Meadows Center Researchers Complete Large-Scale Study with More Than 200 Teachers Across Texas

A team of researchers from The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) is pleased to announce the successful completion of a large-scale randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in 81 schools throughout six school districts in Central and South Texas. The researchers worked closely with more than 200 teachers to study the effects of a distributed professional development (PD) model designed to help teachers implement reading comprehension and vocabulary practices in fourth grade social studies classes.

The professional development model known as Strategies for Reading Information and Vocabulary Effectively (STRIVE), is a fully developed set of evidence-based practices for content area instruction with upper-elementary students. More than 4,700 students participated and results from the RCT found that STRIVE students significantly outperformed students receiving typical social studies instruction on tests of content knowledge, vocabulary and comprehension; and this was also true for students with disabilities and English learners.

The success of this trial is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the school districts and teachers that participated in collaboration with the research team to advance this important project.

“The partnership between the UT Austin researchers and the teachers throughout the participating school districts was very productive and enjoyable. It was amazing to work with such a dedicated group of teachers across Central and South Texas,” said Elizabeth Swanson, research professor in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin and a principal investigator of the study.

Results of the study also found that professional development conducted “for teachers by teachers” was equally effective as PD conducted by researchers, providing evidence that workshops coupled with teacher study teams led by local school personnel can have a statistically significant, positive influence on student reading outcomes.

The full results of the study were recently published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. The study’s success highlights the power of shared resources and the importance of evidence-based practice in education.

About The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) was created in 2008 with a major commitment from the Meadows Foundation. As part of the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin, MCPER has assembled a unique group of experts in mathematics, STEM, reading, writing, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, bilingual education, special education and early childhood. We support educators with practical knowledge and tools, rooted in high-quality research, to improve outcomes for all students, especially those at risk.