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SERP, Word Generation, STARI, and CCDD: An introduction Catherine Snow Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Presentation on theme: "SERP, Word Generation, STARI, and CCDD: An introduction Catherine Snow Harvard Graduate School of Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 SERP, Word Generation, STARI, and CCDD: An introduction Catherine Snow Harvard Graduate School of Education

2 My goal: To explain SERP, our long-standing partnership with the Boston Public Schools, our more recent partnerships with other districts A bit of the history of Word Generation A bit of the history of STARI CCDD: Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate The future of Word Generation The future of STARI

3 Three groups with common interests All facing challenges of adolescent literacy and the Common Core State Standards All recognizing that traditional approaches are insufficient 1.Prospective Word Generation adopters 2.Participants in the CCDD Word Generation experimental study 3.Participants in the STARI experimental study

4 What is SERP? (Strategic Education Research Partnership) A young organization With an idealistic mission Inspired by frustration with the relationship between research and practice in education: – Intervention research that doesn’t change practice – Practitioner-developed innovations that don’t get acknowledged as legitimate

5 SERP Principles Emergence of questions from practice, i.e., ‘Practice-embedded/use-based research’ Working at three levels simultaneously (student learning, teacher learning, organizational learning) Recruiting multiple forms of expertise Creating local solutions designed to travel Engineering tools that carry knowledge across sites Developing procedures to accumulate knowledge across sites Exploiting bottom-up as well as top-down sources of wisdom

6 Getting started on our work in Boston Interviewing and surveying teachers Comprehension a universal worry Many problems mentioned Vocabulary challenges widely noted Observing in classrooms Little vocabulary instruction overall Focus on disciplinary vocabulary Content area texts challenging, unengaging Literacy assessments Many readers struggling with comprehension Low vocabulary across the board Problems with word reading, fluency for some

7 Boston NAEP- Reading 4 th and 8 th grades in 2007 4 th grade 49.81 Below Basic 33.91 Basic 13.75 Proficient 2.52 Advanced 8 th grade 40.37 Below Basic 43.47 Basic 15.11 Proficient 1.05 Advanced

8 The Challenge The new complexities of adolescent literacy – Complex texts, new vocabulary and grammar – Presupposed background knowledge – Lowered student motivation – The need to cover lots of material The achievement gap (partly a vocabulary and knowledge gap) The need for vocabulary in math, science, and social studies as well as English Language Arts Content area standards that restrict the time for teaching vocabulary or content-area reading skills The need of ELLs and LM students for attention in school to vocabulary learning

9 How to teach vocabulary? NOT Assigning unconnected lists of words Having students look them up in dictionaries Having students write sentences with them Giving a Friday quiz on them So students can forget them and start on next week’s list

10 The SERP Team Response Word Generation Build the vocabulary of middle school students through repeated exposure to high frequency academic words in various contexts; Promote regular use of effective instructional strategies among teachers; Facilitate faculty collaboration on a school- wide effort.

11 Over-arching goal of original WG To create an “easy-to-embed,” engaging, and effective word study program that develops a repertoire of vocabulary-building practices among teachers and students, which become “institutionalized” over time across all subject areas.

12 Word Generation Program Features Focus on the Academic Word List (AWL) Materials designed for flexible use across the curriculum An expectation that schools would dedicate at least 15 instructional minutes a day An opportunity for each school team to design a practical implementation plan to suit its own particular school context

13 Sample dilemmas Should the government impose a mandatory year of service after high school? Should schools protect kids from cyberbullying? Should the use of transfats in foods be regulated? Should schools require a minimum GPA for participation on a sports team? Should it be mandatory to get a parenting license?


15 Word Generation: Materials 24 weeks, each focused on a set of 5 words 4 strands/content-areas with 6 topics each Controversial topics ripped from the headlines Genuine dilemmas Who should fund stem cell research? Should athletes earn multi-million dollar salaries? Should English be the official language of the US? Should students have a mandatory year of service after high school?

16 Word Generation: Weekly Schedule Monday Paragraph introduces Words (ELA) Tuesday-Thursday Content-area word activities (math, science, social studies) Friday Writing with focus words (ELA)

17 Promising Results, Year 1 Grade n Mean percent Correct 1 st 12 week words Pre Post Six 29 Seven 46 Eight 64 65.09 77.82 68.20 82.75 74.67 85.02 Six 104 Seven 109 Eight 120 68.28 77.02 72.24 79.04 75.03 83.96

18 Promising Results, Year 1 Grade n Mean percent Correct 1 st 12 week words Pre Post Six 29 Seven 46 Eight 64 65.09 77.82 68.20 82.75 74.67 85.02 Six 104 Seven 109 Eight 120 68.28 77.02 72.24 79.04 75.03 83.96

19 Year 2 results PretestPost test Mean SDMean SD Gain _______________________________________________________ Comparison 21.02 6.20 22.97 7.15 1.95 Comparison 21.02 6.20 22.97 7.15 1.95 (n= 294) (3) ________________________________________________________ Treatment 18.53 6.17 22.93 7.33 4.4 Treatment 18.53 6.17 22.93 7.33 4.4 (n=632) (5) ________________________________________________________ 40 items…represents 4.5 word gain.. Taught 120. Infer they gained approximately 14 target words through participation in all the weekly activities; students who gained more words also did better on the MCAS

20 Descriptive statistics also suggest that students who spoke a language other than English at home improved more than monolingual English students on measures of target word knowledge (Snow, Lawrence, & White, 2010) Students who spoke English at home Students who spoke a language other than English at home

21 Meanwhile, STARI Many BPS students scoring well below grade level in reading These students needed intensive catch-up Focused on word reading and fluency as well as vocabulary, comprehension, and writing Eligibility established with MCAS/RISE Curriculum co-constructed with teachers Initial results highly promising

22 The Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention (STARI) “…designed to raise basic reading skills and simultaneously foster more complex, deep comprehension abilities among adolescents with significant delays in reading [at about a 4 th grade level]” (p. 21). – About 30% of Boston School’s students in 8-9 th grade Targets – Reading fluency – Vocabulary – Decoding – Comprehension Language Arts course resources/overview.php resources/overview.php

23 Design of STARI Schools identify students reading more than 3 years below grade level Students participate in literacy-enriched language arts Students read and respond to novels; write literary response essays http://www.serpinstitute.o rg/tools-and- resources/overview.php http://www.serpinstitute.o rg/tools-and- resources/overview.php

24 STARI curriculum Partner formats are used to develop fluency Small guided reading groups scaffold comprehension Students also apply Reciprocal Teaching strategies in partner work with novels and nonfiction and-resources/overview.php

25 Evaluation of STARI 7 th -9 th graders with SRI scores of 500-875 were randomly assigned to semester-long STARI classes or regular English classes – RISE administered at start and end of semester – Teacher and student interviews and observations were conducted STARI students made statistically significant gains in several RISE subtests Effect sizes favoring STARI students were.06 for word reading,.07 for vocabulary,.10 for sentence structure, and.11 for reading comprehension

26 Our growing realization Word Generation’s active ingredient was discussion STARI used discussion to deepen knowledge and motivate students High-quality topic-focused discussion is hard to do And needed more attention in support to teachers

27 Coincidentally Reading for Understanding initiative! Major federal investment in reading comprehension research, preK – grade 12 Five teams, each with a grade-range focus SERP/Harvard/BPS received funding for 4 th through 8 th grades Developmental theory, curriculum development, intervention for struggling readers

28 MORE ON RFU: The Network


30 Simple vs. Deep Comprehension Simple View of Reading Word reading Decoding Listening Comprehension Vocabulary Conversational Language Simple Comprehension Perspective Taking Complex Reasoning Academic language skills Background Knowledge Deep Comprehension

31 Theory of Change Critical reading Discussion and debate Expository writing

32 Challenges to both WG and STARI PD and other teacher supports were not strong enough especially for new kinds of pedagogy Strong district traditions of teacher autonomy for curriculum planning Implementation varied widely across schools Principal leadership was key in successful sites

33 RFU Enhancements to Word Generation Extend WG to 4 th and 5 th grade Provide more in-depth 6 week treatment of a single topic for 6 th - 8 th grades – Social Studies – Science – Provide an opportunity for students to write a longer more developed essay than the brief essays currently produced – Enhancements will be developed in consultation with teachers Will continue to utilize the 1 week units across content areas for 12 weeks/year Modularized for maximum flexibility – Schools might use WG in original form with 6 week topics in Science and Social Studies – Or use WG units for weeks before and after the 6 week topics – Or use WG or 6week topics alone Will use an iterative design process

34 Assessing the Efficacy of WG-RFU School level random assignment Ultimately, 30 schools in 2-4 districts Longitudinal data collected on students

35 RFU Enhancements to STARI Create a second semester so that students can participate for an entire academic year Workbooks that accompany the readings will support partner reading etc. Extend to younger students in Years 2 and 3 with the goal of preventing more severe reading difficulties

36 Assessing the Efficacy of STARI Student level random assignment Eligible students in 2 to 4 middle schools – Within schools, students will be stratified by grade level and pretest reading scores E.g., MCAS Stanford 10 Reading Comprehension – 40-50 students per grade for a total sample size of 10 schools, 1200-1500 students – Class size capped at 15-20 students

37 CCDD Work Word Generation Fourth Grade Curriculum Team developing materials with teacher collaborators Sixth Grade Science Curriculum Team developing materials with teacher collaborators Sixth Grade Social Studies Curriculum Team developing curriculum with teacher collaborators STARI STARI lead teachers participating in year-long course and materials refinement STARI currently being implemented in four schools with approximately 80 students Full-year curriculum being developed Intensive Coaching Model being field tested

38 Educational goals: 21 st century skills Deep reading comprehension Scholarly writing (arguments, analyses) Critical thinking Sophisticated vocabulary Academic language skills Content knowledge in key areas: math, science, history, humanities

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