WWC review of this study

A randomized experiment of a cognitive strategies approach to text-based analytical writing for mainstreamed Latino English language learners in grades 6 to 12.

Kim, J. S., Olson, C. B., Scarcella, R., Kramer, J., Pearson, M., van Dyk, D., Collins, P., & Land, R. E. (2011). Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 4(3), 231–263. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ932553

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    2,726
     Students
    , grades
    6-12

Reviewed: October 2021

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
General Literacy Achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

California Standards Test: English language arts composite

Pathway to Academic Success (Pathway Project) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

English learners, year 1 sample;
2,726 students

328.48

325.60

Yes

 
 
3
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

California Standards Test: English language arts, Reading subtest

Pathway to Academic Success (Pathway Project) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

English learners, year 1 sample;
2,711 students

0.02

-0.02

No

--
Writing conventions outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

California Standards Test: English language arts, Writing subtest

Pathway to Academic Success (Pathway Project) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

English learners, year 1 sample;
2,721 students

0.04

-0.05

Yes

 
 
3
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 100% English language learners

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
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    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
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    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
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    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
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    • c
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    • w
    • y

    California
  • Race
    Other or unknown
    100%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    95%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    5%

Setting

The study took place in 15 secondary schools (9 middle schools and 6 high schools) in the Santa Ana Unified School District, an urban school district in California, during the 2007–08 and 2008–09 school years.

Study sample

The study consisted of 52 Pathway to Academic Success Project teachers and 51 comparison group teachers. The sample included 2,726 English learner students in grades 6 to 12. All students were English learners, 95% of students were Hispanic, and Spanish was the first language for 88% of students. Forty-nine percent of students were male, and 79% of students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Intervention Group

The Pathway to Academic Success Project trains teachers to improve the reading and writing abilities of English learners who have an intermediate level of English proficiency by incorporating cognitive strategies into reading and writing instruction. The cognitive strategies include goal setting, tapping prior knowledge, asking questions, making predictions, articulating and revising understanding of text, and evaluating writing. The Pathway to Academic Success Project training lasted 2 years. During each school year, Pathway to Academic Success Project teachers participated in 46 total hours of training, including six full-day sessions (6 hours each) and five after-school sessions (2 hours each). Developers of the Pathway to Academic Success Project led the training with support from district literacy coaches who were experienced Pathway to Academic Success Project teachers. The first two professional development days focused on introducing teachers to the cognitive strategies toolkit and instructional strategies for teaching students to use the toolkit. Throughout the year, teachers received curriculum materials that modeled approaches to using the cognitive strategies and described strategies for implementing those curriculum materials with students within the schools’ English language arts curricula, including direct instruction, teacher modeling, and guided student practice. In the third and fourth professional development days, teachers focused on analyzing students’ performance on a writing assessment to determine strengths and areas for growth and received further training on the implementation of cognitive strategies to enhance interpretive reading and analytical writing. In the fifth and sixth professional development days, teachers analyzed students’ post-test writing, reflected on their growth as writers, and made plans for Year 2. Throughout implementation, Pathway to Academic Success Project teachers had access to the district literacy coaches who supported them in integrating into the ELA curriculum a cognitive strategies approach to writing. Pathway to Academic Success Project teachers also received 26 hours of business-as-usual professional development.

Comparison Group

Comparison group teachers received 26 hours of business-as-usual professional development that focused on the teacher’s guide for using the district’s ELA textbook (Holt Elements of Literature series). The textbook contained instruction in cognitive reading strategies and included questions throughout reading selections to aid students’ comprehension, but focused more on cognitive strategies in reading than writing. The professional development included sessions on interpreting test data, using test data to improve students’ California Standards Test scores, improving students’ summarizing strategies while reading, creating professional learning communities, and understanding how to teach the ELA textbook. Comparison group teachers did not receive coaching support, but did receive resources, such as classroom library books.

Support for implementation

The study authors conducted observations of Pathway to Academic Success Project implementation and comparison classrooms at the end of the first year of implementation. Authors found no differences in the use of specific Pathway to Academic Success Project reading or writing activities during classroom observations between intervention and comparison classrooms. Study authors also surveyed Pathway to Academic Success Project and comparison group teachers about their classroom instruction. Nearly twice as many Pathway to Academic Success Project teachers reported devoting time to writing skills compared with comparison group teachers.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Olson, C. B., Kim, J. S., Scarcella, R., Kramer, J., Pearson, M., van Dyk, D., Collins, P., & Land, R. (2012). Enhancing the interpretative reading and analytical writing of mainstreamed English learners in secondary school: Results from a randomized field trial using a cognitive strategies approach. American Educational Research Journal, 4(2), 323–355.

Reviewed: July 2017

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Overall writing quality outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Assessment of Literary Analysis, writing assessment

Secondary Writing vs. Business as usual

0 Years

Full sample;
101 teachers

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
14
More Outcomes

California Standards Test, writing subtest

Secondary Writing vs. Business as usual

0 Years

Full sample;
95 teachers

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
3
Show Supplemental Findings

Assessment of Literary Analysis, writing assessment

Secondary Writing vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
1,133 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
16

California Standards Test, writing subtest

Secondary Writing vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
1,733 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    California

Setting

The study took place in 15 secondary schools in Santa Ana Unified School District, California.

Intervention Group

Teachers received professional development through the Pathway Project on reading and writing strategy instruction. They modeled the strategies in class and gave students time to practice and reflect on their use of writing strategies. They used an on-demand writ­ing assessment to gauge student needs and progress. The intervention was implemented over 2 school years, with effects measured after 1 year and after 2 years.

Comparison Group

Teachers received professional development that emphasized inter­preting test data, using test data to improve state standardized test scores, helping students improve their summarizing strategies during reading activities, forming profes­sional learning communities, and understanding the core English language arts textbook.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Olson, C. B., Kim, J. S., Scarcella, R., Kramer, J., Pearson, M., van Dyk, D., Collins, P., & Land, R. (2012). Enhancing the interpretative reading and analytical writing of mainstreamed English learners in secondary school: Results from a randomized field trial using a cognitive strategies approach. American Educational Research Journal, 4(2), 323–355.

Reviewed: April 2014

Meets WWC standards without reservations

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 88% English language learners

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%

  • Urban
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    95%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    5%

Reviewed: February 2014

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
English language arts achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Assessment of Literary Analysis (ALA)

Pathway Project vs. Another intervention

Post-test (year 1)

Full sample;
1,393 students

6.27

5.82

Yes

 
 
9
 
More Outcomes

California Standards Test English/Language Arts (CST-ELA): Writing subtest

Pathway Project vs. Another intervention

Post-test (year 1)

Full sample;
2,721 students

0.04

-0.05

Yes

 
 
4
 

California Standards Test English/Language Arts (CST-ELA)- scaled score

Pathway Project vs. Another intervention

Post-test (year 1)

Full sample;
2,726 students

327.66

325.60

No

--
Reading achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

California Standards Test English/Language Arts (CST-ELA): Reading subtest

Pathway Project vs. Another intervention

Post-test (year 1)

Full sample;
2,711 students

0.02

-0.02

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 100% English language learners

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    California
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    95%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    5%

Reviewed: August 2012

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
English language development outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Assessment of Literary Analysis (ALA)

Pathway Project vs. Professional development

Posttest

Grades 6-12;
1,393 students

6.44

5.82

Yes

 
 
14
 
More Outcomes

California Standards Test (CST): Writing

Pathway Project vs. Professional development

Posttest

Grades 6-12;
2,721 students

0.04

-0.05

Yes

 
 
4
 
Reading achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

California Standards Test (CST): Readng

Pathway Project vs. Professional development

Posttest

Grades 6-12;
2,711 students

0.02

-0.02

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 100% English language learners

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    California
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    95%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    5%
 

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