Friday, January 06, 2006

One positive "i" in RTI research

Just so folks recognize that the spirit of my prior "Where is the 'I' in RTI?" post is grounded in a search for empirical answers, and not as another "test author" attempting to influence practitioners to not endorse the positive features of the RTI paradigm push in US special education policy circles, I'd like to share one successful "I" that I ran across recently. They do exist and practioners need to become aware of these good studies.

The study summarized below, which did employ random assignement of classes of students to treatments, is an optimistic sign for the development of empirically-based interventions, particulary for students with disabilities.

Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Prentice, K., Burch, M., Hamlett, C. L., Owen, R., & Schroeter, K. (2003). Enhancing third-grade students' mathematical problem solving with self-regulated learning strategies. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(2), 306-315.

  • The authors assessed the contribution of self-regulated learning strategies (SRL), when combined with problem-solving transfer instruction (L. S. Fuchs et al., 2003), on 3rd-graders' mathematical problem solving. SRL incorporated goal setting and self-evaluation. Problem-solving transfer instruction taught problem-solution methods, the meaning of transfer, and 4 superficial-problem features that change a problem without altering its type or solution; it also prompted metacognitive awareness to transfer. The authors contrasted the effectiveness of transfer plus SRL to the transfer treatment alone and to teacher-designed instruction. Twenty-four 3rd-grade teachers, with 395 students, were assigned randomly to conditions. Treatments were conducted for 16 weeks. Students were pre- and posttested on problem-solving tests and responded to a posttreatment questionnaire tapping self-regulation processes. SRL positively affected performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)
  • In an experimental investigation of the effects of self-regulated learning (SRL) strategy training on mathematical problem-solving (Fuchs, Fuchs, Prentice, Burch, Hamlett, Owen & Schroeter, 2003), 24 third-grade teachers were randomly assigned to three different treatment conditions (8 per condition—one condition being a control). Fuchs et al. (2003) reported that on both immediate- and near-transfer problem-solving measures, students in the problem-solving transfer treatment condition outperformed those in the control treatment. Effect sizes (ESs) were large, and ranged from 1.24 to 1.98 across different levels of initial (pre-intervention) achievement status. More importantly, the combined problem-solving transfer and SRL treatment produced stronger ESs that exceeded 2.00 standard deviations on immediate transfer, 1.81 to 2.40 on near-transfer, and between 0.81 and 1.17 on far transfer. The authors concluded that “whereas the problem-solving transfer treatment alone failed to promote reliable effects on the far-transfer measure (the most novel, and therefore truest, measure of mathematical problem solving in this study), the combination of problem-solving transfer and SRL succeeded in effecting this challenging outcome” (Fuchs et al., 2003, p. 313).
  • More importantly, Fuchs et al. (2003) reported comparable growth for the students with disabilities in the study, a group for whom learning transfer effects are often negligible. On immediate-transfer measures, ESs for students with disabilities (when compared to controls) were large: 1.07 for the transfer condition; 1.43 for the transfer plus SRL condition. Although the ESs failed to achieve statistical significance, Fuchs et al. (2003) considered the ESs of 0.95 (near-transfer) and 0.58 (far-transfer) to be “notable.”

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1 comment:

Sam H. Bouman said...

I am familier with the Fuches study and do agree that strategic instruction interventions with students does work- meta analysis studies also support the use of strategic and direct instruction interventions e.g., saches and saches-lee sp? The problem I think we are facing mostly with RTI is how are the general ed teachers going to implement massive undertaking? They have to track every student daily with data points and log everything using a spreadsheet. The teachers I know, and what I have read on blogs, are incredulous as to once again, they are stuck with holding the bag. Its "us" researchers who dream up this stuff and it is up to the frontline classroom teachers to make it work!! Wheres the money? Wheres the support staff? Wheres the small class sizes? I agree with them. Without the cash and support, it is quite the noble idea that will crash and burn with the next political wave. sb