WWC review of this study

Web-based text structure strategy instruction improves seventh graders' content area reading comprehension

Wijekumar, K., Meyer, B. J. F., & Lei, P. (2017). Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(6), 741-760. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1149967

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,868
     Students
    , grade
    7

Reviewed: March 2020

At least one finding shows moderate evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Short Comparison Text: Main Idea Test, Number of Issues

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,721 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
16
 
More Outcomes

Short Comparison Text: Main Idea Competence Test

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,721 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
11
 

Long Comparison Text: Competence Test

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,717 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8
 

Long Comparison Text: Number of Issues Test

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,717 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8
 

Problem/Solution Text: Competence Test

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,716 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8
 

Short Comparison Text: Number of Issues Test

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,718 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8
 

Gray Silent Reading Test (GSRT)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,868 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
7
 

Short Comparison Text: Competence Test

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,718 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
6
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 42% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%

  • Rural, Suburban

Setting

The study included seventh-grade classrooms from 25 rural and suburban middle schools across two states in the United States.

Study sample

The number of students in the analytic sample differs by outcome, ranging from 1,716 to 1,868 students. Across the 25 study schools, 42% of the student population was eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and 8% were racial/ethnic minorities. The analytic sample was about 48% female, and 53% were from rural school districts. The remainder were from suburban school districts.

Intervention Group

Students in the intervention group received the ITSS program over the course of the 2010–11 school year. ITSS was used in intervention classrooms for 30 to 45 minutes a week over 6 to 7 months, which was lower than the developer-recommended dosage, as a partial substitute for the regular language arts curriculum.

Comparison Group

Students in comparison classrooms received the typical language arts curriculum, which was the same curriculum used by the intervention group classrooms within the same school except for the partial substitution of ITSS. Total daily and weekly amounts of language arts instruction were the same for both intervention and comparison classrooms.

Support for implementation

Teachers in the intervention group received 3 hours of training at the beginning of the academic year. Teacher aides were hired at each school to assist with ITSS implementation at the computer lab.

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.

  • Meyer, B.J.F., Wijekumar, K., & Lei, P. (2018). Comparative signaling generated for expository texts by 4th-8th graders: Variations by text structure strategy instruction, comprehension skill, and signal word. Reading and Writing, 31(9), 1937-1968.

Reviewed: February 2019

At least one finding shows moderate evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Main idea: competence (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,721 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
11
 
More Outcomes

Long comparison text: competence (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,717 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8
 

Problem and solution text: competence (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,716 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8
 

Gray Oral Reading Tests, Fourth Edition (GORT-4): Comprehension subtest

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,868 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
7
 

Short comparison text: signaling test (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Years

Full sample;
2,489 students

14.86

13.17

Yes

 
 
7
 

Short comparison text: competence (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Years

Full sample;
1,718 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Main idea: no. of issues (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,721 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
16

Short comparison text: top-level structure (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Years

Full sample;
1,718 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
14

Long comparison text: top-level structure (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,717 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
10

Short comparison text: no. of issues (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Years

Full sample;
1,718 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8

Long comparison text: no. of issues (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,717 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8

Problem and solution text: top-level structure (researcher designed)

Intelligent Tutoring for Structure Strategy (ITSS) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
1,716 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

-10
 
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 42% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%

  • Rural, Suburban
    • B
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    Northeast

Setting

The study took place in grade 7 language arts classrooms in 25 rural and suburban schools in two Northeastern states (p, 748)

Study sample

Across the 25 study schools, 42% of student population was eligible for free and/or reduced price lunch, and 8% were racial/ethnic minorities. Females made up about 48% of the analytic sample, and 53% of the sample came from rural districts. (p. 748)

Intervention Group

Intelligent Tutoring System for the Text Structure Strategy (ITSS) ITSS is a web-based intelligent tutoring intervention that focuses on cognitive and metacognitive skills needed for understanding the meaning of texts. This metacognitive approach can be used prior to, during and after reading. It uses a text structure-based method of instruction to improve reading comprehension. The text structure strategy helps readers focus on the text organization and structure their reading and understanding accordingly. It includes activities such as identification of the organization of texts, writing main ideas based on the most important text elements, supporting creation of a "strategic cognitive structure" (p. 744) to process new learning, and supporting students' own monitoring of their comprehension and recall. During the study period, teachers in the intervention group used the ITSS software for 30–45 minutes each week over a 6-7 month period as a partial substitute for the language arts period. (pp. 744, 748-749)

Comparison Group

Teachers in comparison group delivered the school's language arts curriculum. (p. 748)

Support for implementation

Intervention teachers received three hours of training at the beginning of academic year. Teacher aids were hired at each school to help with ITSS implementation issues at the computer lab. (p. 749)

 

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