Effects of Distributed Professional Development Featuring Vocabulary and Comprehension Instruction on Fourth Grade Student Outcomes

Effects of Distributed Professional Development Featuring Vocabulary and Comprehension Instruction on Fourth Grade Student Outcomes

First Author: Elizabeth Swanson -- The University of Texas at Austin
Additional authors/chairs: 
Alicia Stewart
Keywords: Professional Development, Reading, Vocabulary, Comprehension, content area reading
Abstract / Summary: 

This presentation will focus on results from a multi-cohort randomized controlled trial conducted to examine the efficacy of a distributed professional development model featuring STRIVE—a set of vocabulary and reading comprehension instructional practices situated within fourth grade social studies. 81 schools were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a) researcher supported professional development, b) school supported professional development, and c) business as usual (BAU). Teachers in both treatment groups attended an initial workshop led by researchers prior to STRIVE implementation. The two follow up teacher study team meetings took place at 6-week intervals and were led by either researchers (i.e. researcher supported PD) or school based leaders (i.e. school supported PD).

Results indicate that teachers in both treatment conditions implemented more STRIVE components during social studies instruction than did teachers in the BAU condition. In addition, students in treatment teachers’ classrooms outperformed their peers in the BAU classrooms to a statistically significant level on measures of content knowledge (g = 0.81 to 0.83), vocabulary (g = 0.78), and content reading comprehension (g = 0.23 to 0.36). Students in all groups performed equally well on a standardized measure of reading comprehension. We will also present the predictive role of teacher quality and implementation fidelity on standardized reading comprehension outcomes.