The program included a pilot study and a field test in two consecutive years. The field test is the focus of this study. The study included five schools, three in Virginia and two in California. The schools according to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) designations were: 20% rural, 20% town, 40% suburban, and 20% urban. The focus of the study was high school biology and U.S. history classes.
The student sample was 52.4% White, 12.2% Black, 12.4% Hispanic, 17.2% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islander, 0.2% American Indian/Native Alaskan, and 5% multi-racial/unknown. Eight percent were English learners, 11.7% students had Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and 32.9% were from low socioeconomic status backgrounds.
Enhanced Units (EU) is an intervention which aims to integrate research-based content enhancement routines with technological enhancements to improve student content learning and higher order reasoning, especially for students with disabilities or other learning challenges. The routines are based on the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) and consist of unit organizers, question/exploration guides, cause and effect guides, and comparison (compare and contrast) tables. The technology developed during the grant to use with the routines is a Google application called CORGI, which stands for Co-organize your learning. Several student supports are built into the application including embedded videos about how to use the routines, models of expert examples, text to speech and speech to text, and support for vocabulary and translation. The combination of the routines and CORGI technology is therefore called EU. This EU project is the first to combine multiple research-based routines and technology as a means of teaching higher-order reasoning to secondary students.
Students in the comparison condition received business as usual instruction from the same teachers that delivered the intervention. Teacher professional development emphasized the importance of not using EU materials in control classrooms.
Support for implementation
No implementation support was described separate from the intervention components, which included curricular materials, professional development, and coaching.