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An Illuminative Evaluation of Two Models of Reading Intervention Used in Middle Schools

Tachier Tish M Rezac, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Intervention research often investigates the curriculum or methods used to support learners, while less attention is given to the model of those interventions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of two models of reading intervention, and to better understand how they are serving middle school students. Working from a critical pragmatic lens, I employed illuminative evaluation methods to investigate three research questions: (a) What are the demographic profiles of students enrolled in reading intervention in grades seven and eight; (b) What are the differences in gains for students enrolled in the traditional intervention and reading lab intervention classes; and (c) How do students perceive the value of inclusion in reading intervention courses in grades seven and eight? I used descriptive statistics to study the demographic make-up of students enrolled in each model. I investigated archival summary data from MAP Reading Conditional Growth Index scores, employing independent-samples t-tests and analyses of variance to compare student growth from fall to winter results. Using archival summary data from an end-of-year student perception survey, I analyzed data to identify patterns and differences in student responses. The results indicate students in this district’s reading intervention courses mirror those from other districts across the nation, where larger proportions of students of color, males, and students participating in the free and reduced meal plans are enrolled in reading intervention. Statistically significant differences were found on MAP fall to winter growth scores, with students in the reading labs achieving significantly below expected growth. No statistically significant differences were found in student responses to the end-of-year survey, though important student perceptions were revealed. The information from this study can inform decision-makers as they select an intervention model to employ. This study illuminates some of the iatrogenic outcomes of our current system for middle school reading intervention, and calls into question how we might develop better ways of supporting our below-grade level readers in middle schools.

Subject Area

Reading instruction|Middle School education|Educational evaluation

Recommended Citation

Rezac, Tachier Tish M, "An Illuminative Evaluation of Two Models of Reading Intervention Used in Middle Schools" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI30696419.