WWC review of this study

A comparison of Reading Mastery Fast Cycle and Horizons Fast Track A-B on the reading achievement of students with mild disabilities.

Cooke, N. L., Gibbs, S. L., Campbell, M. L., & Shalvis, S. L. (2004). Journal of Direct Instruction, 4(2), 139–151. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ755177

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    30
     Students
    , grades
    2-4
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: July 2012

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

Woodcock-Johnson Revised (WJ-R): Word Attack subtest

Reading Mastery vs. Horizons Fast Track

Posttest

Grades 2-4;
30 students

85.17

82.64

No

--
More Outcomes

Woodcock-Johnson Revised (WJ-R): Letter-Word Identification subtest

Reading Mastery vs. Horizons Fast Track

Posttest

Grades 2-4;
30 students

82.3

80

No

--

North Carolina Literacy Assessment

Reading Mastery vs. Horizons Fast Track

Posttest

Grades 2-4;
30 students

40

41.43

No

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

Woodcock-Johnson Revised (WJ-R): Passage Comprehension subtest

Reading Mastery vs. Horizons Fast Track

Posttest

Grades 2-4;
30 students

85.29

85.57

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 23%
    Male: 77%
  • Race
    Black
    23%
    White
    70%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    3%
    Not Hispanic
    97%

  • Suburban
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    South

Setting

The study was conducted in three schools in a suburban district in the southeastern United States.

Study sample

The sample for this study included a total of 30 students from grades 2–4 taught by three teachers in three elementary schools. All students in the study had been identified by school district staff as needing special education services. The study occurred over 2 years—one school participated in both years, the second school participated in the first year, and the third school participated in the second year. Prior to the start of the study, two groups of three to five students had been formed in each school. Within schools, the student groups were randomly assigned to receive either Reading Mastery Fast Cycle or Horizons Fast Track, resulting in 15 students receiving each intervention. In total, there were 15 students identified as learning disabled—ten in the study group and five in the comparison group. The remaining 15 students had other disabilities, such as behavioral/emotional disabilities or other health impairments. At each school, one teacher delivered both the Reading Mastery Fast Cycle and Horizons Fast Track interventions. The authors reported no group or student attrition.

Intervention Group

Reading Mastery Fast Cycle is a version of Reading Mastery that teaches at a faster rate with less repetition than conventional Reading Mastery. In the present study, Reading Mastery Fast Cycle was implemented in 30- to 40-minute sessions, 5 days a week, over 1 school year.

Comparison Group

Horizons Fast Track shares the same developer and many program characteristics with Reading Mastery Fast Cycle and was developed in response to feedback on Reading Mastery. The two programs differ in sequence, procedures, prompts, orthographic conventions, and teacher presentation materials. For example, Reading Mastery Fast Cycle teaches letter sounds before letter names, whereas Horizons Fast Track requires students to use letter names as assistance in learning letter sounds. Reading Mastery Fast Cycle does not use capital letters early in the program; Horizons Fast Track includes the use of capital letters in the first lessons that present sentences. Finally, Reading Mastery Fast Cycle uses special forms of letters to elicit the correct sounds for confusing letters, letter combinations, or silent letters; Horizons Fast Track uses underlining and color changes. Teachers implemented Horizons Fast Track in 30- to 40-minute sessions, 5 days a week over the year, following the scripted procedure and repeating lessons when necessary.

Outcome descriptions

The study authors administered several reading measures at pretest and posttest. Alphabetics was measured by the Letter-Word Identification and Word Attack subtests of the WoodcockJohnson Psycho-Educational Battery–Revised (WJ-R) and the North Carolina Literacy Assessment. Reading comprehension was measured by the Passage Comprehension subtest of the WJ-R. The authors combined Letter-Word Identification and Passage Comprehension to form a Broad Reading Score and combined Letter-Word Identification and Word Attack to form a Basic Reading Score. These combined measures were not examined in the WWC analysis. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Prior to starting the study, teachers had been trained in Reading Mastery Fast Cycle by SRA/ McGraw-Hill (and had 4 years experience with the program). Teachers were trained to implement Horizons Fast Track by SRA/McGraw-Hill prior to the start of the school year.

 

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