Reading First Impact Study: Final Report

Reading First Impact Study: Final Report

Reading First Impact Study: Final Report

Reading First Impact Study: Final Report

Excerpt

The Reading First Impact Study was designed to test the impact of the receipt of Reading First funds at the school level. The study was conducted in 248 schools located in 18 sites in 13 states. The study focused on student reading achievement, as well as teachers’ classroom reading practices. Analyses of impact were conducted for data collected during three school years (2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07), representing between one and four years of program implementation, depending on the site.

The results reported in Chapter Two indicate that the receipt of Reading First funding at the school level produced an impact on the amount of time teachers spent on the five components of reading instruction promoted by the program and on first graders’ decoding skills, but not on student reading comprehension. The sections below describe exploratory analyses that examine some hypotheses about factors that might account for the observed pattern of impacts. The results are based on analyses of subgroups of students, schools, grade levels, and/or years of data collection. The information provides possible avenues for further exploration or for improving Reading First or programs like Reading First. Because the study was not designed to provide a rigorous test of the hypotheses explored in this chapter, the results are only suggestive. The methodological literature about subgroup analyses highlights the importance of specifying hypotheses in advance, limiting the number of additional tests, and interpreting results with considerable caution. (See, for example, Hernandez, Boersma, Murray, Steyerberg, 2006; Rothwell, 2005; Wang, R., Lagakos, S.W., Ware, J.H., Hunter, D.J., & Drazen, J.M., 2007).

The first section of this chapter examines variation in impacts. The second section examines the relationship between classroom reading instruction and student achievement.

Variation in Impacts

The core impact analyses reported in Chapter Two are average impacts, meant to represent the impact for the average Reading First school in the sample. It is reasonable to wonder whether these overall averages might be masking differences in impacts that could be attributed to variation in: 1) time of RF implementation; 2) student exposure to RF; or 3) sites. The following section explores these hypotheses.

Variation in Impacts Over Time

This section explores the question of whether the impact estimates presented in Chapter Two—which are pooled across three school years—may be masking changes in impacts over time.

Three approaches were used to address the question of possible changes in impacts over time. First, we examined estimated impacts on instructional and reading comprehension outcomes for each year of the study (and pooled) at a given grade level. Next, we conducted two types of statistical tests. The first test, which is a more restrictive test, assessed whether there was a linear trend (year-to-year change) of impacts

Additional analyses of student achievement trends for the RFIS study sample, including patterns of mean SAT 10 scores in grades one through three and state-mandated reading assessments in grade three, are presented in Appendix E.

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