READING CATCH-UP PROJECT: THE IMPACT OF AN 11-WEEK TEACHER SUPPORT PROGRAMME ON PUPIL READING PROFICIENCY
Last registered on June 16, 2014

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
READING CATCH-UP PROJECT: THE IMPACT OF AN 11-WEEK TEACHER SUPPORT PROGRAMME ON PUPIL READING PROFICIENCY
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000405
Initial registration date
June 16, 2014
Last updated
June 16, 2014 5:53 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Department of Basic Education, South African Government
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, South African government
PI Affiliation
University of Witwatersrand
PI Affiliation
University of Witwatersrand
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2014-04-08
End date
2014-06-27
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We are undertaking a randomised controlled trial of a Reading Catch-Up Programme amongst fourth grade pupils in South Africa. The study will evaluate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of an eleven week programme which focuses on improving the performance of fourth grade students in English, which is the second language for the majority of targeted students. The study will be conducted in the Pinetown district of KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa.

As is the case for the majority of students in South Africa, those in the targeted schools experience a transition in the language of instruction at the fourth grade. In grades 1 through 3 most schools teach in the Home Language of students (isiZulu in the case of Pinetown) and then transition to English as language of instruction in grade 4. Research has demonstrated that most South African children in poor communities have accumulated large learning deficits in English proficiency by the fourth grade (Taylor, 2011).

The intervention consists of three components: scripted lesson plans, additional reading resources and in-class instructional coaching and training. The study randomly assigned 40 schools to the treatment group and 60 schools to the control group. Baseline testing was conducted between the 8th of April and the 18th of April 2014. Follow-up testing will be administered between the 17th of June and the 27th of June 2014. This study has the potential to contribute significant policy insights with regard to the value and efficacy of large-scale remediation strategies in the public school sector.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Fleish, Brahm et al. 2014. "READING CATCH-UP PROJECT: THE IMPACT OF AN 11-WEEK TEACHER SUPPORT PROGRAMME ON PUPIL READING PROFICIENCY." AEA RCT Registry. June 16. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/405/history/1907
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention consists of three components: scripted lesson plans, additional reading resources and in-class instructional coaching and training.

The scripted lesson plans provide specification of the new instructional practice including faster paced instruction, more appropriately sequenced content, and dramatically expanded pedagogic repertoires. Specifically in primary school teaching reading in the First Additional Language, the new expanded repertoires include systematic teaching of phonemic awareness and phonics; strategies that focus on increased reading speeds or fluency; guided reading strategies; vocabulary development and strategies that improve comprehension.

The role of the learning materials is to provide the appropriate resources to ensure that learners are able to develop and consolidate knowledge and skills related to reading fluency, vocabulary development and guided reading. Twelve sets of graded reading books are provided.

The role of in-class support is to fuse capacity-building and accountability. The in-class support allows for modelling of the new practice on site and the gradual development of teachers in the new practice from novice to expert. The in-class support also allows teachers to manage the emotional labour, i.e. stress, insecurity and anxiety associated with developing a new professional practice mid-career. Finally, the in-class support allows for the development of professional accountability (rather than bureaucratic or performance accountability) in an environment of trust. There are 5 scheduled visits to each school from a specialist reading coach over the 11-week period.
Intervention Start Date
2014-04-08
Intervention End Date
2014-06-26
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome of interest is pupil achievement in a literacy test.

We also examine outcomes in each of five literacy domains evaluated in the literacy test: Spelling, Comprehension, Language, writing and Picture Comprehension

We also examine changes in various intermediate outcomes such as teacher attitudes and classroom practices.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The study randomly assigned 40 schools to the treatment group and 60 schools to the control group. Baseline testing was conducted between the 8th of April and the 18th of April 2014. Follow-up testing will be administered between the 17th of June and the 27th of June 2014.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was conducted using a computerized lottery. STATA was the statistical package used.
Randomization Unit
Randomization was done at the school level. We selected all grade 4 pupils in 40 randomly chosen schools for treatment.

Within all treatment and control schools, we randomly sampled 28 grade 4 pupils per school for testing. All pupils were sampled for testing if fewer than 28 grade 4 pupils were attending. If there were only a few more than 28 grade 4 pupils in a school we also sampled all pupils, so as not to exclude a few pupils.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
100 Schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
2800 pupils
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
40 Treatment schools, 60 Control schools
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our estimated Minimum Detectable Effect Size is 0.22 standard deviations in literacy test scores. This assumes a power of 80%, an alpha value of 95%, a cluster size of 28 pupils, a correlation between pre-test and post-test scores of 0.7, and an Intra Class Correlation Coefficient of 0.24. It is based on a ratio of control-to-treatment groups of 1.5.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Committee (Education), Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand
IRB Approval Date
2014-05-14
IRB Approval Number
2014EC017S
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Pre-Analysis plan Reading Catch Up Program South Africa.pdf

MD5: 89ea0d803ec875db04eb9a75fc3d869d

SHA1: d64a06ca433c879f8e5c500de0f46a77520ae3a5

Uploaded At: June 16, 2014

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers