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IES Grant

Title: Promoting Reading Comprehension and Learning With Multimodal Science Texts (PRISM)
Center: NCER Year: 2022
Principal Investigator: Wijekumar, Kausalai Awardee: Texas A&M University
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2022 - 06/30/2026) Award Amount: $1,994,471
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A220015

Co-Principal Investigators: Cromley, Jennifer; Beerwinkle, Andrea

Purpose: To build science literacy, the research team will combine supports for reading comprehension and visualizations in an intelligent tutor called PRISM, which stands for Promoting Reading Comprehension and Learning with Multimodal Science Texts. PRISM is focused on preparing middle grade students to read and comprehend information that is essential for scientific literacy. The efficacious web-based intelligent tutoring system for the text structure strategy (ITSS) and the visualization instruction provide the foundations of this PRISM development and innovation. PRISM will also develop strong teacher professional development and web-based tools that will allow this program to be distributed widely to students, teachers, schools, and communities in any corner of the world and regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Project Activities: During years 1 and 2 the team will engage in an iterative design process to prototype learning modules for students and teachers (e.g., teacher-led lesson plans, web-based tools for students, teacher professional development resources) and conduct usability and feasibility tests. The PRISM components will be refined through this iterative design with feedback from expert consultants, teachers, and students. The research team will use structured interviews, observations, software used with thinkaloud procedures, and questionnaires to gather data for the PRISM iterative design and development. During year 3, the research team will conduct a randomized controlled pilot study that can speak to the PRISM intervention's promise for generating meaningful outcomes for science literacy with students in grades 6,7, and 8 (i.e., middle grades). Measures will include standardized science tests, researcher designed measures of reading comprehension, and affective measures. Multilevel models will be specified to analyze the impact of the PRISM intervention on these outcome measures.

Products: The outcome of this project includes a fully developed web-based and teacher-led PRISM program designed to teach middle-grade students to improve their science literacy and comprehension by applying the text structure strategy and visualization skills. As part of the development and innovation the research team will prepare a strong teacher professional development that can be delivered in an online synchronous setting using ZOOM+Nearpod+MOOV or face to face depending on the containment of the pandemic. The team will anticipate disseminating results about the findings to students, teachers, school leaders, stakeholders, policymakers, researchers, and community members with outreach using social media, podcasts, videos, journal publications, and conference presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place in four schools serving high poverty students in Texas. The sample group will participate in years 1, 2, and 3.

Sample: All 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in the participating schools are invited to participate in the PRISM project.

Intervention: PRISM will use teacher-led and web-based instruction about the text structure strategy and visualization on 8-9 science topics required for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Standards (TEKS): new multimodal texts and interaction models about biomes, forces, human body systems, light, Rio garbage problems, states of matter, weather, and earth and space New corollary teacher support lessons will be created to seamlessly integrate the technology and teacher-led classroom instruction.

Research Design and Methods: The research team will use observations, interviews, audio recordings of classroom interactions, reviews of computer logs, and a pilot quasi-experimental study with random assignment of 48 volunteering classrooms to PRISM, ITSS, Visualization only, or Business as Usual (BAU) groups to establish contrasts between the approaches and evaluate contributions of each component of the PRISM intervention.

Control Condition: The control group will use the school's current curricular materials only in a business-as-usual condition.

Key Measures: Key measures include the Texas STARR science knowledge and skills test, STARR reading comprehension tests, applied science problem solving test, researcher-designed measures of reading comprehension (focusing on text structure knowledge and use), and affective measures.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use a three–level (students nested in classrooms nested within teachers) hierarchical linear model (HLM) to test differences between PRISM and comparison conditions by grade level.

Cost Analysis: The research team will conduct a cost-analysis using data from the software development team, hardware infrastructure, school personnel time and effort, professional development costs, and student computer costs. The team will use the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education (CBCSE) methods for this cost analysis.

Related IES Projects: Efficacy Trial of Text Structure Strategy Instruction on the Web for Spanish-Speaking English Learners (SWELL) in Grades 4 and 5 (R305A180060); Efficacy and Replication Trial of the Individualized Adaptive ITSS with 4th and 5th Grade Students in High Poverty Schools (R305A150057); Improving Reading Comprehension of Middle Grades English Language Learners by Combining Structure Strategy with Web-Based Adaptive Tutoring for EL Learners (SWELL) (R305A130704); Efficacy and Replication Research on the Intelligent Tutoring System for the Structure Strategy–Rural and Suburban Schools Grades 4, 5, 7, and 8 (R305A080133); Intelligent Tutoring Using The Structure Strategy To Improve Reading Comprehension of Middle School Students (R305G030072)