Primary Grade Students in Florida Demonstrate Pronounced Advancement in Skills Compared to Harcourt Brace Program
Rimes Elementary – Leesburg, FL
During the 2010-2011 school year, students in grades K-2 at Rimes Elementary were randomly assigned to receive reading instruction in the Direct Instruction program Reading Mastery (RM) Signature Edition, or in the Harcourt Brace (HB) program currently being used by the school. Training and support for the implementation of the RM curriculum were provided by the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI).
Data routinely collected by the district, including the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR) and the STAR Reading assessment (first and second graders only), were used to assess changes over time in reading skills. Comparisons were made between students’ scores in the fall, shortly after school began to their scores in the spring near the end of school.
Similar findings appeared at all grade levels. Students assigned to RM began the school year with scores that were lower than the students assigned to HB. However, by the end of the school year, their scores were significantly higher. In other words, the gains made over time by the RM students were significantly greater than those made by the HB students. This pattern is shown in the figure below, with data combined across all grade levels.
The advantage to the RM students appeared across all groups that are often seen as being at greater risk of having difficulties with reading: special education students, racial-ethnic minorities, students receiving free or reduced lunch, and boys.
Note: The scores are “standardized” scores, centered around an average value of zero for the total group and facilitating the combination of data across grades. Complete details on the analysis and results by grade level are available from the NIFDI research office.