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IES Grant

Title: The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction for Reading (SDLMI-R): Improving Outcomes of Upper Elementary Students with or At-Risk for Reading Disability
Center: NCSER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Toste, Jessica Awardee: University of Texas, Austin
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (7/1/2021 – 6/30/2025) Award Amount: $1,961,246
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A210204

Co-Principal Investigator: Shogren, Karrie

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop and test the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction for Reading (SDLMI-R) to increase self-determination and reading achievement among 4th and 5th graders with or at-risk for reading disability (RD). This newly developed program will adapt the research-based SDLMI (, originally designed to support secondary students in transition planning, to address a critical need for self-determination interventions for upper elementary students. The SDLMI-R will be focused on developmentally appropriate instruction in self-regulated goal setting and attainment to more effectively engage students with persistent reading challenges in the learning process. The SDLMI-R has potential to enhance reading interventions by integrating self-regulated goal attainment and motivation, which will support students' self-determination and reading achievement.

Project Activities: Researchers will use an iterative design process to develop the SDLMI-R. They will develop scaffolded instructional language for the SDLMI-R aligned with reading content for elementary-aged students. Each lesson will undergo a series of design trials to examine feasibility. Finally, they will conduct a pilot study to examine the efficacy, feasibility, and cost effectiveness of the SDLMI-R. They will compare student outcomes when they receive reading intervention with and without the integrated SDLMI-R.

Products: The project team will develop the SDLMI-R and associated instructional materials, pilot test it for evidence of promise, and provide information about the cost effectiveness of the intervention. The team will share findings from their research through conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This research will take place in elementary schools in Texas and Kansas.

Sample: Across all project years, participants will be 4th and 5th grade students with persistent word reading challenges. Students will be recruited through a two-step screening process: (a) school nomination of students who are below grade-level on oral reading fluency, and (b) score below the 25th percentile on a researcher-administered screening measure of word reading skills. Researchers will carry out iterative development with 30–40 students. Participants in the implementation and pilot studies (Years 3–4) will include 220 upper elementary students.

Intervention/Factors/Assessment: The SDLMI-R will consist of a three-phase instructional process that is repeated over time and individualized for each student. Students receive brief, targeted instruction to learn abilities and skills related to self-regulated problem-solving processes to set goals, develop action plans for achieving them, and evaluate their goal attainment. The SDLMI-R will be designed to be overlaid on any research-based reading intervention and woven throughout the lessons, focused on setting reading-related goals. The intervention will be individually delivered by research staff three times each week over a period of approximately 20 weeks.

Research Design and Methods: An iterative development process will be used to design, refine, and validate the SDLMI-R intervention. Researchers will develop intervention materials during the project's first two years through a series of design and feasibility trials. When the intervention is fully developed, researchers will conduct an exploratory implementation study to deliver the SDLMI-R package and ensure feasibility. Finally, they will conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) pilot study comparing students who receive the same research-based reading intervention (REWARDS), with and without the SDLMI-R. REWARDS was selected to reduce variability by providing consistent reading intervention across groups, but the SDLMI-R will be designed to be used in conjunction with any reading intervention.

Control Condition: In the pilot study, the alternate-treatment control condition will receive The reading intervention without the integrated SDLMI-R. The REWARDS program will be used as the standard reading intervention delivered in both treatment and control conditions, which allows us to isolate the effects of the SDLMI-R in our research design.

Key Measures: Student primary outcomes of interest will be measured by the Self- Determination Inventory: Student Report, Motivations for Reading Questionnaire, Test of Word Reading Efficiency-Second Edition, Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement-III, and the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test–4. Additional measures will include Goal Attainment Scalingto measure student progress on reading goals, and CBMReading from the FastBridge system to measure students' oral reading fluency. Further, researchers will measure intervention usability and feasibility using a lesson design-analysis-redesign survey and a treatment acceptability survey. Fidelity of implementation will be measured using the SDLMI-R Fidelity Measure, a researcher developed measure for this project, and the REWARDS Implementation Protocol. Data will also be collected on intervention costs using costs for personnel (e.g., interventionists' time), facilities (e.g., additional classroom space needed to implement the intervention), materials and equipment (e.g., printing student materials), and other miscellaneous costs.

Data Analytic Strategy: Descriptive statistics and qualitative analyses of instructional language will be examined during the iterative development phases. To estimate the main effect of treatment during the pilot study, multi-level modeling will be used. Mediation will be modeled as indirect effects with bootstrapped standard errors. Level-1 moderation will be modeled as interactions, and level-2 moderation will be modeled using multilevel structural equation modeling.

Cost Analysis: Project activities include both a cost analysis and a cost-effectiveness analysis. Costs will be assessed using the ingredients approach, which involves cataloguing all resources utilized to obtain the effect associated with both the SDLMI-R and REWARDS interventions: personnel, facilities, materials and equipment, and other miscellaneous costs. The cost-effectiveness analysis will compare treatment and alternate-treatment control conditions to estimate the total cost and the cost units of gains in key outcomes for each intervention condition.