Daily Archive for April 7th, 2009

Do reading curricula make a difference?

Curricula Compared

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Reporting in the Journal of School Psychology, Elizabeth Crowe and colleagues recount the methods and results of a study of children’s reading growth during the primary grades. They placed special emphasis on questions about whether different core curricula result in different rates of growth and whether students from lower-SES backgrounds achieve more under one or another curriculum. Although the results of the study do not provide conclusive evidence that any one curricula trumps all others, they give glimpses of programs’ different effects.

In their study, Crowe et al. examined growth in “oral reading fluency” for 30,000 students in Florida (US) receiving instruction using six different core reading curricula during 1st-3rd grades. Generally, they found that almost 3/4ths of the variation in students’ scores was attributable to child factors, but the 1/4th attributable to other factors included differences in the curricula they experienced. They also found, of course, that children’s reading performance, as measured in words read correctly per minute, increased over the grades; however, the increases began to slow late in 3rd grade. In addition, they reported that students from lower-SES backgrounds had lower reading rates than their advantaged peers, but that curricula did not produce different rates of growth for low- versus high-SES students.
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