WWC review of this study

A computerized method to teach Latin and Greek root words: Effect on Verbal SAT scores.

Holmes, C. T., & Keffer, R. L. (1995). Journal of Educational Research, 89, 47–50. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ522333

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: October 2016

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
General academic achievement (high school) outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

SAT Verbal

ACT/SAT Test Preparation and Coaching Programs vs. None

6 Weeks

High school students;
70 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 56%
    Male: 44%
  • Race

  • Rural
    • 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



The study took place at a high school in rural northeast Georgia with students in college-preparatory-level English classes. The high school population was comprised of about 15% Black students, and about 16% were in the free/reduced-price lunch program. Overall, 59% of the students in this high school typically enroll in college. The average SAT scores at the school are below the national average.

Study sample

The sample demographics in the study were not representative of the school population. Four students in the study sample were Black, and none participated in the free/reduced-price lunch program. Nineteen (56%) of the 34 students in the intervention group were female. Twenty-eight (78%) of the 36 students in the comparison group were female. The average age of both groups was about 15 and a half years.

Intervention Group

The intervention in this study was a computerized program designed to help students improve their vocabulary scores on the SAT through the study of Latin and Greek root words. The program focused on a list of 90 common Latin root words and 11 common Greek root words. About 800 English words and derivatives have these 101 roots. Participants in the intervention group were allowed two 45-minute periods per week to use the program. Times were available both before and after school. The program employed a flash card-style interface in which students matched definitions to root words. Once students mastered the root words, they were then given a similar matching task with the English derivatives. The intervention period lasted 6 weeks.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group were not offered the computerized coaching program. They were recruited from the same college-preparatory English classes as the intervention students. No information about any alternative services received by the comparison students was provided in the study.

Support for implementation

No information was provided regarding support for implementation.


Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

back to top