The resounding thud of low impact on students’ reading skills

iStock_000014442615XSmallClosing the Reading Gap

Findings from a Randomized Trial of Four Reading Interventions for Striving Readers is a study that measured the impact of four popular reading intervention programs on 3rd- and 5th-grade students. Students received an average of 90 hours of intervention programming with teachers who received about 70 hours of training and support in use of the programs.

 Below are the impacts of the interventions on both the state assessment and on seven measures of reading skills one year after the intervention.

Among the key findings from the study: 

Younger students benefited more.The interventions helped students in the 3rd-grade cohort more than students in the 5th-grade cohort.

The interventions did not improve PSSA scores. Participation in the intervention had a negative impact on students in the 5th-grade cohort. The negative impact on the 3rd-grade cohort was not statistically significant except for one program.

The interventions improved some reading skills. For the 3rd-grade cohort, the four interventions combined had impacts on phonemic, decoding, word reading accuracy and fluency. For the 5th-grade cohort, the four interventions combined improved phonemic decoding on one measure.

The interventions narrowed some reading gaps. The four interventions narrowed the reading gap for both 3rd and 5th-graders on Word Attack skills and for the 3rd-graders narrowed the gaps for other reading measures by one-sixth to one-third.

Impacts on reading test scores for 3rd- and 5th-grade cohorts one year after intervention

Grade 3 Cohort
Word Attack
TOWRE PDE
Word ID
TOWRE SWE
AIMSweb
Passage
Comprehension
GRADE
Control
Gain

-2.2
1.3
-0.4
2.7
34.4-2.1
-9.3
Failure
Free

-4.9
1.3
1.8
2.0*
7.9*4.4*
2.8
Control
Gain

-0.3
3.4
1.8
4.0
30.11.2
-10.0
Spell
Read

5.4*
4.9*
0.7
0.9
6.0*0.1
2.1
Control
Gain

0.5
1.8
-2.2
2.8
31.9-2.5
-10.4
Wilson
Reading

5.8*
4.1*
4.1*
2.6*
3.63.5
0.1
Control
Gain

0.7
-2.3
0.6
4.3
38.32.3
-0.1
Corrective
Reading

5.2*
5.5*
2.6*
1.4
3.90.3
-1.1

 

Grade 5 Cohort
Word Attack
TOWRE PDE
Word ID
TOWRE SWE
AIMSweb
Passage
Comprehension
GRADE
Control
Gain

0.4
5.4
1.7
3.0
31.60.8
0.2
Failure
Free

-0.8
-0.3
-0.6
1.5
-4.1-2.5
-0.9
Control
Gain

-0.0
4.9
1.5
1.5
26.5-2.8
-4.8
Spell
Read

3.5
3.2
0.1
3.4
-3.3-0.9
-1.1
Control
Gain

2.3
-4.2
4.3
2.7
29.7-1.6
-8.9
Wilson
Reading

7.8*
2.6
0.0
1.1
-3.00.9
4.7
Control
Gain

3.1
6.6
4.3
5.0
35.91.9
-0.4
Corrective
Reading

0.2#
1.4
-1.9
-0.4
-5.3-2.1
0.0

 

Grade 3 CohortPSSA Reading
PSSA Math
Sample SizeGrade 5 Cohort
PSSA Reading
PSSA Math
Sample Size
Failure
Free

-51.1*
38.4
89-33.4*
-13.4
128
Spell
Read

-39.9
-15.5
92-30.0
-20.1
102
Wilson
Reading

52.5
-56.6#
71-23.8
-56.4#
92
Corrective
Reading

-23.8
1.4
77-22.1
-25.4#
86

 

Published in ERN March 2008 Volume 21 Number 3

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