A recent randomized evaluation funded by the Institute of Education Sciences investigated the effects of WordGen Elementary on students’ reading achievement. WordGen Elementary includes a curriculum with reading, writing, and speaking activities that aim to enhance students’ understanding and communication of academic language as well as improve their reading skills. The implementation of the program is supported by professional development for teachers.
The study involved 55 elementary schools in five states with a high percentage of English learners. Students were randomly assigned to receive WordGen Elementary or to continue with their regular practice. Reading achievement was measured using the Core Academic Language Skills Instrument (CALS-I), Gates-MacGinitie reading test (GMRT), and state ELA test.
Results after one year showed close to zero effects on CALS-I (ES = -0.06), GRMT (ES = -0.08), and the state ELA test (ES = -0.03) for both fourth and fifth graders. The study separately analyzed the results for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and for English Language Learners, finding effects similar to the ones of the full group.
Source (Open Access): Corrin, W., Zhu, P., Shih, M., Brown, K. T., Teres, J., Darrow, C., Nichols, A., & Lack, K. (2022). The Effects of an Academic Language Program on Student Reading Outcomes (NCEE 2022-007). U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education and Regional Assistance. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee .