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IES Grant

Title: The Reading Edge: Development and Evaluation of a High School Cooperative
Center: NCER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Madden, Nancy A. Awardee: Success for All Foundation
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $1,955,269
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305B070324

Purpose: Students who enter high school with poor literacy skills face long odds against graduating and going on to postsecondary education or satisfying careers. The Alliance for Excellent Education reports that roughly 6 million secondary students read well below grade level. High school provides a last chance for many at-risk students, who must quickly improve their reading skills to be able to succeed in their secondary-level courses. Although the poor reading skills of students in high-poverty high schools has long been recognized as a problem, there are very few replicable interventions available to improve the reading achievement of students in these grades, and fewer still that have even rudimentary evidence of effectiveness from experimental-control comparisons. This research is designed to adapt a middle school reading intervention, titled The Reading Edge, for use in high school, and to conduct a preliminary evaluation of the new high school program.

Project Activities: The researchers will develop a high school version of The Reading Edge, which is the central component of the Success for All Middle School program. It is a reading approach that emphasizes cooperative learning, metacognitive strategies, and generative study skills for adolescents. For the preliminary evaluation, 10 Title I high schools will be recruited from across Pennsylvania. These will be schools in which at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Student participants will be ninth-graders reading at least two years below grade level. Schools will be randomly assigned to implement The Reading Edge or to continue to use their current remedial reading program. During 2008–2009, teachers in the schools randomly assigned to implement The Reading Edge will carry out a year-long pilot of the high school adaptation. During this pilot year, only data routinely collected in the schools will be collected. In 2009–2010, these same schools and teachers will implement final versions of The Reading Edge with their incoming ninth-graders. The researchers believe that having the same schools serve as pilot and experimental sites increases the likelihood that the program will be implemented at an adequate level of quality during the experiment.

Products: The outcomes of this research will be the development and evaluation of a high school version of a current middle school reading intervention, The Reading Edge. Published reports of this research will also become available.

Structured Abstract

Purpose: The expected outcomes of this study include the development and evaluation of a high school version of The Reading Edge, currently designed for use with middle school students.

Setting: This study will take place in 10 high schools in Pennsylvania, in which at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

Population: Participating students will be ninth-graders, who are reading at least two years below grade level.

Intervention: The Reading Edge places students in cooperative learning groups in which teammates help one another master academic content. The program emphasizes teaching metacognitive strategies (e.g., graphic organizers, clarification, summarization), comprehension of expository text, fluency, and study strategies. Five high schools will be randomly assigned to use The Reading Edge and five will continue current reading programs.

Research Design and Methods: Ten schools will be randomly assigned to conditions as intact units. Classroom observation data will be collected by staff from the Success for All Foundation. Trained observers will visit each classroom three times using a structured observation protocol to describe the time and materials used for reading, and characterize the use of various instructional practices and cooperative learning strategies in experimental as well as control classes. Teacher questionnaires will be sent to experimental and control teachers in Spring 2008, and follow-up telephone calls will be used to ensure a sufficient response rate.

Control condition: Control schools will use any reading program they are currently using with below-level readers.

Key Measures: Gates-McGinitie Reading measures will be used as post-tests, controlling for Eighth-grade reading pretests. In addition, classroom observations and teacher questionnaires will be used. Finally, attendance data and data on behavioral disruptions will be collected.

Data Analytic Strategy: Analyses of covariance will be used with pretest reading scores as covariates. Because this is a development project with a small sample, analyses will be conducted at the student-level, rather than at the level of the unit of random assignment (i.e., school).

Project Website:

Products and Publications

Book, edition specified

Slavin, R.E., Madden, N.A., Chambers, B., and Haxby, B. (2009). Two Million Children: Success for All. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

** This project was submitted to and funded under Interventions for Struggling Adolescent and Adult Readers and Writers in FY 2007.