The study took place in 24 elementary schools and 105 middle schools in New York City with students in grades 4 through 8. The study included English language arts, social studies, and science classrooms in the middle schools.
The 468 elementary school students—234 in each condition—were taught by 14 teachers in 5 schools in the intervention group and 100 teachers in 19 schools in the comparison group. The 6,428 middle school students—3,214 in each condition—were taught by 104 teachers in 20 schools in the intervention condition and 1,423 teachers in 85 schools in the comparison condition. Approximately half the students were male, 87% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, 13% were English learners, and 24% were eligible for special education. Fifty-five percent of the students were Hispanic or Latino, 31% were non-Hispanic Black, 8% were non-Hispanic Asian, and 6% were non-Hispanic White.
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.
Intervention group schools began implementing Literacy Design Collaborative in the 2016–17 school year. Participating teachers were expected to develop at least one instructional module aligned with English language arts standards to use in their classroom in the school year, provide instruction using at least two modules per year, and participate in at least 60 minutes of planning time in a professional learning community every 2 weeks. In addition, participating teachers were expected to receive feedback and support from a Literacy Design Collaborative coach remotely during learning community time, and through peer review comments on their instructional modules through the online CoreTools library. The authors do not describe the implementation experience of the sample of teachers in this study.
Students in the comparison group were taught by teachers who did not participate in Literacy Design Collaborative. Comparison teachers may have participated in other business-as-usual training and professional development offered by their schools or school districts.
Support for implementation
Coaches worked directly with one or more teacher-leaders trained in each school to support implementation. Coaches and teacher-leaders worked together to structure learning community time and coaching support for other teachers in their schools. Literacy Design Collaborative staff also trained school administrators and district instructional specialists to support implementation, observe classroom instruction, and attend learning community sessions.