The study took place in three schools in two school districts in Texas. One school enrolled students in grades 6-8 and the other two schools enrolled students in grades 7-8. Participating classes were reading intervention classes, with a total of 16 classes participating in the study. All participating classes at each school were taught by the same teacher, so there were a total of three teachers participating in the study.
The sample of students who contributed any data to the study for the Comprehension Circuit Training (CCT) intervention group (n=112) was 54% female, 31% White, 28% Black, 18% Hispanic, 18% multiple ethnicities, 4% Asian, and 1% American Indian. Forty percent of students were in grade 6, 30% were in grade 7, and 30% were in grade 8. Sixty-two percent were eligible for free/reduced-price lunch, 8% were English learners, and 9% were eligible for special education services. The sample of students who contributed any data to the study for the comparison group (n=116) was 48% female, 23% White, 31% Black, 34% Hispanic, 10% multiple ethnicities, 1% Asian, and 1% American Indian. Fifty-six percent of students were in grade 6, 24% were in grade 7, and 20% were in grade 8. Seventy-two percent were eligible for free/reduced-price lunch, 11% were English learners, and 8% were eligible for special education services.
The study examined the effectiveness of a reading intervention for students struggling with reading. Comprehension Circuit Training is a reading intervention that uses video modules on an electronic tablet to deliver services. Comprehension Circuit Training lessons focused on teaching students to monitor their own understanding through self-questioning and brief discussions with reading partners. Each lesson consisted of four components: opening comprehension circuit, warm-up station, reading core station, and knowledge flex station. Teachers facilitated the intervention by monitoring students, promoting text discussions, prompting and clarifying student responses, providing vocabulary instruction, and extending students' understanding. Instruction was organized in 10 levels. All students began at Level 1 and followed a standardized sequence of lessons. Each level consisted of four lessons, and each lesson was intended to last three days. Lessons were designed to be 50 minutes in duration and to be implemented three days per week. The entire Comprehension Circuit Training intervention was designed to last between 50 and 70 school days. Teachers selected specific implementation days.
The comparison condition was supplemental reading intervention classes. Teachers were told to maintain their typical instruction for comparison classes and were instructed not to use any of the practices or materials from the Comprehension Circuit Training intervention class. Researchers conducted random observations of comparison classes. Classroom activities observed included introducing new vocabulary words, utilizing graphic organizers, providing background knowledge, and reading. Teachers used a range of reading methods, including having students read individually or in pairs, reading together as a class, or with audio-recordings.
Support for implementation
Research staff provided professional development and support in small groups or individually. At initial meetings, teachers met individually with research staff to review implementation procedures. Teachers received iPads with instructional videos to view on their own time. Researchers held a follow-up meeting to review each component of the Comprehension Circuit Training. Teachers received a document describing their role as facilitators of each Comprehension Circuit Training component and received an implementation guide with a breakdown of each lesson, the instructional focus, student tasks, and teacher tasks. Research staff provided ongoing support to teachers as requested.