The Analysis Of Two Comprehensive Reading Intervention Programs On Reading Outcomes For Middle School Students With Learning Disabilities
Crawford, Mark Conard
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Background: Middle school students with learning disabilities (LDs) are faced with many academic and social challenges that can follow them throughout their lives. Reading achievement scores for middle school students with LDs are substantially lower than that of students without LD. Even more alarming the reading achievement gap has been a continuing challenge for more than 35 years. Additionally, due to the inadequate reading skills of middle school students with LDs, the kind of instruction, practices, materials, and other considerations needed to reach struggling readers differ from those that needed to reach struggling readers in the primary grades. To meet national, state, and district mandates, schools must address inadequate reading skills of middle school students with LDs and implement effective reading intervention programs that will significantly reduce gaps in reading achievement. Purpose: This study examined the effectiveness of two reading intervention programs, Achieve3000 and LANGUAGE! Live that have been utilized with middle school students with LDs at a local public school in the Houston metropolitan area. Specifically, the study was conducted to provide answers to the following three research questions (RQs). RQ1: Was performance on State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) significantly improved, across middle school grades, when enrolled in each program? RQ2: To what extent is one program more effective than the other as measured by the STAAR reading assessment in Grades 6 to 8? RQ3: Do gender or race/ethnicity influence reading outcomes for each of the reading intervention programs? Methods: Two groups of middle school students with LDs in Grades 6, 7, and 8 who participated in either Achieve3000 (n = 31) or LANGUAGE! Live (n = 45) reading intervention programs for at least one year. The sample was diverse, with 75% of students identified as Hispanics, 12% African American, and 10% White. Most (91%) students were eligible for free/reduced-price lunch. Archival data of student performance from the STAAR reading assessment, as well as demographic information, was utilized to answer the three RQs. Results: For RQ- 1, findings indicated there was not significant growth on the STAAR reading test between Grades 6 and 7 and Grades 7 and 8 for the LANGUAGE! Live reading intervention group. However, results indicated significant growth from Grade 6 to Grade 7 for students enrolled in the Achieve3000 reading intervention program; no significant growth was evident from Grades 7 to 8. For RQ- 2, there were no significant differences in effectiveness between the two reading intervention programs for Grades 6 to 8 in terms of student performance on the STAAR. For RQ- 3, results indicated that race/ethnicity was not related to STAAR outcomes for any grade, though gender (females outperformed males) was significantly related to students’ performance on STAAR Grade 7. Conclusion: No conclusive evidence was found to support either Achieve3000 or LANGUAGE! Live, as reading intervention programs that significantly impact STAAR performance of middle school students with LDs Overall, students remained considerably below grade-level peers in reading achievement. Additional research is needed to identify intensive intervention programs and strategies to meet the needs of these students with LDs.