WWC review of this study

Using Student Team Reading and Student Team Writing in Middle Schools: Two Evaluations.

Stevens, Robert J.; Durkin, Scott (1992). Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED350594

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grades

Reviewed: November 2011

At least one finding shows moderate evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading Comprehension

Student Team Reading and Writing (STRW) vs. Business as usual

Spring of 6th grade

Grade 6;
1,223 students





California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading Vocabulary

Student Team Reading and Writing (STRW) vs. Business as usual

Spring of 6th grade

Grade 6;
1,223 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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The study took place in six middle schools in an urban school district in Maryland. The student populations in the schools ranged from 27% to 99% minority (median of 74.5%) and from 38% to 77% received free or reduced-price lunch (median of 57.5%).

Study sample

This study is a quasi-experiment conducted in six urban middle schools during the 1989–90 academic year. Classes in the three treatment schools were matched with classes in the three comparison schools on California Achievement Test (CAT) total reading pretest scores. Participants were sixth-grade students. The study’s analytic sample included 455 students in 20 treatment classrooms and 768 students in 34 comparison classrooms.

Intervention Group

In the intervention schools, Student Team Reading was implemented for one full academic year and included two major components: (1) literature-based activities (including partner reading, treasure hunts, word mastery, story retelling, story-related writing, and quizzes) and (2) explicit instruction in comprehension strategies (such as identifying main ideas and themes, drawing conclusions, making predictions, and understanding figurative language). The program used a combination of teacher-directed instruction and cooperative learning in heterogeneous teams. Teams were given rewards and recognition based on performance and improvement of each team member.

Comparison Group

Comparison group teachers used traditional methods and curriculum materials. In reading, they often used basal series and focused instruction on isolated skills. Students read silently and aloud (with one student reading while the rest of the class follows along). Most seatwork time was spent on independent class work completing worksheet activities and practicing reading skills; at times, students read silently; at other times, they read orally in turns. Students typically did little to no extended writing that was related to reading activities.

Outcome descriptions

For both the pretest and posttest, students took the CAT. Two CAT subtests were used in the study: Reading Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension. The fifth-grade scores were used as the pretest data; the sixth-grade scores were used as the posttest data. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Intervention group teachers took part in three half-day training sessions that included how to implement the classroom processes and the rationale behind the processes. During the training session, trainers acted as the “teachers,” and the teachers acted as the students. Teachers also received a detailed manual of the Student Team Reading program, curriculum materials, and textbooks. During the school year, teachers also received coaching and took part in periodic after-school meetings to provide feedback/discuss implementation questions. Teachers were monitored by Student Team Reading staff four times a week over a six-week period.


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