WWC review of this study

The effect of metacognitive strategy instruction on the problem-solving skills of disadvantaged/handicapped vocational students.

Martin, B. J. (1989). (Doctoral dissertation, Clemson University). Dissertation Abstracts International, 50 (06A), 103-1627.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: September 2010

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Comprehension outcomes—Substantively important positive effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT): Comprehension subtest

Reciprocal Teaching vs. Business as usual


13-21 years old;
118 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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    South Carolina


The study was conducted in nine different vocational centers and one high school in South Carolina.

Study sample

Ten districts were randomly selected to participate in the study. In nine of the ten districts, state vocational centers participated in the study; in the remaining district, a high school participated in the study. Twenty groups of students, two from each institution, were chosen by teachers to participate in the study. Teachers at each of the institutions randomly assigned their two intact groups of students to either the reciprocal teaching group or to the control group. Participating students (who were between the ages of 13 and 21) were handicapped and/or disadvantaged or enrolled in a vocational course or Job Training Partnership Act summer program. The analysis sample consisted of 59 students in the reciprocal teaching group and 59 students in the control group.

Intervention Group

The intervention group received the reciprocal teaching intervention during 15 half-hour class sessions. In each class, a teacher and a group of students took turns leading a dialogue concerning the reading material. The dialogue included discussion, argument, and four comprehension activities: summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting. The teacher initially acted as a model, then chose students to take over the teacher role. Both the experimental and control groups used the same reading materials, which were on approximately a sixth- or seventh-grade reading level and pertained to the development of job-seeking and job-keeping skills.

Comparison Group

Students in the control group were instructed using business-as-usual instructional methods for the same amount of time (and using the same reading materials) as the treatment group. The instructional methods used in the control group were left to the discretion of each individual teacher. For example, group discussion may or may not have occurred.

Outcome descriptions

For the posttest, students took the comprehension subtest of the Peabody Individual Achievement Test. The posttest was given within a week after the end of the implementation of the reciprocal teaching program. For a more detailed description of this outcome measure, see Appendix A2. The similarities and picture-arrangement subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Test were also used for the posttest, but these measures were not included in this report, as they were outside the scope of the Adolescent Literacy review protocol.

Support for implementation

Treatment group teachers were shown a video on the reciprocal teaching method and provided with a complete set of 15 lesson plans.


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