Panel Paper: Studying Implementation of the Denver Public Schools Collaborative Strategic Reading i3 Grant

Friday, November 8, 2013 : 1:35 PM
DuPont Ballroom G (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jose Blackorby, SRI
Denver Public Schools (DPS) won an Investing in Innovation (i3) Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) validation grant from the U.S. Department of Education in spring 2010. The project, now called CSR  Colorado, was launched in fall 2010 with professional development,  research, and evaluation expertise provided by DPS partners at the  University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder).

CSR is intended to help students from diverse backgrounds develop metacognitive awareness  and learn four specific strategies associated with enhanced reading  comprehension: Preview—brainstorming (i.e., connecting with prior  knowledge) and predicting or setting purposes for reading; Click and  clunk—monitoring understanding and taking steps to figure out unknown  words or confusing ideas; Get the gist—determining main ideas and gist statements; Wrap-up—generating questions and reviewing key ideas or  summarizing. In the i3 project, CSR is implemented in participating schools through a program of summer and ongoing professional  development provided for teachers by CU-Boulder. After completing training, teachers are expected to implement CSR 45 minutes per week  in their social studies and science classes. Students participating in  CSR thus receive a total of 90 minutes weekly.

The evaluation design utilizes a within teacher random assignment of social studies and science teacher pairs to construct experimental contrasts. CSR implementation was measured through: Teachers’ self-reports,  through an online database, of the number of minutes spent each week  implementing CSR; Data from classroom observations of CSR  implementation collected by CU-Boulder researchers and analyzed by SRI  researchers; Students’ response to questions designed to measure  familiarity of terms unique to CSR collected at the end of the  2011-2012 school year by SRI researchers; and teachers’ response to  questions about CSR implementation collected through their completion  of an online survey at the end of the school year. In addition, DPS teacher evaluation system called LEAP was piloted during the 2011-12  school year.

 The choices of instruments were intended to make use of existing efforts to the extent possible, connect to prior work in CSR, and to conserve financial resources. These represent important advantages of  the approach. On the other hand, there were disadvantages of not having instruments specifically designed for the evaluation as well.  Instruments were designed for other purposes (e.g., teacher evaluation) were changed over time and proved difficult to coordinate additional observations required in both experimental conditions.