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ERIC Number: ED528410
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 13
The Effects of a Parsimonious Comprehension and Vocabulary Intervention on Student Learning
Hairrell, Angela; Vaughn, Sharon; Edmonds, Meaghan; Swanson, Elizabeth; Simmons, Deb; Larsen, Ross; Rupley, William; Willson, Victor
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
The purpose of this study was to examine the relative effects of the single-focus interventions (vocabulary and comprehension) and the streamlined multi-component model. The program of research included a development and pilot phase, an initial experimental study and a follow-up study to further refine and test the model. Results presented here are from the follow-up experimental study. Specific research questions were: (1) What are the effects of a comprehension-focused intervention and a vocabulary-focused intervention when compared to typical practice on measures of comprehension, social studies vocabulary and social studies content knowledge?; (2) What are the effects of the streamlined, parsimonious STRIVE model when compared to typical practice on student outcomes?; (3) What are the effects of the streamlined, parsimonious STRIVE model when compared to the single-focus (comprehension or vocabulary) intervention models?; and (4) What are teachers' perceptions of the STRIVE model's feasibility and practicality? In the 2006-2007 school year, a total of 49 fourth-grade social studies teachers and 883 students participated. Teachers were part of the comprehension (n = 17), vocabulary (n = 18) or comparison (n = 14) group. In the 2007-2008 school year, 45 fourth-grade social studies teachers and 527 students participated. Of the 35 teachers who participated in the STRIVE model, 17 were Experienced (receiving two years of professional development) and 18 were Novice (receiving one year of professional development). A historical control group of ten teachers and 192 students was used from the 2006-2007 school year. The results of this study reveal that a parsimonious comprehension and vocabulary intervention was effective. Initial focus on single-component instruction was designed to help students gain access to content-area text. When vocabulary and comprehension strategies were combined into a parsimonious intervention, students not only improved in vocabulary knowledge, but also in social studies content knowledge. Among the lessons learned were the difficulties of measuring student vocabulary and content-knowledge learning. Vocabulary measurement was a hurdle. Because of the conceptual nature of content vocabulary, the depth of understanding of a word may be just as important as the number of words known. Currently, standardized measures of content-area vocabulary are rare; and when available are not closely related to classroom curriculum. A second challenge was the measurement of content-knowledge acquisition. District-developed tests are often fact-based and limited in scope. Additionally, these tests are unable to measure incremental changes in content knowledge. A more basic issue is a lack of convergence of what content-knowledge should be taught, and therefore, assessed. References and Tables are appended. (Contains 2 tables.)
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 4; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Gates MacGinitie Reading Tests