The study took place in grade 8 history and science classrooms in Kentucky. Other details about the setting, such as the numbers of districts and schools, are not provided in the study.
The study included 16,149 students for the reading outcome, 13,972 students for the writing outcome, and 19,962 students for the social studies outcome. The intervention condition included 36 teachers of history or science. The comparison conditions included students linked to 598 teachers for the reading outcome and 754 teachers for the social studies outcome. The number of comparison teachers used for the writing outcome was not reported. Approximately 2% of students were Hispanic or Latino, 92% were non-Hispanic White, 4% were non-Hispanic Black, and 1% were non-Hispanic Asian. Approximately half the students were male, 0.3% were English learners, 47% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and 9% were eligible for special education.
Literacy Design Collaborative aims to help teachers improve their effectiveness in the classroom with a focus on supporting their literacy instruction. Literacy Design Collaborative provides professional development, coaching, and resources to support teachers to work collaboratively in their schools to create and use high-quality literacy instruction materials aimed at improving students’ reading, research, and writing skills. Teachers across content areas—including English language arts, social studies, and science—can use the Literacy Design Collaborative program.
Prior to the study year, intervention teachers had implemented the Literacy Design Collaborative program in their classroom for 1 or 2 years. During the study year, teachers were expected to participate in regularly scheduled collaborative planning time in a professional learning community and implement at least two 2- to 4-week literacy modules during the school year. Teachers were also expected to participate in two or three of the following types of professional development activities: classroom observations, coaching sessions, online courses, or meetings. Teachers may have participated in some of these activities during the professional learning community planning time. Although 73% of the 36 intervention teachers participated in regularly scheduled collaborative planning time, only 26% of the teachers did so at least every other week. Sixty-nine percent of the intervention teachers participated in any professional development during the school year. Those who participated received one to six professional development sessions. All intervention teachers taught at least one Literacy Design Collaborative module during the study year, nearly all taught two, and some taught as many as four.
Students in the comparison condition were enrolled in similar history and science courses taught by teachers who were not participating in Literacy Design Collaborative. Further information on this business-as-usual comparison condition was not provided in the study. Comparison teachers may have participated in other business-as-usual training and professional development offered by their schools or school districts.
Support for implementation
The authors report that the amount and content of professional development, the number of participating teachers within schools, and other implementation factors varied across districts and schools.