WWC review of this study

Literate language intervention with high-need prekindergarten children: A randomized trial

Phillips, B. M., Tabulda, G., Ingrole, S. A., Burris, P. W., Sedgwick, T. K., & Chen, S. (2016). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59(6), 1409-1420. . Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1124170

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    74
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: December 2018

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Comprehension outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

OWLS-Listening Comprehension Scale

IES Funded Studies (NCER) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
74 students

30.33

27.19

No

--
More Outcomes

Woodcock Johnson III - Picture Vocabulary Subtest

IES Funded Studies (NCER) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
74 students

14.06

14.45

No

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

CELF-P2 Sentence Structure Subtest

IES Funded Studies (NCER) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
74 students

13.66

13.30

No

--


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.


  • Female: 45%
    Male: 55%
  • Race
    Asian
    2%
    Black
    74%
    Other or unknown
    6%
    White
    18%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    9%

Setting

Seven Title I prekindergarten programs were targeted for this intervention. These schools were economically disadvantaged with rates of eligibility for free or reduced price lunch ranging from 77% to 100%. Students were randomly assigned from five of these seven schools because two schools had fewer than six eligible students and were therefore excluded from the study.

Study sample

Children were selected based on performance below 35th percentile on either the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL)'s Syntax Construction test and/or the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool-2 (CELP-PS), Concepts and Following Directions test. Although the study authors selected the sample to have low achievement, they note that students might not qualify for language interventions. All children were in prekindergarten. The final sample characteristics are: 55% male, 54.3 months old, 18.3% White, 74.4% African American, 2.4% Asian, 6.1% race not reported, and 8.5% Hispanic.

Intervention Group

The intervention includes well-defined content and components aimed to improve literate language skills of prekindergarten students. The intervention was implemented by trained para-professionals who pulled small groups of three to four children from their regularly scheduled classrooms for 20 minute sessions. Manuals with specific content were provided, and sessions were conducted four times a week for 12 weeks, with Fridays used as a "make-up day" for absent students. All interventionists were female and ranged in age from mid-20s to mid-50s. Not all had a teaching certificate, but had a BA at minimum, and each were assigned between 1-3 small groups for the full 12 weeks. The intervention consisted of four 3-week units that covered (1) prepositional phrases, (2) coordinating conjunctions, (3) adverbial phrases, and (4) negation.

Comparison Group

Comparison children attended their classes as usual.

Support for implementation

Interventionists were trained in person over 1 full-day workshop and 1 half-day booster session. These trainings included a review of lesson plans, materials, and implementation procedures, with observations and discussions. Details of the intervention were available in a manual to support high fidelity and standardization. Each interventionist was observed a minimum of once per unit, with time to discuss the observation at the completion of the session. Professional development through one-on-one consultation with the developer and guides for implementation before each of the four units was also provided.

 

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