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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2021084 Effectiveness of Early Literacy Instruction: Summary of 20 Years of Research
Children entering kindergarten vary greatly in their language and literacy skills. Therefore, up-to-date information about evidence-based practices is essential for early childhood educators and policymakers as they support preschool children’s language and literacy development. This study used a process modeled after the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) methodology to systematically identify effective early childhood curricula, lesson packages, instructional practices, and technology programs in studies conducted from 1997 to 2017. More than 74,000 studies were analyzed to identify interventions that improved students' performance in six language and literacy domains (language, phonological awareness, print knowledge, decoding, early writing, and general literacy). The study team identified 132 interventions evaluated by 109 studies that the study team determined were high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental studies. The WWC's evidence standards are used to assess the quality of an evaluation study and the strength of its claims about whether an intervention caused the observed effect on student achievement. To better understand the effectiveness of the interventions, their implementation characteristics and instructional features were coded for the relevant language and literacy domains. The findings revealed that instruction that teaches a specific domain is likely to increase performance in that domain. Interventions that teach language exclusively might be more beneficial when conducted in small groups or one-on-one than in larger group sizes. In addition, teaching both phonological awareness and print knowledge might benefit performance in print knowledge. Finally, some evidence indicates that instruction that teaches both phonological awareness and print knowledge might also lead to improvements in decoding and early writing performance.
7/26/2021
REL 2021086 A Third-Grade Teacher's Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills
This Third Grade Teacher's Guide provides information for third grade teachers on how to support families as they practice foundational reading skills at home. It serves as a companion to the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide, Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade. Both guides present four research-based recommendations and how-to steps: the WWC guide is for teaching children at school, and this guide is to help teachers support families in practicing foundational reading skills at home.

The information in this Third Grade Teacher's Guide is designed to assist teachers in supporting out-of-school literacy activities that are aligned to classroom instruction, informed by student need, grounded in evidence-based practices, and facilitated by ongoing parent-teacher communication. The Teacher's Guide provides a framework for literacy support activities presented during schools' family literacy nights and parent-teacher conferences. This Teacher's Guide includes:
  • Recommendation Reminders that provide a snapshot of each recommendation and how-to steps from the WWC guide.
  • Teacher Scaffolds that model the language teachers can use with families to describe a specific skill, why it is important in learning to read, and how to support that skill.
  • Family Activities that contain evidence-based literacy activities with easy-to-follow plans, and materials that teachers model and share with families.
  • Family Literacy Videos that show families engaging their child in activities related to the skills teachers modeled during family literacy nights or at parent-teacher conferences.
4/19/2021
WWC 2021009 Xtreme Reading Intervention Report
The Xtreme Reading curriculum is primarily designed to help students improve their vocabulary, decoding, fluency, and reading comprehension skills. The Xtreme Reading program includes teacher-led whole-group instruction, cooperative group work, paired practice, and independent practice.

Based on the research, the WWC found that Xtreme Reading has no discernible effects on comprehension or general literacy achievement. The WWC based its conclusion on its review of two studies of Xtreme Reading that met WWC group design standards. The two studies included 3,008 students, who were struggling readers based on their low performance on state standardized tests, in 39 high schools in 12 districts across 9 states.
4/8/2021
REL 2021083 The Impact of Word Knowledge Instruction on Literacy Outcomes in Grade 5
District leaders in a large urban school district in central Florida wanted to examine the efficacy of a new curriculum designed to enhance the word knowledge of grade 5 students so as to improve reading achievement. The new curriculum, called Word Knowledge Instruction (WKI), consists of 15-minute lessons 4 days a week for 20 weeks. The lessons address state standards and cover 20 prefixes and suffixes. Thirty-nine schools participated in the study, with 92 English language arts (ELA) teachers in high-poverty schools randomly assigned within schools either to use WKI or to continue to use their standard ELA curriculum. Classroom observations revealed that WKI was implemented as intended. WKI had a positive effect, equivalent to an increase of 9 percentile points, on students' ability to correctly extract and spell a base word from a derived word, one of the skills explicitly taught by WKI. WKI had no effect on two other related reading skills that were not directly taught by WKI (students' ability to select a nonword that best fits the grammatical context of a sentence or to use knowledge of word parts to infer meaning of new words) or on students' vocabulary or reading scores. These findings suggest that, although students learned what they were explicitly taught, the transferability to related but not directly taught skills might require more intense or longer duration instruction or additional professional development for teachers.
4/6/2021
REL 2021055 Effects of an Inquiry-Oriented Curriculum and Professional Development Program on Grade 7 Students' Understanding of Statistics and on Statistics Instruction
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the Supporting Teacher Enactment of the Probability and Statistics Standards (STEPSS) program on classroom instruction and student understanding of grade 7 statistics. This randomized controlled trial in 40 Broward County, Florida, middle schools compared the STEPSS program condition (a 20-day replacement curriculum unit designed to support teaching and learning of the probability and statistics standards in grade 7, along with four days of professional development for teachers) with practice-as-usual statistics instruction and teacher professional development. The initial study sample included 155 grade 7 mathematics teachers and 14,045 grade 7 mathematics students in the 40 schools. The STEPSS program improved student performance on a test of conceptual understanding of statistics and increased the levels of cognitive demand and classroom discourse in classroom statistics instruction. The magnitude of the effect on student performance was 23 percent of one standard deviation, which is comparable to an increase of 9 percentile points for an average student. In addition, the study found that teachers involved students in tasks involving higher levels of cognitive complexity and engaged their students in higher levels of reasoning and discussion about each other’s ideas regarding probability and statistics in the schools where teachers participated in the STEPSS program. The results of this study suggest that school districts should consider implementing the STEPSS program as a way to improve student understanding of and instructional practice in grade 7 statistics. Mathematics programs that are subjected to randomized controlled trials rarely result in positive impacts on student test performance of the magnitude attained in this study.
1/26/2021
WWC 2020009 Web-Based Intelligent Tutoring for the Structure Strategy
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on Web-Based Intelligent Tutoring for the Structure Strategy (ITSS), a web-based program that provides supplemental literacy instruction and practice for students in kindergarten to grade 8. The program is designed to develop students’ literacy skills needed to understand factual texts encountered in school and everyday life. The program teaches students how to follow the logical structure of factual text and to use text structure to improve understanding and recall. Based on the research, the WWC found that ITSS is likely to increase students’ reading comprehension in grades 4-7.
4/9/2020
WWC 2020010 Intervention Report Word Generation: English Language Learners
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on the effectiveness of Word Generation for English learners. Word Generation is a supplemental program that aims to improve students’ reading comprehension by building students’ vocabulary, academic language, and perspective-taking skills through classroom discussion and debate. Word Generation consists of a series of interdisciplinary units with daily lessons focused on a high-interest topic to increase student engagement. Based on the research, the WWC found that implementing Word Generation may result in little or no change in the reading comprehension or English language proficiency of English learners in grades 4-7.
4/9/2020
WWC 2020007 Intervention Report: Project-Based Inquiry Science
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on Project-Based Inquiry ScienceTM, a curriculum with units in life science, earth science, and physical science that is designed to improve student science achievement in grades 6 to 8. No eligible studies of Project-Based Inquiry ScienceTM met WWC design standards, so the WWC is unable to draw any conclusions at this time about the effectiveness of this program.
3/10/2020
WWC 2020005 Intervention Report: Fraction Face-Off! Primary Mathematics
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes research on Fraction Face-Off!, a supplemental math program designed to assist fourth-grade students with solving fraction problems. The WWC reviewed eligible research on Fraction Face-Off! and found that this program may increase fourth-grade student achievement in geometry and measurement, numbers and operations, and general mathematics skills.
3/10/2020
NCES 2020051 U.S. Performance on the 2015 TIMSS Advanced Mathematics and Physics Assessments: A Closer Look
“U.S. Performance on the 2015 TIMSS Advanced Mathematics and Physics Assessments: A Closer Look” expands upon the results described in NCES’ initial "Highlights" report on TIMSS Advanced. This new report provides in-depth analyses that (1) examine the demographics, school characteristics, and coursetaking patterns of the small subset of U.S. 12th-graders taking the TIMSS Advanced assessments; (2) describe the extent to which the topics assessed in the study were covered in the curricula of the advanced mathematics and physics courses taken by U.S students; (3) provide detailed performance data within content domains for student subgroups and overall; and (4) illustrate student performance with example items.

This report uses data from the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study Advanced (TIMSS Advanced), an international assessment that measures advanced mathematics and physics achievement in the final year of secondary school. TIMSS Advanced is sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and conducted in the United States by NCES.
12/24/2019
WWC 2020003 Evidence Snapshot: Passport Reading Journeys
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on Passport Reading Journeys, a supplemental literacy curriculum that is designed to improve reading comprehension, vocabulary, word study, and writing skills of struggling readers in grades 6-12. Lessons incorporate both teacher-led instruction and technology, including whole-class and small-group instruction, independent reading, video segments, and individualized computer-based practice. The curriculum includes a series of instructional sequences ("expeditions") on topics in science, math, fine art, literature, and social studies. Based on the research, the WWC found that Passport Reading Journeys has inconsistent effects on comprehension and little or no effect on general literacy achievement for struggling adolescent readers.
11/21/2019
REL 2019002 Professional Learning Community: Improving Mathematical Problem Solving for Students in Grades 4 Through 8 Facilitator's Guide
REL Southeast developed this facilitator's guide on the topic of mathematical problem solving for use in professional learning community (PLC) settings. The facilitator's guide is a set of professional development materials designed to supplement the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8 (Woodward et al., 2012). The practice guide provides research-based recommendations for teachers to incorporate into their classroom practice. The facilitator's guide is designed to complement and extend the practice guide by providing teachers in a PLC setting with additional, step-by-step guidance for the best ways to implement some of these evidence-based recommendations.

The facilitator's guide focuses on three of the five recommendations from the mathematics problem solving practice guide to ensure in-depth coverage of the topics and to provide ample practice opportunities and time for reflection. The three practice guide recommendations on which the facilitator's guide is based are: teach students how to use visual representations (Recommendation 3), expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies (Recommendation 4), and help students recognize and articulate mathematical concepts and notation (Recommendation 5). REL Southeast chose these three recommendations because they are interrelated and include critical content to address the two high-leverage regional needs communicated by the Improving Mathematics Instruction Research Alliance which include improving classroom discourse in mathematics and enhancing students' mathematical problem-solving skills.
6/10/2019
NCES 2018014 Public School Principals’ Perceptions of Influence by School Level and Community Type
This report describes public school principals’ perceptions of their influence on establishing curriculum and decisions concerning the budget at their school.
5/8/2018
WWC IRM684 Accelerated Math: Primary Mathematics
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on Accelerated Math and its impacts on the mathematics achievement of primary students. Accelerated Math is a software tool that provides practice problems for students in grades K-12 and provides teachers with reports to monitor student progress. The software is typically used as a supplement to the math curriculum being used in the classroom to add practice for students and help teachers differentiate instruction through the program's progress-monitoring data.

This report replaces the 2008 and 2010 WWC Accelerated Math reports to combine reviews and include more recent publications. After reviewing the currently available research, the WWC found that Accelerated Math has mixed effects on mathematics achievement for primary students.
12/19/2017
WWC IRM676 I CAN Learn Primary Mathematics
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report in the Primary Math topic area summarizes the research on I CAN Learn® Pre-Algebra, a computer-based math curriculum for students in middle school, high school, and college. This new report represents the most recent available evidence of the impact of I CAN Learn® Pre-Algebra on primary students and replaces the 2009 Middle School Math report. Based on the available evidence, the WWC found that I CAN Learn® Pre-Algebra has no discernible effects on general mathematics achievement for primary students.
8/29/2017
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