WWC review of this study

Results from a three-year i3 impact evaluation of the Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI): Implementation and impact findings of an intensive professional development and coaching program.

Parkinson, J., Salinger, T., Meakin, J., & Smith, D. (2015). Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: August 2016

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Teacher instruction outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO): Lanugage and Literacy

Children's Literacy Initiative (CLI) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

130 teachers





Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO): Classroom Environment

Children's Literacy Initiative (CLI) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

130 teachers





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 7% English language learners
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    Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
  • Race
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    Not Hispanic or Latino    


This study was conducted in 78 schools belonging to four school districts across three states (Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania). The districts were selected based on commitment to professional development and large numbers of students who were either low-income or low-performing. All schools were eligible for Title 1 grants.

Study sample

The authors do not present sample characteristics of the students in the analytic sample. However, Common Core Data from the schools in the sample indicate that the school racial composition was predominantly Black (66% Black, 25% Hispanic, 7% White, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander). On average the schools included 84% students with free/reduced-price lunch, 7% English language learners, 13% students with disabilities, and 42% at or above reading proficiency levels.

Intervention Group

The Children's Literacy Initiative (CLI) program implemented in this study had four components: 1) Teachers were provided with literacy resources for their classrooms (e.g., books), 2) Teachers were provided professional development opportunities, training seminars, and on-site coaching, 3) A model teacher was chosen for each grade to receive more extensive coaching and support, and 4) School leadership was instructed on how to sustain improvements caused by the training. Coaches assist teachers in implementing evidence-based practices in their classrooms. CLI provides support over a three year period. In the first year of the study, teachers were given at least 98 hours of professional development, including 50 hours of coaching, three days of training at a summer institute, and three days of seminars. During the second year of the program teachers were given 49 professional development hours. During the third year of the program, teachers were given 39 professional development hours.

Comparison Group

The schools randomized to the comparison condition did not receive the CLI intervention, but instead received services as usual (i.e., any teacher professional development training normally provided by the district).

Support for implementation

The Children's Literacy Initiative is a nonprofit organization that provides support for implementing the CLI program by providing training and coaching in the CLI program. No other information is provided about support for implementation.


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