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IES Grant

Title: Examining the Efficacy of Aligning Core Content-Area Reading Instruction and Small Group Reading Intervention for Students with Reading Disabilities (Project ALIGN)
Center: NCSER Year: 2023
Principal Investigator: Stevens, Elizabeth Awardee: University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc.
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (09/01/2023 – 08/31/202) Award Amount: $3,792,943
Type: Initial Efficacy Award Number: R324A230239
Description:

Previous Award Number: R324A230158
Previous Institution: Georgia State University

Co-Principal Investigators: Vaughn, Sharon; Murray, Christy; Roberts, Greg

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of aligned reading comprehension and vocabulary instruction across instructional settings for students with reading disabilities (SWRD) in grade 5. There has been a long-standing pattern of no or small effects in reading comprehension research for upper elementary SWRD. New approaches to improving reading comprehension require system-wide change that addresses instruction across the school day rather than in segmented, isolated intervention blocks. Many schools provide intensive interventions for SWRDs, but the reading instruction is compartmentalized in that (a) reading interventions are often non-overlapping with the pedagogical focus of core instruction (general curriculum subject matter), (b) interventions frequently address different skills and content than that provided in core instruction, and (c) instruction provided in intervention and core settings may use different language or terms. This unsystematic, incohesive delivery of instruction across the school day limits the practice opportunities needed for SWRDs to make progress in the area of reading comprehension. This study addresses this need by examining the effects of implementing aligned, coordinated reading comprehension and vocabulary practices across core content-area instruction (social studies) and small group reading intervention. Project Activities: The project will use a multiple-cohort, multisite randomized controlled trial to study the efficacy of the intervention in two treatment conditions (aligned and nonaligned) relative to business-as-usual control group.

Products: The project will result in evidence of the efficacy of two treatment conditionsóaligned reading comprehension instruction in core and intervention settings and nonaligned instructionórelative to business-as-usual instruction. The research team will disseminate findings to practitioner and research audiences through online formats, professional development workshops, conference presentations, and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The project will take place in elementary schools in Kansas and Texas.

Population/Sample: The participants will include approximately 432 fifth grade core (general education social studies) and intervention teachers and approximately 864 fifth grade students with reading disabilities (SWRD).

Intervention: In the aligned condition, fifth grade core teachers receive professional development (PD) and materials in core reading comprehension practices, delivered twice per week during social studies instruction; in addition, fifth grade intervention teachers (special education teachers) also receive PD and materials in the aligned, reading comprehension intervention delivered three times per week during the typical reading intervention block. In the nonaligned condition, fifth grade core teachers receive PD and materials in core reading comprehension practices, delivered twice per week during social studies instruction, but the fifth-grade intervention teachers provide business-as-usual, small group reading intervention. Finally, in the business-as-usual comparison condition fifth grade core and intervention teachers provide the usual instruction in both settings. The duration of the intervention is 18 weeks. Core teachers in the aligned and nonaligned conditions and intervention teachers in the aligned condition will receive ongoing implementation support via observations with feedback.

Research Design and Methods: †The researchers will use a multiple-cohort, multisite randomized controlled trial to study the efficacy of the aligned and nonaligned intervention in comparison to the business-as-usual condition. In year 1, they will recruit the sample of elementary schools and prepare measures, professional development, and materials for core reading comprehension instruction in social studies and aligned, small group reading comprehension intervention. In years 2–5, the researchers will randomly assign 72 schools (18 schools in each cohort, 9 per site) to one of three conditions: aligned, nonaligned, and business as usual. Data on content knowledge, reading comprehension, and vocabulary outcomes for fifth grade SWRD will be collected pre- and post-intervention. The team will also collect and analyze data on costs associated with the core reading instruction and intervention in all three conditions.

Control Condition: Students in schools assigned to the control condition will receive the school's business-as-usual core social studies instruction and small group reading intervention.

Key Measures: General reading comprehension will be measured using the Gates MacGinitie Reading Comprehension Subtest and subject-area reading comprehension will be assessed with the Assessment of Social Studies Knowledge and Comprehension. Unit tests will be given to assess students' knowledge of key terms from each of the intervention units. Word reading will be measured using the Test of Word Reading Sight Word Efficiency Subtest to determine whether word reading moderates the effect of aligned instruction on student outcomes. Researcher-developed measures of implementation fidelity will be used to determine if implementation fidelity (adherence, dosage, quality) predicts the efficacy of aligned instruction on student outcomes. Data will also be collected on costs associated with the core reading instruction and intervention in the aligned, nonaligned, and control conditions.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use multilevel regression to estimate the effects of the intervention conditions, accounting for nesting of teachers within schools and students within teachers. They will also conduct a moderation analysis to understand the extent to which word reading level moderates the effects of aligned instruction on student outcomes.

Cost Analysis: Researchers will conduct a cost analysis using the ingredients approach to account for all costs associated with the core reading instruction and intervention in the aligned, nonaligned, and control conditions. They will conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis to determine the cost relative to the extent of improvement in student outcomes.

Related Projects: Examining the Efficacy of Differential Levels of Professional Development for Teaching Content Area Reading Strategies (R305A150407)


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