Details for IES Report (May 2010): Effectiveness

Name:IES Report (May 2010): Effectiveness

Institute  of   Education    Sciences


Effectiveness of Selected Supplemental Reading Comprehension Interventions: Findings from Two Student Cohorts

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the Department of Education (ED) has undertaken a rigorous evaluation of curricula designed to improve reading comprehension as one step toward meeting that research gap. The study was conducted based on a rigorous experimental design for assessing the effects of four reading comprehension curricula on reading comprehension in selected districts across the country, where schools were randomly assigned to use one of the four treatment curricula in their fifth-grade classrooms or to a control group. The four curricula included in the study are: (1) Project CRISS, developed by CRISS (Santa et al. 2004), (2) ReadAbout, developed by Scholastic (Scholastic 2005), (3) Read for Real, developed by Chapman University and Zaner-Bloser (Crawford et al. 2005), and (4) Reading for Knowledge, developed by the Success for All Foundation (Madden and Crenson 2006).


The main findings are:

  • The curricula did not have an impact on students one year after the end of their implementation. In the second year, after the first cohort of students was no longer using the interventions, there were no statistically significant impacts of any of the four curricula.
  • Impacts were not statistically significantly larger after schools had one year of experience using the curricula. Impacts for the second cohort of students were not statistically significantly different from zero or from the impacts for the first cohort of students. (Treatment students in the second cohort attended schools that had one prior year of experience using the study curricula, while treatment students in the first cohort attended schools with no prior experience using the study curricula. Reading for Knowledge was not implemented with the second cohort of students.)
  • The impact of one of the curricula (ReadAbout) was statistically significantly larger after teachers had one year of experience using the curricula. There was a positive, statistically significant impact of ReadAbout on the social studies reading comprehension assessment for second-cohort students taught by teachers who were in the study both years (effect size: 0.22). This impact was statistically significantly larger than the impact for first-cohort students taught by the same teachers in the first year of the study.

In summary, our findings do not support the hypothesis that these four supplemental reading comprehension curricula improve students’ reading comprehension, except when ReadAbout teachers have had one prior year of experience using the ReadAbout curriculum.

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