Evaluation of the i3 Scale-Up of Reading Recovery | Year Two Report, 2012-13

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Reading Recovery is a short-term early intervention designed to help the lowest-achieving readers in first grade reach average levels of classroom performance in literacy. Students identified to receive Reading Recovery meet individually with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher every school day for 30-minute lessons over a period of 12 to 20 weeks. The purpose of these lessons is to support rapid acceleration of each child’s literacy learning. In 2010, The Ohio State University received a Scaling Up What Works grant from the U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund to expand the use of Reading Recovery across the country. The award was intended to fund the training of 3,675 new Reading Recovery teachers in U.S. schools, thereby expanding service to an additional 88,200 students. The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) was contracted to conduct an independent evaluation of the i3 scale-up of Reading Recovery over the course of five years. The evaluation includes parallel rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental designs for estimating program impacts, coupled with a large-scale mixed-methods study of program implementation. This report presents the findings of the second year of the evaluation. The primary goals of this evaluation are: a) to provide experimental evidence of the impacts of Reading Recovery on student learning under this scale-up effort ; b) to assess the success of the scale-up in meeting the i3 grant’s expansion goals; and c) to document the implementation of the scale-up and fidelity to program standards. This document is the second in a series of three reports based on our external evaluation of the Reading Recovery i3 Scale-Up. This report presents results from the impact and implementation studies conducted over the 2012-2013 school year—the third year of the scale-up effort and the second full year of the evaluation. In order to estimate the impacts of the program, a sample of first graders who had been selected to receive Reading Recovery were randomly assigned to a treatment group that received Reading Recovery immediately, or to a control group that did not receive Reading Recovery until the treatment group had exited the intervention. The reading achievement of students in this sample was assessed using a standardized assessment of reading achievement—the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS). The data for the implementation study include extensive interviews and surveys with Reading Recovery teachers, teacher leaders, site coordinators, University Training Center directors, members of the i3 project leadership team at The Ohio State University, and principals and first-grade teachers in schools involved in the scale-up. Case studies were also conducted in nine i3 scale-up schools to observe how Reading Recovery operates in different contexts.

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