WWC review of this study

Responding to nonresponders: An experimental field trial of identification and intervention methods.

McMaster, K. L., Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., & Compton, D. L. (2005). Exceptional Children, 71(4), 445–463. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ697214

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    41
     Students
    , grade
    1

Reviewed: June 2012

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: May 2012

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

Rapid letter naming

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

48.24

45.03

No

--
More Outcomes

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT): Spelling subtest

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

12.76

12.45

No

--

Segmentation

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

35.59

35.19

No

--

Rapid letter sound

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

42.29

44.95

No

--

Woodcock Reading Mastery Test Revised (WRMT-R): Word Attack subtest

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

6.88

8.79

No

-14
 
 

Woodcock Reading Mastery Test Revised (WRMT–R): Word Identification subtest

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

21.15

25.09

No

-16
 
 

Blending

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

19.3

22.77

No

-17
 
 
Comprehension outcomes—Substantively important negative effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Comprehension Reading Assessment Battery (CRAB): Comprehension

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

0.42

0.64

No

-12
 
 
Reading fluency outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Far-Transfer Fluency

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

20.01

22.27

No

--
More Outcomes

Near-Transfer Fluency

Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies vs. One-on-one adult tutoring

End of year

Grade 1;
41 students

18.95

21.54

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 27% English language learners

  • Urban
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    Tennessee

Setting

Eight elementary schools in metropolitan Nashville, Tennessee, participated in the study. Four of the eight study schools were classified as Title I schools; the other four were middle-class, non-Title I schools.

Study sample

Before the study began, 323 first-grade students used PALS for seven weeks and were subsequently tested. The 66 students who scored 0.5 standard deviations or more below average readers in terms of both level and slope on the curriculum-based measures comprised the sample for this study. These 66 students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: PALS, modified PALS, and adult tutoring, with 22 in each condition. The intervention was delivered one-on-one by peers in the PALS and modified PALS conditions and one-on-one by up to eight adult tutors in the adult-tutoring condition. The final analysis sample consisted of 56 students: 21 in PALS, 15 in modified PALS, and 20 in tutoring. Fifteen (27%) of the 56 students were English language learner students. Only the PALS vs. tutoring analysis meets WWC evidence standards, so the analysis sample used in this review includes 41 students in eight schools.

Intervention Group

PALS is a peer-tutoring program that emphasizes phonological awareness, decoding, and fluency. In this study, it was implemented three times a week for 35 minutes each session. Teachers paired higher performing and lower performing readers who took turns coaching each other. The intervention group received PALS over the course of 13 weeks.

Comparison Group

The comparison group received one-on-one tutoring from trained adult research assistants. Adult tutoring took place three times a week, 35 minutes each session, for 13 weeks, and covered the same topics as in the two PALS conditions. The tutoring session was structured similar to a special education pullout program, with greater attention to skill mastery and the student’s specific needs. The study viewed PALS as the business-as-usual comparison group, but the WWC treated the tutoring condition as the comparison for the purposes of this review

Outcome descriptions

Testing was conducted at baseline and at follow-up by two full-time project coordinators and eight graduate students who were trained to ensure inter-rater agreement of at least 90%. Students were tested over two one-on-one sessions in a quiet location in their school. Students were not tested by staff who had tutored them. The baseline Dolch measure, developed by research staff, was used as the covariate in analyses. For this measure, the score was recorded as the number of high-frequency words read correctly in one minute. The outcomes included in this study were Blending, Rapid Letter Naming, Rapid Letter Sound, Segmentation, Spelling, Word Identification, and Word Attack in the alphabetics domain; Near-Transfer Fluency and Far-Transfer Fluency in the fluency domain; and the Comprehensive Reading Assessment Battery: Comprehension measure in the comprehension domain. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Teachers were trained to use PALS in October through a one-day training session before the start of this study. A research staff member visited each classroom twice weekly over the sevenweek period of the initial PALS implementation. In January, research staff attended a one-day workshop to learn the modified PALS and tutoring procedures. Each staff member was then assigned to implement the tutoring or modified PALS intervention. Intervention fidelity for PALS was measured at 92% based on classroom checks conducted in December and March.

Reviewed: January 2012

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: September 2010

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Urban
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: February 2009

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Urban
 

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