Impact of Two Professional Development Interventions on Early Reading Instruction and Achievement Report
To help states and districts make informed decisions about the professional development (PD) they implement to improve reading instruction, the U.S. Department of Education commissioned the Early Reading PD Interventions Study to examine the impact of two research-based PD interventions for reading instruction: (1) a content-focused teacher institute series that began in the summer and continued through much of the school year (treatment A) and (2) the same institute series plus in-school coaching (treatment B). The study team consists of AIR, MDRC, and REDA International, Inc., who conducted the research activities, and Sopris West and the Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE), who delivered the teacher and coach PD.
The Early Reading PD Interventions Study used an experimental design to test the effectiveness of the two PD interventions in improving the knowledge and practice of teachers and the reading achievement of their students in high-poverty schools. It focused specifically on second grade reading because (1) this is the earliest grade in which enough districts collect the standardized reading assessment data needed for the study; and (2) later grades involve supplementary (pull out) instruction, which was outside the scope of the study. The study was implemented in 90 schools in six districts (a total of 270 teachers), with equal numbers of schools randomly assigned in each district to treatment A, treatment B, or the control group, which participated only in the usual PD offered by the district. This design allowed the study team to determine the impact of each of the two PD interventions by comparing each treatment group’s outcomes with those of the control group, and also to determine the impact of the coaching above and beyond the institute series by comparing treatment group B with treatment group A.
This report describes the implementation of the PD interventions tested, and examines their impacts at the end of the year the PD was delivered. In addition, we investigate the possible lagged effect of the interventions, based on outcomes data collected the year after the PD interventions concluded.