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Key Findings

Overall, 63 experimental-control comparisons met the inclusion criteria, of which 19 used random assignment to treatments. Effect sizes (experimental-control differences as a proportion of a standard deviation) were averaged across studies, weighting by sample size.

Reading Curricula (Curr). Studies of reading curricula found minimal effects of using particular textbooks. Mean weighted effect size across 7 studies: +0.12.

Instructional Technology (IT). Studies of IT also found minimal effects. Mean weighted effect size across 13 studies: +0.09.

Instructional Process Programs (IP). Studies of programs that provide extensive professional development to help teachers use well-specified teaching methods had relatively positive effects overall. Mean weighted effect size across 17 studies: +0.37. Particularly positive effects were found for cooperative learning (ES=+0.46), phonics-focused professional development (ES=+0.43), and teaching of phonological awareness to kindergartners (ES=+0.22 at the end of first or second grades).

Combined Curriculum and Instructional Process Programs (Curr & IP). Programs that combine innovative phonetic materials with extensive professional development for teachers found positive effects overall. In particular, positive effects were found for Success for All (ES=+0.29 in 23 studies).




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