WWC review of this study

An investigation of the effects of reciprocal teaching on fifth graders’ comprehension and comprehension monitoring.

Leiker, L. (1995). Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Kansas, Lawrence.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    39
     Students
    , grade
    5

Reviewed: September 2010

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Comprehension outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Researcher-designed social science comprehension questions

Reciprocal Teaching vs. Business as usual

Adjusted posttest mean

Grade 5;
39 students

0.50

0.47

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 49%
    Male: 51%

  • Urban
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    Midwest

Setting

The study was conducted in an urban elementary school in the midwestern United States.

Study sample

Random assignment was used to form the treatment and control groups. Thirty-nine fifth-grade students from two classrooms participated in the study. Forty-eight percent of the students were female. The author provided the instruction for both groups. The analysis sample consisted of 20 students in the reciprocal teaching group and 19 students in the business-as-usual control group.

Intervention Group

The classroom teacher introduced four reciprocal teaching strategies (clarification, questioning, summarization, and prediction) and instructed students to practice these strate-gies over a five-day period. For the next 20 days, students were split into groups of three to four and covered four chapters of their social studies textbook. Teaching materials were selected from United States and Its Neighbors in the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Social Studies Series. Both the experimental and control groups studied the same social studies content on the American Revolution; however, the experimental group read two more chapters than the control group did. The experiment took place over a six-week period (25 school days).

Comparison Group

Students in the control group covered two chapters about the American Revolution in their social studies text book. Activities that occurred during this time included students reading and then discussing the material in small groups of three to four; outlining a lesson together as a group with the teacher modeling the procedure; using a cooperative learning strategy called the “jigsaw” (in which each student in a group of four seeks to become an expert on an issue, and the group members then come together to teach one another what they have mastered); and silent reading followed by answering comprehension questions.

Outcome descriptions

During the pretest and posttest periods, students were asked to read ten short social studies passages and answer ten comprehension questions about each passage. The passages included in these assessments had not been seen or discussed by students before the tests were administered. For a detailed description of these researcher-designed measures, see Appendix A2

Support for implementation

The study author, who taught both groups of students, studied the reciprocal teaching method in graduate school. No further information on training was provided in this study.

 

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