WWC review of this study

The efficacy of computer-assisted instruction for advancing literacy skills in kindergarten children.

Macaruso, P., & Walker, A. (2008). Reading Psychology, 29(3), 266-287. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ799232

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    71
     Students
    , grade
    K
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: June 2009

Alphabetics outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests (GMRT): Oral-Language Concepts subtest

Lexia Reading vs. business as usual

6 months

Kindergarten;
71 students

14.8

12.8

No

 
 
21
More Outcomes

Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests (GMRT): Literacy Concepts subtest

Lexia Reading vs. business as usual

6 months

Kindergarten;
71 students

16.8

15.7

No

 
 
14

Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests (GMRT): Letters and Letter-Sound Correspondences subtest

Lexia Reading vs. business as usual

6 months

Kindergarten;
71 students

24.7

23.7

No

--

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Letter Naming Fluency subtest

Lexia Reading vs. business as usual

6 months

Kindergarten;
71 students

38.3

38.5

No

--

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Phoneme Segmentation Fluency subtest

Lexia Reading vs. business as usual

6 months

Kindergarten;
71 students

28

30.9

No

--
Comprehension outcomes—Substantively important positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests (GMRT): Listening Comprehension subtest

Lexia Reading vs. business as usual

6 months

Kindergarten;
71 students

13.6

12.6

No

 
 
11

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 0% English language learners

  • 50% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 53%
    Male: 47%

  • Urban
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    Massachusetts

Setting

The participating schools were two urban elementary schools near Boston, Massachusetts. Twenty-nine percent of families in the school system spoke a language other than English at home, and the median household income in the school district was $37,000 (compared to a state median of $50,000). More than half of the students in the district qualified for free or reduced-price lunch.

Study sample

Six kindergarten classes from two elementary schools participated in the study. The six classes included morning and afternoon classes for each of three teachers. The authors randomly assigned the six classes to treatment (Lexia Early Reading) or comparison (extra time spent in language-related classroom activities), blocked by teacher. These six classes included a total of 94 students. After randomly assigning classrooms, the authors dropped from the analysis 11 students (9 intervention, 2 comparison) who were designated as English Language Learners or special education. At the end of the study, the authors excluded another 12 students from the treatment group who had not completed their minimum criterion of more than 45 sessions with Lexia Early Reading. The final analysis sample consisted of 26 students in the Lexia Early Reading group and 45 students in the comparison group. The authors demonstrated that there were no statistically significant pre-intervention differences between the two analysis groups on the baseline measures (DIBELS: Initial Sounds Fluency and DIBELS: Letter Naming Fluency).

Intervention Group

Classes in the intervention condition began using Lexia Early Reading in November and continued for approximately six months. Students used the software in two to three weekly sessions of 15 to 20 minutes each. On average, students in the analysis sample completed 52 sessions with the software. Lexia Early Reading contains nine activities involving sound identification, rhyming, segmenting and blending of sounds, and application of letter-sound correspondences for subsets of consonants and vowels. Each activity consists of several units; students progress to the next activity only after mastering skills in the prior activity.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition spent extra time engaged in language-related classroom activities.

Outcome descriptions

At the end of the study period, the students were tested using the DIBELS subtests for Letter Naming Fluency and Phoneme Segmentation Fluency, as well as both subtest and overall composite scores for the Gates-MacGintie Reading Test, Level PR. Because the composite score for the Gates-MacGintie measure spans the alphabetics and comprehension domains, the subtests results for alphabetics and comprehension are presented as the main findings in Appendices A3.1 and A3.3 and the composite score results are presented as supplemental findings in Appendix A4.3. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendices A2.1 and A2.3.

Support for implementation

Kindergarten teachers and computer lab staff participated in an orientation and training session for Lexia Early Reading software implementation.

 

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