Learning Strategies Curriculum: The Essay Test-Taking Strategy

Study: Therrien, Hughes, Kapelski, & Mokhtari (2009)

errien, W. J., Hughes, C. A., Kapelski, C. & Mokhtari, K. (2009). Effectiveness of an essay test-taking strategy on students with learning disabilities performance on persuasive essays. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42(1), 14-24.

Descriptive Information

Usage

Acquisition and Cost

Program Specifications and Requirements

Training

The Essay Test-Taking Strategy program was designed to help students deal effectively with the complex test-taking demands of courses in school, as well as the essay test-taking demands associated with state competency tests, high-stakes tests, and college entrance exams. The strategy requires students to analyze the essay question to determine what information is required and what kinds of relationships need to be expressed related to the information. Next, students organize information they know into a brief outline listing main ideas, details, and the sequence in which their ideas will be covered. They then write their answer using a structure that includes an introduction and sentences or paragraphs about the main ideas in the outline. Finally, they revise the answer and edit it to create a final product.

The Essay Test-Taking Strategy program is intended for students in grades 6-12, particularly students with learning disabilities and those at risk of academic failure.

Where to obtain:

Edge Enterprises, Inc., PO Box 1304, Lawrence, KS 66044

Phone Number: 785-749-1473

Website:  www.edgeenterprisesinc.com

Cost: $14 per teacher

This program is published in book form. It is contained in a single paperback book. The book contains step-by-step instructions on how to implement the program, learning sheets for students, and all the materials needed to implement the program.

It is recommended that the Essay Test-Taking Strategy program be used with individual students or small groups.

The Essay Test-Taking Strategy program is administered for 45 minutes per session, four times a week for at least two weeks.

The program includes a highly specified teacher’s manual.

Technology is not required for implementation.

Instructors may be teachers or support staff. The program does not assume that the instructor has expertise in a given area.

Instructors are trained in a three-hour workshop with other teachers. The workshop includes lecture, demonstrations, discussion, practice activities, and planning for implementation.

Instructors can obtain support through the KU-CRL (785-864-4780) and the International Network of Certified Professional Developers associated with the KU-CRL.

 

Participants: Convincing Evidence

Sample size: 42 sevenths and eighths grade students. The sample was comprised of 21 program students and 21 control students.

Risk Status: All students were identified as having a learning disability via a discrepancy model following state of Ohio guidelines.

Demographics:

 

Program Number

Program Percentage

Control Number

Control Percentage

Cox Index

Grade level

  Kindergarten

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 1

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 2

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 3

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 4

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 5

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 6

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 7

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 8

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 9

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 10

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 11

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 12

 

 

 

 

 

Race-ethnicity

  African-American

 

 

 

 

 

  American Indian

 

 

 

 

 

  Asian/Pacific Islander

 

 

 

 

 

  Hispanic

 

 

 

 

 

  White

 

 

 

 

 

  Other

 

 

 

 

 

Socioeconomic status

  Subsidized lunch

 

 

 

 

 

  No subsidized lunch

 

 

 

 

 

Disability status

  Speech-language impairments

 

 

 

 

 

  Learning disabilities

21

100

21

100

0.00 

  Behavior disorders

 

 

 

 

 

  Mental retardation

 

 

 

 

 

  Other

 

 

 

 

 

  Not identified with a disability

 

 

 

 

 

ELL status

  English language learner

 

 

 

 

 

  Not English language learner

 

 

 

 

 

Gender

Female

7

33

8

38

0.13

Male

14

67

13

62

0.13

Training of Instructors: The instructor was a graduate student who had earned a Master's Degree in reading education. He was a certified teacher and had taught high school language arts. He read the instructor's manual and was trained by the first author to implement the instruction.

Design: Convincing Evidence

Did the study use random assignment? Yes

If not, was it a tenable quasi-experiment? NA

If the study used random assignment, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures used as covariates or on pretest measures also used as outcomes? Yes

If not, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures central to the study (i.e., pretest measures also used as outcomes), and outcomes were analyzed to adjust for pretreatment differences? NA

Were the program and control groups demographically comparable at pretreatment? No

Was there attrition bias1? No

Did the unit of analysis match the unit for random assignment (for randomized studies) or the assignment strategy (for quasi-experiments)? Yes

 

1 NCII follows guidance from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in determining attrition bias. The WWC model for determining bias based on a combination of differential and overall attrition rates can be found on pages 13-14 of this document: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/reference_resources/wwc_procedures_v2_1_standards_handbook.pdf

Fidelity of Implementation: Partially Convincing Evidence

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained: Two graduate students observed the instruction and independently recorded the implementation or omission of each step in a list of steps for the program during 100% of the instructional sessions. Agreements between the two scorers were tallied. The number of agreements was divided by the total number of agreements possible.

Provide documentation (i.e., in terms of numbers) of fidelity of treatment implementation: The percentage of agreement was 97.5% with a range of 87.5% to 100% per session.

Measures Targeted: Partially Convincing Evidence

Measures Broader: Convincing Evidence

Targeted Measure

Reliability Statistics

Relevance to Program Instructional Content

Exposure to Related Content Among Control Group

Strategy specific measure

Correlations between scorers’ records were .79 on the pretest and .883 on the posttest. (See Table 3 on page 20.)

This measure was closely aligned with the essay planning and writing behaviors that were taught to the students in the treatment group.

During the time the treatment group was receiving instruction, the control group completed four essays in order to control for a practice effect.

 

Broader  Measure

Reliability Statistics

Relevance to Program Instructional Content

Exposure to Related Content Among Control Group

General essay measure- sections not aligned with strategy

Correlations were calculated between the scorers. They were .915 for the pretest and .925 for the posttest.

This measure was used to determine the effects of the program on students' general essay performance not aligned with the behaviors targeted by the strategy taught.

The control group was asked to complete four essays during the time that the treatment group was involved in instruction to control for practice effects.

General essay measure-sections aligned with strategy

Correlations derived by comparing the two scorer's records were .94 for the pretests and .955 for the posttest for sections aligned with the strategy and .915 and .925 for sections not aligned with the strategy.

This broader measure was not developed by the authors of this study. It was used to show whether the students' essay performance improved in a general way from pretest to posttest.

The control group completed four essays during the time that the treatment group was receiving instruction to control for practice effects.

 

Number of Outcome Measures: 3 Essay Writing

Mean ES - Targeted: 1.64*

Mean ES - Broader: Data Unavailable*

Effect Size:

Targeted Measures

Construct

Measure

Effect Size

Writing

Strategy specific measure

1.64***

 

Broader Measures

Construct

Measure

Effect Size

Writing

General Essay Measure- Sections not aligned with strategy

Writing

General essay measure-sections aligned with strategy

0.65*

 

Key

*        p ≤ .05

**      p ≤ .01

***    p ≤ .001

–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCII to calculate effect sizes

u      Effect size is based on unadjusted means

†      Effect size based on unadjusted means not reported due to lack of pretest group equivalency, and effect size based on adjusted means is not available

 

Visual Analysis (Single Subject Design): N/A

Disaggregated Data for Demographic Subgroups: No

Disaggregated Data for <20th Percentile: No

Administration Group Size: Individual, Small Groups , (n=3-7)

Duration of Intervention: 45 minutes, 4 times a week, 2+ weeks

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: Professional, 3 hours of training required

Reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA: No

What Works Clearinghouse Review

This program was not reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse.

 

Evidence for ESSA

This program was not reviewed by Evidence for ESSA.

Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 3 studies

Woods-Groves, S., Therrien, W. J., Hua, Y., Hendrickson, J. M., Shaw, J. W., & Hughes, C. A. (2012). Effectiveness of an essay writing strategy for post-secondary students with developmental disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 47(2), 210-222.

Woods-Groves, S., Therrien, W. J., Hua, Y., & Hendrickson, J. M. (2013). Essay-Writing Strategy for students enrolled in a postsecondary program for individuals with developmental disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 34(3), 131-141.

Woods-Groves, S., Hua, Y., Therrien, W. J., Kaldenberg, E. R., Hendrickson, J. M., Lucas, K. G., & McAninch, M. J. (2014). An investigation of strategic writing instruction for post- secondary students with developmental disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 49(2), 248-262.