis will be conducted to compare reading growth from grade 6-8 for both conditions.  In Years 4 and 5, this will be repeated for Cohorts 2 and 3, respectively. In Year 5, researchers will complete data collection, analyze the results from all three Cohorts, complete the cost and cost-effectiveness analyses, and disseminate findings.

Products: This project will produce information about the efficacy of the Multi-Year AiU program compared to BaU programs across two years, and one year after intervention completion, as well as information on the cost and cost effectiveness of the intervention. Products will also include a publicly released final dataset, presentations, workshops, and peer-reviewed publications. Dissemination of findings will be directed at educational stakeholders (e.g., parents, policymakers; practitioners; school administrators).

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place in intensive reading inclusion classes in four Florida Title 1, urban/suburban middle schools serving SWRD in grades 6–8.

Sample: Over a 5-year period, the project will recruit three cohorts of middle school SWRD (N=576) who did not pass the grade 5 English Language Arts section of their statewide test and who score at or below the 30th percentile on standardized measures of word recognition and comprehension skills.

Intervention/Factors/Assessment: The Multi-Year AiU program is a two-year intensive reading program developed specifically for middle school SWRD. AiU uses direct, explicit instruction and cognitive strategy instruction combined with peer-mediated instruction to teach word recognition, spelling, fluency, and comprehension skills.

Research Design and Methods: The research team will use a 3-cohort, longitudinal RCT four-wave test of effects to understand the efficacy of AiU compared to BaU. Data collection will occur in the fall and spring of grade 6, spring of grade 7, and spring of grade 8 (follow-up). Each of these waves will be evaluated as an individual growth curve model, with students nested within classrooms. The hypothesis for this longitudinal analysis is the extent to which the Multi-Year AiU program results in reading outcome trajectories different from that of BaU conditions.

Control Condition: The Multi-Year AiU program will be compared with BaU intensive reading programs serving as the control condition. The BaU intensive reading programs represent numerous widely used intensive reading programs (e.g., READ 180; System 44; National Geographic: Inside).

Key Measures: This project will use the following measures of reading outcomes: a) Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation-passage comprehension subtests, b) Woodcock Johnson Reading Achievement Test-IV -passage comprehension spelling, word attack, letter word identification, and sentence reading fluency subtests, c) the English Language Arts section of the Florida State Assessment, d) Test of Word Reading Efficiency 2nd –Edition-sight word efficiency and phonemic decoding efficiency subtests, and e) Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy grade level oral reading passages. Fidelity of AiU implementation will be measured for adherence, dosage, and quality. Adherence and dosage will be measured using fidelity checklists and observation forms. Quality of instruction will be measured using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System-Secondary. Data for moderator analyses will include student characteristics (gender, disability status, ethnicity). Data will be collected for the cost analysis and cost effectiveness analysis comparing the AiU program to the BaU programs.

Data Analytic Strategy: The efficacy of the intervention will be analyzed with a multilevel model of individual growth: time within student within classrooms (cross-classified). Treatment effects will be estimated for grade 6 and grade 7 and at a one-year follow-up in grade 8, considering linear and possibly nonlinear effects. Student level moderators and classroom level mediators will be evaluated for their impact on treatment estimates.

Cost Analysis: The cost analysis will compare the annual per-student cost of AiU to the BaU conditions using the ingredients method. The research team will measure cost-effectiveness using cost-effectiveness ratios which measure the annual cost per student for each unit of effectiveness.

Related IES Projects: Reading Achievement Multi-component Program (RAMP-UP) (R324A140003)