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New Study on Reading Instruction

Posted on 01/12/2011

OVAE Connection

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has recently published a report on the topic of the Impact of a Reading Intervention for Low-Literate Adult ESL Learners.

The stated goal of the report was to “help improve research-based knowledge of effective instruction for low-literate ESL adults” as well as to test a new approach of improving the literacy skills of low-literate adult ESL learners.

The report used data collected from 1,137 adult ESL learners in two cohorts across ten sites in four states. Adult ESL teachers and learners were assigned by lottery to either classrooms using the basal reader Sam and Pat, Volume I, or classrooms using the site's usual curriculum.  The research questions posed included:

  • How effective is instruction based on the Sam and Pat textbook in improving the English reading and language skills of low-literate adult ESL learners compared to instruction normally provide in adult ESL literacy classes
  • Is Sam and Pat effective for certain subgroups of students?
  • Is there a relationship between the amount of instruction in reading or English language skills and reading and English language outcomes?

The conclusions of the report included:

  • Students made gains, but there were no overall impacts of Sam and Pat on student's reading and English language skills.
  • While there were no impacts of Sam and Pat on reading and English language outcomes for 5 or 6 subgroups, for student with relatively lower levels of literacy at the start of the study, there was some suggestive evidence of a positive impact on reading outcomes.
  • More reading was observed in Sam and Pat classes, while more English language instruction was observed in control classes.

See the Executive Summary or the full report here: Impact of a Reading Intervention for Low-Literate Adult ESL Learners.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.