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The IERI Research Community :: Projects

Validation of a Multi-Phase Scale-Up Design for a Knowledge-Based Intervention in Science and Reading Comprehension

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:
Nancy R. Romance

CO-INVESTIGATORS:
Michael R. Vitale, Jerry Haky

CATEGORIES:
Science

PROJECT OVERVIEW:
Background: There are two key requirements for systemic school reform. The first is to identify and research-validate instructional interventions that improve student achievement in core curricular areas and the second is to gain an understanding of how the capacity of schools can be developed to initiate, sustain, and expand the use of such implementations. A barrier in the advancement of student achievement in science has been the lack of sustainability of effective instructional interventions in school settings.

Purpose: The twofold purpose of this project is (a) replicate prior research findings showing that the Science IDEAS model as a replacement for traditional reading/language arts instruction is more effective in accelerating student achievement in both science and reading comprehension (b) to develop and study the processes associated with building the capacity and infrastructure for sustaining and expanding the use of the model in an increasing number of schools in two large school districts. A major goal of the project is the development of a model for scale up in a form that is replicable with Science IDEAS as well as with other instructional interventions.

Intervention: The project has two concurrent interventions. The research-validated instructional intervention is Science IDEAS, a cognitive science model for teaching in-depth science in grades 3-5 within which reading and writing are integrated. In grades 3-5, the model is implemented on a schoolwide basis through daily 2-hour time blocks that replace traditional reading/language arts instruction. In addition, advanced components of the model are implemented in grade 6-8 middle schools. The second project intervention associated with scale up is a multi-phase model through which responsibility for all aspects of project implementation are systematically transferred from project to appropriate district staff. Design, refinement, validation (in terms of implementation fidelity and student achievement), and documentation of the multi-phase scale up model as schools are added to the project is a major project goal.

Setting: The project is being conducted in two large, demographically diverse, public school systems located in southeastern Florida. During the initial four years of the project, the intervention has been implemented sequentially in an increasing number of elementary schools - 12 schools at present, with an additional 3 added in year 5. At the middle school level, a total of 4 schools serving in feeder relationships to elementary schools are involved with the instructional model (although data are obtained from all feeder middle schools).

Research Design: The project design for assessing the intervention impact on student achievement trends in grades 3-8 involve a combination of longitudinal, multiple baseline, and statistical modeling. The methodology for evaluating and documenting the multi-phase scale up model involves a combination of observation, interview, and narrative synthesis. The study sample through year 4 of the 5-year project involves over 12,000 students in 12 elementary and 14 middle schools (some elementary schools feed two or more middle schools).

A total of 6 demographically-comparable elementary schools served as controls. Each of these schools implemented the traditional reading/language arts program adopted by their districts. In addition, 6 demographically-comparable middle schools served as controls at different stages of the project. Two were used to compare middle reading and science achievement of students experiencing Science IDEAS in grades 3, 4, or 5 with students not experiencing Science IDEAS or the achievement of students receiving augmented project instruction in science with those receiving regular science instruction.

The project is in the process of refining its longitudinal database in a form that will allow advanced statistical analysis. The present project plans will document the database and make it available to interested researchers.

Findings: The key project findings are (a) that initial project analyses have shown that Science IDEAS in grades 3-5 resulted in significantly higher student achievement in reading and science as measured by the nationally-normed ITBS subtests, (b) that the project has been able to maintain the fidelity of implementation as the number of schools has been increased, (c) that the initial scale up initiatives to develop teacher capacity to implement professional development training for new Science IDEAS has been successful, and (d) that a prototype scale up model has been developed and documented.

In the 5th year of the project, the major priorities are (a) to actively involve central administrators in building a management infrastructure to sustain implementation at the school level, (b) to transfer the responsibility of managing the implementation of the intervention at the school level to the principal and teacher leaders, (c) to implement a prototype model through which schools can provide and receive intra- and inter-mentor support, (d) initiate strategies for establishing the systemic value of the intervention to the district (a key sustainability component) that include the use of longitudinal achievement trajectories as a major tool.

PROJECT PUBLICATIONS:
Vitale, M. R., & Romance, N. R. (In press). A knowledge-based framework for unifying content-area reading comprehension and reading comprehension strategies. In D. McNamara (Ed.) Reading comprehension strategies: Theory, interventions, and technologies. NY: Erlbaum.

Vitale, M. R., & Romance, N. R. (2006). Research in science education: An interdisciplinary perspective. In J. Rhoton & P. Shane (Eds.) Teaching science in the 21st century. (pp. 329-351). Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Vitale, M. R., Romance, N. R. & Dolan, M. F. (2006). A knowledge-based framework for the classroom assessment of student science understanding (pp. 1-14). In M. McMahon, P. Simmons, R. Sommers, D. DeBaets, & F. Crawly (Eds.). Assessment in science: Practical experiences and education research. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Romance, N. R. & Vitale, M. R. (2006). Making the case for elementary science as a key element in school reform: Implications for changing curricular policy. In R. Douglas, M. Klentschy, M. & K. Worth (Eds.). Linking Science and Literacy in the K-8 Classroom. Arlington, VA: NSTA press.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, M. R., & Dolan, M. F. (2003). Scientifically-based research in science education. US Department of Education Monograph Series, Washington, DC: US Department of Education.

Presentations

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Vitale, M. R., & Romance, N. R. (April, 2006). Effects of embedding knowledge-focused reading comprehension strategies in content area vs. narrative instruction in grade 5. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

Vitale, M. R., Romance, N. R., Klentschy, M. (April 2006). Improving school reform by changing curriculum policy toward content-area instruction in elementary schools: A research-based model. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

Vitale, M. R., Romance, N. R., Greene, E., Hamstra, J. (April, 2005). A multi-phase model for scaling up a research-validated instructional intervention: Implications for leadership of systemic educational reform. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Canada.

Romance, N. R., & Vitale, M. R. (April, 2005). Building teacher expertise and leadership as a form of scale-up capacity development in school reform. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Canada.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, M. R., & Dolan, M. F. (April, 2003). Interdisciplinary perspectives for broadening the scientific research base in science education. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Il.

Dolan, M. F., Pisapia, J., Vitale, M. R., & Romance, N. R. (April, 2003). The call for scientific research in education: A broader perspective for school reform. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Il.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, M. R., & Dolan, M. F. (April, 2003). Interdisciplinary perspectives for broadening the scientific research base in science education. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Il.

Vitale, M., Romance, N. R., & Dolan, M (April, 2002). A rationale for improving school reform by expanding time for science teaching: Implications and opportunities for changing curricular policy and practice in elementary schools. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, New Orleans, LA.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, M. R., Dolan, M., & Kalvaitis, L. (April, 2002). An empirical investigation of leadership and organizational issues associated with sustaining a successful school renewal initiative. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST)

Vitale, M. R., & Romance, N. R. (April, 2006). Implications of a multi-phase model for increasing time for elementary science. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Francisco, CA.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, M. R., & Klentschy, M. (April, 2005). Enhancing the time allocated to elementary science instruction by linking reading comprehension to science: Implications of a knowledge-based model. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Dallas, TX.

Vitale, M. R., Romance, N. R., & Dolan, M. F. (April, 2003). A knowledge-based framework for the classroom assessment of student science understanding. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Philadelphia, PA.

Vitale, M., Romance, N. R., & Dolan, M (April, 2002). A rationale for improving school reform by expanding time for science teaching: Implications and opportunities for changing curricular policy and practice in elementary schools. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, New Orleans, LA.

Association of Science Teacher Educators (ASTE)

Romance, N. R., & Vitale, M. R (January, 2006). Advancing teacher expertise and leadership in science: A strategy for enhancing and sustaining quality elementary science programs (K-5). Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Science Teacher Educators, Portland, Oregon.

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)

Romance, N. R. & Vitale, M. R. (March-April, 2006). Beyond the basal: Using non-fiction to accelerate comprehension and content learning. Presented (3 hour institute) at the Annual Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, Anaheim, CA.

Romance, N. R. & Vitale, M. R. (March-April, 2006). Principal leadership for combining science and literacy in elementary schools. Presented (3 hour institute) at the Annual Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association. Anaheim, CA.

Romance, N. R. (April, 2006). _Principal leadership for science in a World that is Getting Flat _. Invited Keynote Luncheon Address at Annual Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association. Anaheim, CA.

Romance, N. R. & Vitale, M. R. (April, 2005). Increasing instructional time for meaningful learning in science and reading comprehension: Research findings and implications for curricular policy. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, Dallas, TX.

Janczyk, J., & Greene, E, Braisted, M. J., Romance, N. R. & Vitale, M. R. (March-April, 2005). Using journals to facilitate meaningful learning in science with reading comprehension. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association. Dallas, TX.

Romance, N. R. & Vitale, M. R. (March-April, 2005). Science IDEAS: A model for improving reading comprehension through meaningful science learning in grades 3-5. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, Dallas, TX.

Romance, N. R., % Vitale, M. R. (March-April, 2005). Building Principal Advocacy for Integrating Science and Language Arts/Reading Instruction in Grades 3-5. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, Dallas, TX.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, M. R., Greene, E., Hamstra, J. & McKie, A. (March-April, 2005). Science IDEAS: Combining six elements to produce students who are eager and motivated to do and learn science as well as comprehend written text-based materials. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association. Dallas, TX.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, M., & Greene, E. (March-April, 2005). What works? Keys to principal leadership to support Science IDEAS: A research-based elementary science program situated in an urban setting. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association. Dallas, TX.

International Reading Association (IRA)

Romance, N. R., & Vitale, M. R. (May, 2006). A comparison of the effectiveness of a multi-part reading comprehension strategy in content vs. non-content oriented environments in grade 5. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Reading Association, Chicago, IL.

Romance, N. R., & Vitale, M. R. (May, 2006). A knowledge-based framework for developing content area reading comprehension. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Reading Association, Chicago, IL.

Vitale, M. R. & Romance, N. R. (May, 2006). Interdisciplinary perspectives on content area reading comprehension: implications for school practitioners. Presented at the Featured IES Research Symposium: Using knowledge to improve comprehension instruction and assessment- Helping all readers succeed at the Annual Meeting of the International Reading Association, Chicago, IL.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, E., & Greene, E. (May, 2005). A knowledge-focused method for building knowledge and reading comprehension in upper elementary readers. Presented at the annual meeting of the International Reading Association. San Antonio, TX.

University of Missouri NSF Reading and Writing Conference and Retreat Conference

Romance, N. R. (September, 2004). Embedding knowledge-focused reading comprehension into cumulative science learning in grades 3-5: Theoretical perspectives, research findings, and implications for policy. Presented at the Reading and Writing in Science International Conference and Retreat, University of Missouri- St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.

Vitale, M. R., & Romance, N. R. (September, 2004). Paradigmatic perspectives for reforming the relationships between meaningful comprehension in reading: New frontiers for an interdisciplinary research agenda. Presented at the Reading and Writing in Science International Conference and Retreat, University of Missouri- St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.

National Association of Elementary School Principals

Vitale, M. R., & Romance, N. R., (April, 2004). Science IDEAS: Integrating science and reading comprehension. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, San Francisco, CA.

International Conference Presentations

Vitale, M. R., & Romance, N. R. (October, 2005). The role of context in programmatic research design: AN interdisciplinary perspective. Presented to the Second International Conference on Foundations for Language and Science Literacy Research: Gold Standards of Quality Research in Science Literacy, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.

Romance, N. R., & Vitale, M. R. (October, 2002). Knowledge-based instructional models as a framework for developing ontological perspectives in science learning: Implications for research and practice in science teaching and learning. Paper presented at the First International Conference on Philosophical, Psychological, and Linguistic Foundations for Language and Science Literacy Research, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, M. R., & Dolan, M. (June, 2003). A research-based perspective for expanding time for teaching science in elementary schools: Implications for changing curricular policy and practice. Paper presented at the European Science Education Research Association, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands.

Romance, N. R., Vitale, M. R., Widergren, P., & Hameister, J. (May, 2002). Building content-area comprehension and literacy through an integrative curriculum strategy using reading, writing, and concept mapping strategies. Presented to the 12th European Conference on Reading. Dublin, Ireland.

Regional Conference Presentation

Romance, N. R., & Vitale, M. R. (2004). Understanding the problem of subject-matter reading comprehension: Why children are left behind at the secondary level. Paper presented to the Literacy in Teaching Conference, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL.

Newspaper Articles (on Project)

South Florida Sun Sentinel Section B, January 30, 2006

Boca Raton News October 4, 2004

1-Hour National Public Television Program Highlighting Project School

USDOE Education News Parents Can Use: Tuesday, May 17, 2005, Featured in: Science Education: Preparing Students for the Global Economy