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ERIC Number: ED566987
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
Impacts of a Discussion-Based Academic Language Program on Classroom Interactions in 4th through 7th Grades
LaRusso, Maria; Jones, Stephanie M.; Kim, Ha Yeon; Kim, James; Donovan, Suzanne; Snow, Catherine
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
This paper presents an exploratory analysis of treatment-control differences in the quality of classroom interactions in 4th through 7th grade urban classrooms. Word Generation (WG) is a research-based academic language program for middle school students designed to teach novel vocabulary and literacy through language arts, math, science, and social studies classes. Previous research found significant positive effects of WG on classroom discussion quality, and this study extends that work by examining whether specific classroom interactions that are integral to the WG program, such as those promoting analysis and inquiry or engaging adolescent perspectives, are higher quality in WG classrooms as compared to control classrooms. As part of the Institute of Education Sciences funded project "Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate" (CCDD), the data for this study were collected as part of the impact evaluation of Word Generation conducted with students in 4th through 7th grades in K-8 urban schools across two states. The sample includes approximately 3,671 students and is socio-demographically diverse, including 85% low-income, 39% Latino/a, with 35% white students in one district, and 91% low income and 76% black students in the second district. Classroom observations were conducted in approximately 130 classrooms in each wave of data collection. The quality of classroom interactions was coded by research assistants who were trained and certified as reliable in the Classroom Assessment Scoring System: CLASS-Upper Elementary. Results provide evidence that classrooms utilizing the Word Generation program are characterized by higher quality classroom interactions, including specific classroom interactions that reflect key program ingredients, such as the selection of content and activities that are meaningful to adolescents and the emphasis on analysis and reasoning. When schools were in the second year of program implementation there were also higher quality classroom interactions observed in WG teachers' classrooms when they were implementing other curricula, as compared to control classrooms, suggesting that changes in teachers' practices and classroom dynamics carried over into other parts of the school day when WG was not being implemented.
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: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)