Tutoring Buddy
Study: DuBois et al. (2014)

Summary

This evidence-based intervention aims to improve early literacy skills.

Target Grades:
Age 3-5, K, 1
Target Populations:
  • Any student at risk for academic failure
Area(s) of Focus:
  • Print knowledge/awareness
  • Alphabet knowledge
  • Phonological awareness
Where to Obtain:
Twin Lights Education, LLC
6 Oakland Ave., Rockport, MA 01966
617-602-5626
www.twinlightsed.com
Initial Cost:
$39.00 per student
Replacement Cost:
Contact vendor for pricing details.

Use of the system including the iOS app, web app, and online training materials and support is $399 per year per grade-level in the school. An entire school can use the program for $499 per year- the number of students and number of sessions is unlimited.

Staff Qualified to Administer Include:
  • Special Education Teacher
  • General Education Teacher
  • Reading Specialist
  • Math Specialist
  • EL Specialist
  • Interventionist
  • Student Support Services Personnel (e.g., counselor, social worker, school psychologist, etc.)
  • Paraprofessional
  • Other: Tutoring Buddy was designed to be completed by laypeople.
Training Requirements:
1-4 hours of training

Training can be accomplished via our web-based or in app training materials. It involves reading the procedures, and practicing the pronunciation of each letter sound. Correct pronunciation is modeled by the software.


The training materials we now have are prettier versions of our original training materials. These were used with both graduate research assistants and parents.

Access to Technical Support:
Practitioners receive an email address and calls are answered within 24 hours by one of the two developers.
Recommended Administration Formats Include:
  • Individual students
Minimum Number of Minutes Per Session:
5
Minimum Number of Sessions Per Week:
3
Minimum Number of Weeks:
6
Detailed Implementation Manual or Instructions Available:
Yes
Is Technology Required?

Program Information

Descriptive Information

Please provide a description of program, including intended use:

This evidence-based intervention aims to improve early literacy skills.

The program is intended for use in the following age(s) and/or grade(s).

not selected Age 0-3
selected Age 3-5
selected Kindergarten
selected First grade
not selected Second grade
not selected Third grade
not selected Fourth grade
not selected Fifth grade
not selected Sixth grade
not selected Seventh grade
not selected Eighth grade
not selected Ninth grade
not selected Tenth grade
not selected Eleventh grade
not selected Twelth grade


The program is intended for use with the following groups.

not selected Students with disabilities only
not selected Students with learning disabilities
not selected Students with intellectual disabilities
not selected Students with emotional or behavioral disabilities
not selected English language learners
selected Any student at risk for academic failure
not selected Any student at risk for emotional and/or behavioral difficulties
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

ACADEMIC INTERVENTION: Please indicate the academic area of focus.

Early Literacy

selected Print knowledge/awareness
selected Alphabet knowledge
selected Phonological awareness
not selected Phonological awarenessEarly writing
not selected Early decoding abilities
not selected Other

If other, please describe:

Language

not selected Expressive and receptive vocabulary
not selected Grammar
not selected Syntax
not selected Listening comprehension
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Reading

not selected Phonological awareness
not selected Phonics/word study
not selected Comprehension
not selected Fluency
not selected Vocabulary
not selected Spelling
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Mathematics

not selected Computation
not selected Concepts and/or word problems
not selected Whole number arithmetic
not selected Comprehensive: Includes computation/procedures, problem solving, and mathematical concepts
not selected Algebra
not selected Fractions, decimals (rational number)
not selected Geometry and measurement
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Writing

not selected Handwriting
not selected Spelling
not selected Sentence construction
not selected Planning and revising
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION: Please indicate the behavior area of focus.

Externalizing Behavior

not selected Physical Aggression
not selected Verbal Threats
not selected Property Destruction
not selected Noncompliance
not selected High Levels of Disengagement
not selected Disruptive Behavior
not selected Social Behavior (e.g., Peer interactions, Adult interactions)
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Internalizing Behavior

not selected Depression
not selected Anxiety
not selected Social Difficulties (e.g., withdrawal)
not selected School Phobia
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Acquisition and cost information

Where to obtain:

Address
6 Oakland Ave., Rockport, MA 01966
Phone Number
617-602-5626
Website
www.twinlightsed.com

Initial cost for implementing program:

Cost
$39.00
Unit of cost
student

Replacement cost per unit for subsequent use:

Cost
Unit of cost
Duration of license

Additional cost information:

Describe basic pricing plan and structure of the program. Also, provide information on what is included in the published program, as well as what is not included but required for implementation (e.g., computer and/or internet access)

Use of the system including the iOS app, web app, and online training materials and support is $399 per year per grade-level in the school. An entire school can use the program for $499 per year- the number of students and number of sessions is unlimited.

Program Specifications

Setting for which the program is designed.

selected Individual students
not selected Small group of students
not selected BI ONLY: A classroom of students

If group-delivered, how many students compose a small group?

  

Program administration time

Minimum number of minutes per session
5
Minimum number of sessions per week
3
Minimum number of weeks
6
not selected N/A (implemented until effective)

If intervention program is intended to occur over less frequently than 60 minutes a week for approximately 8 weeks, justify the level of intensity:

Does the program include highly specified teacher manuals or step by step instructions for implementation?
Yes

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION: Is the program affiliated with a broad school- or class-wide management program?

If yes, please identify and describe the broader school- or class-wide management program:

Does the program require technology?
Yes

If yes, what technology is required to implement your program?
not selected Computer or tablet
not selected Internet connection
not selected Other technology (please specify)

If your program requires additional technology not listed above, please describe the required technology and the extent to which it is combined with teacher small-group instruction/intervention:
Tutoring Buddy runs native on the iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), but also runs as a mobile enabled web-app that can be run on any computer or tablet.

Training

How many people are needed to implement the program ?

Is training for the instructor or interventionist required?
Yes
If yes, is the necessary training free or at-cost?

Describe the time required for instructor or interventionist training:
1-4 hours of training

Describe the format and content of the instructor or interventionist training:
Training can be accomplished via our web-based or in app training materials. It involves reading the procedures, and practicing the pronunciation of each letter sound. Correct pronunciation is modeled by the software.

What types or professionals are qualified to administer your program?

selected Special Education Teacher
selected General Education Teacher
selected Reading Specialist
selected Math Specialist
selected EL Specialist
selected Interventionist
selected Student Support Services Personnel (e.g., counselor, social worker, school psychologist, etc.)
not selected Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
selected Paraprofessional
selected Other

If other, please describe:

Tutoring Buddy was designed to be completed by laypeople.
Does the program assume that the instructor or interventionist has expertise in a given area?
No   

If yes, please describe: 


Are training manuals and materials available?
Yes

Describe how the training manuals or materials were field-tested with the target population of instructors or interventionist and students:
The training materials we now have are prettier versions of our original training materials. These were used with both graduate research assistants and parents.

Do you provide fidelity of implementation guidance such as a checklist for implementation in your manual?
Yes

Can practitioners obtain ongoing professional and technical support?
Yes

If yes, please specify where/how practitioners can obtain support:

Practitioners receive an email address and calls are answered within 24 hours by one of the two developers.

Summary of Evidence Base

Please identify, to the best of your knowledge, all the research studies that have been conducted to date supporting the efficacy of your program, including studies currently or previously submitted to NCII for review. Please provide citations only (in APA format); do not include any descriptive information on these studies. NCII staff will also conduct a search to confirm that the list you provide is accurate.

DuBois, M. R., Volpe, R. J., & Hemphill, E. M. (2014). A randomized trial of a computer-assisted tutoring program targeting letter sound expression via incremental rehearsal. School Psychology Review, 43, 210-221.

Study Information

Study Citations

DuBois, M. R., Volpe, R. J. & Hemphill, E. M. (2014). A randomized trial of a computer-assisted tutoring program targeting letter sound expression via incremental rehearsal. School Psychology Review, 43() 210-221.

Participants Empty Bobble

Describe how students were selected to participate in the study:
We asked all kindergarten and 1st grade teachers in one of our local schools to nominate students for the study. Teachers were asked to nominate students that were in need of an intervention targeting letter sound knowledge.

Describe how students were identified as being at risk for academic failure (AI) or as having emotional or behavioral difficulties (BI):
Teacher nomination

ACADEMIC INTERVENTION: What percentage of participants were at risk, as measured by one or more of the following criteria:
  • below the 30th percentile on local or national norm, or
  • identified disability related to the focus of the intervention?
%

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION: What percentage of participants were at risk, as measured by one or more of the following criteria:
  • emotional disability label,
  • placed in an alternative school/classroom,
  • non-responsive to Tiers 1 and 2, or
  • designation of severe problem behaviors on a validated scale or through observation?
%

Specify which condition is the submitted intervention:
Tutoring Buddy

Specify which condition is the control condition:
We used a wait-list control

If you have a third, competing condition, in addition to your control and intervention condition, identify what the competing condition is (data from this competing condition will not be used):
N/A

Using the tables that follow, provide data demonstrating comparability of the program group and control group in terms of demographics.

Grade Level

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
Age less than 1
Age 1
Age 2
Age 3
Age 4
Age 5 5 4 0.17
Kindergarten 6 6 0.00
Grade 1 9 9 0.00
Grade 2 0 0 0.00
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
Grade 7
Grade 8
Grade 9
Grade 10
Grade 11
Grade 12

Race–Ethnicity

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
African American 5 2 0.72
American Indian
Asian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic 10 13 0.72
White
Other

Socioeconomic Status

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
Subsidized Lunch
No Subsidized Lunch

Disability Status

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
Speech-Language Impairments
Learning Disabilities
Behavior Disorders
Emotional Disturbance
Intellectual Disabilities
Other
Not Identified With a Disability

ELL Status

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
English Language Learner 10 8 0.36
Not English Language Learner 5 7 0.36

Gender

Demographic Program
Number
Control
Number
Effect Size: Cox Index
for Binary Differences
Female 4 10 1.03
Male 11 5 1.03

Mean Effect Size

0.44

For any substantively (e.g., effect size ≥ 0.25 for pretest or demographic differences) or statistically significant (e.g., p < 0.05) pretest differences between groups in the descriptions below, please describe the extent to which these differences are related to the impact of the treatment. For example, if analyses were conducted to determine that outcomes from this study are due to the intervention and not demographic characteristics, please describe the results of those analyses here.

Differences between groups at pre-test were small and not statistically significant.

Design Half Bobble

What method was used to determine students' placement in treatment/control groups?
Random
Please describe the assignment method or the process for defining treatment/comparison groups.
By use of a random number generator, 15 students were assigned to the treatment group. The remaining 15 students were assigned to the wait-list control group and received intervention on completion of the study.

What was the unit of assignment?
Students
If other, please specify:

Please describe the unit of assignment:

What unit(s) were used for primary data analysis?
not selected Schools
not selected Teachers
selected Students
not selected Classes
not selected Other
If other, please specify:

Please describe the unit(s) used for primary data analysis:

Fidelity of Implementation Half Bobble

How was the program delivered?
selected Individually
not selected Small Group
not selected Classroom

If small group, answer the following:

Average group size
Minimum group size
Maximum group size

What was the duration of the intervention (If duration differed across participants, settings, or behaviors, describe for each.)?

Weeks
2.00
Sessions per week
4.00
Duration of sessions in minutes
5.00
What were the background, experience, training, and ongoing support of the instructors or interventionists?
Graduate school psychology students were trained by the first author during a 1-hour training session. All achieved the criterion of reaching 100% on a fidelity checklist prior to implementation of the IV. Treatment integrity was high throughout the study.

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained.
Treatment integrity data were gathered using a 22-item procedural checklist that was completed by a graduate student observing the interventionist. These data were collected during 42% of intervention sessions. Treatment integrity was calculated by dividing the number of components observed by the total number of steps.

What were the results on the fidelity-of-treatment implementation measure?
The average integrity score across all intervention components was 99%.

Was the fidelity measure also used in control classrooms?
N/A

Measures and Results

Measures Targeted : Full Bobble
Measures Broader : Full Bobble

Study measures are classified as targeted, broader, or administrative data according to the following definitions:

  • Targeted measures
    Assess outcomes, such as competencies or skills that the program was directly targeted to improve.
    • In the academic domain, targeted measures typically are not the very items taught but rather novel items structured similarly to the content addressed in the program. For example, if a program taught word-attack skills, a targeted measure would be decoding of pseudo words. If a program taught comprehension of cause-effect passages, a targeted measure would be answering questions about cause-effect passages structured similarly to those used during intervention, but not including the very passages used for intervention.
    • In the behavioral domain, targeted measures evaluate aspects of external or internal behavior the program was directly targeted to improve and are operationally defined.
  • Broader measures
    Assess outcomes that are related to the competencies or skills targeted by the program but not directly taught in the program.
    • In the academic domain, if a program taught word-level reading skill, a broader measure would be answering questions about passages the student reads. If a program taught calculation skill, a broader measure would be solving word problems that require the same kinds of calculation skill taught in the program.
    • In the behavioral domain, if a program taught a specific skill like on-task behavior in one classroom, a broader measure would be academic performance in that setting or on-task behavior in another setting.
  • Administrative data measures apply only to behavioral intervention tools and are measures such as office discipline referrals (ODRs) and graduation rates which do not have psychometric properties as do other, more traditional targeted or broader measures.

Click here for more information on effect size.


What populations are you submitting outcome data for?
not selected Full sample
not selected Students at or below the 20th percentile
not selected English language learners
not selected Racial/ethnic subgroups
not selected Economically disadvantaged students (low socioeconomic status)
Targeted Measure Reverse Coded? Reliability Relevance Exposure
Broader Measure Reverse Coded? Reliability Relevance Exposure
Administrative Data Measure Reverse Coded? Relevance

Posttest Data

Targeted Measures (Full Sample)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Broader Measures (Full Sample)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Administrative Measures (Full Sample)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Targeted Measures (Subgroups)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Broader Measures (Subgroups)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P

Administrative Measures (Subgroups)

Measure Sample Type Effect Size P
For any substantively (e.g., effect size ≥ 0.25 for pretest or demographic differences) or statistically significant (e.g., p < 0.05) pretest differences, please describe the extent to which these differences are related to the impact of the treatment. For example, if analyses were conducted to determine that outcomes from this study are due to the intervention and not pretest characteristics, please describe the results of those analyses here.
Please explain any missing data or instances of measures with incomplete pre- or post-test data.
If you have excluded a variable or data that are reported in the study being submitted, explain the rationale for exclusion:
Describe the analyses used to determine whether the intervention produced changes in student outcomes:
Treatment effects were evaluated via a 2-level multi-level model. Separate analyses were performed for each dependent measure wherein slope and intercept (follow-up time point) were modeled for each student. Group parameters were modeled at level 2.

Additional Research

Is the program reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA?
E-ESSA
Summary of WWC / E-ESSA Findings :

What Works Clearinghouse Review

This program was not reivewed by What Works Clearinghouse.

 

Evidence for ESSA

No studies considered met Evidence for ESSA's inclusion requirements.

How many additional research studies are potentially eligible for NCII review?
0
Citations for Additional Research Studies :

Data Collection Practices

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