The Poor Get Richer: Heterogeneity in the Efficacy of a School-Level Intervention for Academic Language

Lawrence, J. F., Francis, D., Paré-Blagoev, E.J., & Snow, C. E. (2017). The Poor Get Richer: Heterogeneity in the Efficacy of a School-Level Intervention for Academic Language. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness10(4), 767–793. https://doi.org/10.1080/19345747.2016.1237596 

https://doi.org/10.1080/19345747.2016.1237596

Abstract: We investigate the impact of a relatively brief cross-curricular intervention, Word Generation, on middle school students’ development of taught academic vocabulary. Students (n = 8382) in forty-four middle schools in three urban districts were randomly assigned to treatment or control conditions. Treatment teachers implemented the program with minimal support and varying levels of commitment. Students in treatment schools scored almost a point higher on the curriculum-based vocabulary posttests than those in control schools (Hedges’s g = 0.094, p < 0.05). Though there was no main treatment effect on the standardized measures of students’ general vocabulary knowledge or reading comprehension, baseline-by-treatment interactions at the school and student level acted to attenuate the Matthew Effect in reading and vocabulary growth.

Funders: This work was supported by the Institute of Educational Sciences [Grant number R305A090555]. https://ies.ed.gov

Related Links: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-016-9703-3

Related Paper(s): Hwang, J. K., Lawrence, J. F., & Snow, C. E. (2017). Defying expectations: Vocabulary growth trajectories of high performing language minority students. Reading and Writing30(4), 829–856.
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-016-9703-3