The long-term effectiveness of the Writing to Read program
Mary Abouchaar Kurban, Pepperdine University, United States
Pepperdine University . Awarded
This study sought to determine if the Writing to Read (WTR) program has any long-term benefits on English language arts skills of students who have been in the program in kindergarten and first grade. WTR is a computer-based program that provides reading and writing instruction for students in kindergarten and first grade. In a WTR laboratory, a student cycles through five workstations, spending 15 minutes at each station. WTR teaches students to spell phonemically, rather than use correct spelling. WTR typically costs over $20,000 per laboratory. None of the studies cited by this researcher has attempted to find out whether WTR has a carryover effect on students' English language arts achievement that lasts as many as five years after they have completed the program in first grade, as this study sought to do.
The subjects of this study were sixth-grade students in four schools that are part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The sixth graders in two of these schools had been through WTR in kindergarten and first grade, while the sixth graders in the other two schools had never had the program. This study focused upon the scores of all these students on the Stanford Achievement Test Ninth Edition (SAT 9) in the areas of Reading Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Language Mechanics, Language Expression, and Spelling.
A comparison was made between the performance of the WTR group and that of the control group on each of these subtests of the SAT 9. This was done in two ways. The first was via an analysis of variance (ANOVA) conducted on each of these five subtests to detect any statistically significant differences in performance favoring the WTR group. The next was through a computation of the effect size for each of these subtests to uncover any educationally significant differences in performance favoring the WTR group. Neither the ANOVA nor the effect size computations revealed a significant difference in scores on any one of these subtests favoring the WTR group. It appears that WTR does not bestow any long-term advantage and that the substantial cost of establishing a WTR laboratory is not justified in schools belonging to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Kurban, M.A. The long-term effectiveness of the Writing to Read program. Ph.D. thesis, Pepperdine University.
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