WWC review of this study

Red Light, Purple Light! Results of an intervention to promote school readiness for children from low-income backgrounds [Red Light, Purple Light Circle Time Games only or Red Light, Purple Light Circle Time Games plus math and literacy components vs. business as usual (Creative Curriculum)]

McClelland, M. M., Tominey, S. L., Schmitt, S. A., Hatfield, B., Purpura, D., Gonzales, C., & Tracy, A. (2019). Frontiers in Psychology, 10(2365), 1–15. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED599347

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    157
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: November 2022

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Mathematics outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Preschool Early Numeracy Skills Screener—Brief Version (PENS-B)

Red Light, Purple Light (RLPL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Aggregated Sample;
157 students

8.72

8.94

Yes

 
 
12
 
Reading & Literacy Related outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ-III) Letter-Word Identification Subtest

Red Light, Purple Light (RLPL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Aggregated Sample;
157 students

328.08

331.09

No

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

Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders-Revised (HTKS-R)

Red Light, Purple Light (RLPL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Aggregated Sample;
157 students

37.43

41.52

No

--
More Outcomes

Day-Night Stroop task

Red Light, Purple Light (RLPL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Aggregated Sample;
157 students

22.75

21.60

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.


  • 33% English language learners

  • Female: 52%
    Male: 48%
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    West
  • Race
    Black
    6%
    Other or unknown
    61%
    Pacific Islander
    7%
    White
    26%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    58%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    42%
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    
    100%

Setting

The study took place in 13 Head Start classrooms across 7 sites in the Pacific Northwest.

Study sample

All participating children were between the ages of three and five, and all families were low-income. More than half, 58%, of the analytic sample identified as Latino, 26% identified as White, 7% Pacific Islander, 6% African American, and 2% reported other for ethnicity. Using the child’s home language information from the consent form, the authors identified 62 children (33%) as English language learners (ELLs).

Intervention Group

Two versions of the intervention were assessed and have been combined for this review, the Red Light, Purple Light (RLPL) program and the revised Red Light, Purple Light (RLPL+) program. The Red Light, Purple Light (RLPL) program is a teacher-implemented classroom-based program involving activities aimed to increase school readiness and self-regulation by improving working memory, attentional or cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control. The revised version of Red Light, Purple Light (RLPL+) includes the same self-regulation activities as the basic version, but teachers also embed literacy- and math-related content into game play. Both versions of the RLPL intervention are implemented during 16 sessions, which occur twice a week over an 8-week period. Each session is conducted in a large group setting and lasts between 15 and 20 minutes.

Comparison Group

The comparison group engaged in their business-as-usual daily routines and curricula activities. The authors’ review of classroom materials and observation of instruction revealed that no self-regulation games were played in the comparison classrooms.

Support for implementation

Intervention teachers attended a half-day training led by two master trainers. During these sessions, teachers learned about the importance of self-regulation and the core elements of the intervention. Teachers in the RLPL+ group also received information on how to embed literacy- and math-related content into the games. Teachers implementing the two versions of RLPL were provided with training manuals containing intervention materials and detailed session plans. The researchers also asked teachers in the two RLPL groups to complete fidelity of implementation surveys and daily logs following each session. Teachers worked with coaches six times throughout the intervention, during which coaches could provide feedback to teachers based on recordings of the teachers’ implementation during the prior week.

 

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