Biancarosa, G., Bryk, A., and Dexter, E. (2008, March). Assessing the value-added effects of literacy collaborative professional development on student learning. Paper presented at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, New York, New York.

Author: Biancarosa, G., Bryk, A., and Dexter, E.



This paper reports the preliminary findings from two years of a longitudinal study that seeks to investigate the impact of the Literacy Collaborative professional development on student literacy learning. (The third year data will be reported at the 2008 meeting of the National Reading Conference.) The Literacy Collaborative builds upon 30 years of research and development grounded in the reading theories of Marie Clary and elaborated by Fountas and Pinnell. The overall goal is to improve the reading and writing achievement of all children in a school. A key component of LC is the training and support of school-based literacy coaches who provide extensive school-based professional development activities, including individual coaching to individual building teachers.

The study uses an accelerated longitudinal cohort design with a value-added analysis of program effects at the both the school and teacher levels. The paper contains rich detail about the statistically analysis methods used in the study. The study involves students and teachers from 18 elementary schools in eight states across the eastern U.S. Forty percent of participating students were low income, 16% African American, 7% are Latino, 4% are Asian American. Only 4% of students are designated as limited English proficient.

The first year of the study represented a no treatment period while teachers were being trained in Literacy Collaborative methods, but were not yet implementing them in their classrooms. Implementation of the LC professional development in K through 2nd grade classrooms began in year 2, and the analyses reported in this paper focus on the first and second year effects on student literacy learning in these grades. The instruments used to measure gains were DIBELs and Terra Nova. The two tests were scaled together using Rasch modeling, and descriptions of the meaning of each logit are provided.

The study found a 16% increase in student learning as compared to the average baseline growth rate in year one and a 27% increase in student learning in year two. These value-added effects convert into standard effect sizes of 0.21 and 0.36 respectively. It is important to note that the effect size increased in the second year when the model had been in place longer. There was substantial difference in value-added effects for students across the 18 schools and by teachers within a school. Of particular significance, the variability among teachers on student learning effects appeared to increase over time. Results from the final year of the study should provide further insights.

Date Added: 11/14/2008


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