Research and Outcomes

Research findings highlight Literacy Collaborative's positive effect on literacy teaching, student learning, and professional learning community. Literacy Collaborative's multi-faceted body of knowledge continues to evolve through internal and external research conducted at the local and national levels.

Research FAQs

What independent studies have been conducted of the Literacy Collaborative?
A number of independent studies have been conducted:
  • The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded the largest and most recent study. Download the Summary
  • Researchers from Stanford University, University of Chicago, and Literacy Collaborative collected data on 240 teachers and 8,500 students at 17 Literacy Collaborative schools over a four-year period (2004-2008). Dr. Anthony Bryk, an expert in school reform and president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, led the $3 million study. Download the Report
  • Literacy Collaborative has also been studied by the Center for Research and Educational Policy at the University of Memphis, the Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusetts, and the Center for Education Evaluation and Policy at Indiana University. See more research findings below.
What does the data show about improvements in student literacy achievement?
  • The IES study (described above) used DIBELS and Terra Nova assessments to measure the literacy skills of students in grades K-2 in 17 Literacy Collaborative schools where 40% of the students were low income. Student literacy growth increased by an average of 16% in Year 1, 28% in Year 2, and 32% in Year 3.
  • An Indiana University's Center for Education Evaluation and Policy study found that both low-poverty and high-poverty Literacy Collaborative schools showed substantially greater year-to-year improvements on the state's 3rd grade reading test than schools with no literacy interventions.
  • Literacy Collaborative researchers at Ohio State analyzed 2nd grade Gates-MacGinitie reading scores in 52 Literacy Collaborative schools over five years (1996-2001). While the entering skills of the kindergarten students remained the same, the average 2nd grade scores rose from 40 NCEs, to 49 NCEs (on a scale of 0-100) — with the greatest gains achieved in schools where more than 50% of students received free or reduced-price lunch.
Does teaching improve in Literacy Collaborative schools?

The Primary Model: In the IES study described above, 240 Literacy Collaborative primary teachers were observed in their classrooms and evaluated three times per year for three years using a quantitative rubric. Analyses showed that average teaching skills improved and individual rates of teacher improvement were correlated with the amount of professional development and one-to-one coaching teachers received from their literacy coaches.

The Intermediate Model: Education Development Center in Newton, Mass., studied schools that adopted Literacy Collaborative at the intermediate level. In an 18-month study, EDC observed and evaluated 54 teachers (grades 3-6) at 17 Literacy Collaborative schools and compared them with teachers in 9 control schools. On average, teaching skills improved in the Literacy Collaborative schools, with no improvement in the control schools.

Does Literacy Collaborative reduce special education referrals and retention rates?
In their study of early literacy interventions in Indiana, the Center for Education Evaluation and Policy found that Literacy Collaborative schools in Indiana had lower 2nd grade special education referral rates and slightly lower 2nd grade retention rates than demographically similar schools without special literacy programs.
Does Literacy Collaborative help improve student attitudes toward reading and writing?
In 2004, Literacy Collaborative researchers observed, interviewed, and surveyed Literacy Collaborative students in grades 3-5 in Westfield, Mass. More than 90% of the students said that they liked to read and write. Those interviewed also reported that they engaged in literacy activities during their free time at home. Teachers reported in focus groups that the Literacy Collaborative project had improved student attitudes and motivation.
What alignment exists between the Literacy Collaborative teaching goals and the Common Core State Standards?

The Continuum of Literacy Learning (Fountas & Pinnell, 2009) is a foundational resource for literacy coaches and teachers in Literacy Collaborative schools. This text outlines specific behaviors and understandings expected in the areas of reading, writing, language, and word study in grades PreK-8. There is a strong relationship between the new Common Core Standards for Language and Literacy and Fountas and Pinnell's The Continuum of Literacy Learning.

The goal of both documents is to ensure that all students are college- and career-ready literate no later than the end of high school. The curriculum goals specifically detailed in the Continuum reach for this high level of skill by the end of eighth grade.

Does Literacy Collaborative foster collaboration and a professional learning environment?

In 2004, Dr. Anthony Bryk, currently President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, received a $3 million, four-year grant from the federal Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to study the value-added effects of the Literacy Collaborative K-2 program on student learning and achievement.

In brief: Teacher expertise increased substantially and the rate of improvement was predicted by the amount of coaching a teacher received. In addition, professional communication amongst teachers in the schools increased over the three years of implementation, and the literacy coordinators became more central in their schools' communication networks.

Download the Resarch Summary

Our Research Comes From:

Literacy Collaborative

Literacy Collaborative staff and researchers conduct studies using data from multiple Literacy Collaborative schools to examine patterns of improvement.

Participating Schools

Participating schools conduct their own research and evaluation. Schools analyze student test scores and work samples, and gather data from student assessments, staff or parent surveys, classroom observations, and interviews. Literacy Collaborative provides training and support to help each school or district develop an evaluation plan, and collect, analyze, and present its own student outcome data in order to evaluate program effectiveness at the local level. Our professional research team provides:

  • guidance on developing an evaluation plan
  • support in understanding and measuring implementation fidelity
  • webinars on data analysis and reporting
  • individual technical assistance on evaluation issues as needed

Outside Studies

In addition, we commission and/or participate in outside studies conducted by researchers at other universities or educational consulting companies.

Articles and Research Reports

Elementary School Journal (2010)

An article published in September 2010 in the prestigious, peer-reviewed research journal, Elementary School Journal, describing the value-added effects of the LC program on student achievement in 17 LC schools.

Analyzing teacher participation in literacy coaching activities

Elementary School Journal, 112, 356-382. Atteberry, A. & Bryk A.B (2011).

Research Literature Review (2009)

A summary and literature review of the major quantitative and qualitative studies on the effects of the Literacy Collaborative on teachers and students. The full articles are available below. Bibliography included.

"Value-Added" Analysis of Student Achievement in LC Schools (2008)

A paper, written at Stanford University, reporting results of a four-year USDOE-funded study of student achievement in 18 Literacy Collaborative schools across the U.S. 10,000 students were tested. The average rate of student learning increased by 15% in Year 1 of implementation and by 28% in Year 2.

Improvements in Literacy Teaching in Literacy Collaborative Schools (2008)

A paper, written at Stanford University, reporting results from the same US ED-funded study, which included observations of 240 teachers over three years. Average measured teaching expertise improved, and the amount of individual teacher improvement was linked with the amount of professional development and coaching teachers received from the literacy coaches in their school.

Indiana Early Literacy Intervention Study (2005)

A report written by the Center for the Evaluation of Educational Policy (CEEP) at Indiana University on their evaluation of several early literacy programs adopted in Indiana in 1998-2004, including Literacy Collaborative. Literacy Collaborative schools showed more improvement in 3rd grade passing rates than schools with no interventions, and fewer special education and retention referrals.

Boston Public Schools Early Literacy Interventions (2005)

Link to purchase (from the publisher) a 2005 article in The Elementary School Journal reporting on an evaluation of Literacy Collaborative and three other literacy reform models adopted by the Boston Public Schools in 1999-2000. Literacy Collaborative schools showed modestly higher first grade writing scores. ($10.00)

Implementation Study of the Literacy Collaborative Intermediate Model (2004)

A report written by the Education Development Center (EDC) in Newton, Massachusetts, on their evaluation of improvements in teaching in schools that adopted the LC Intermediate Program for grades 3-5 or 3-6. Average literacy teaching skill in the Literacy Collaborative schools improved over 18 months but remained the same in the non-Literacy Collaborative control schools.

Multi-Year Analysis of Reading Scores in Literacy Collaborative Schools (2003)

A report on seven years worth of reading data from 52 Literacy Collaborative schools. Average 2nd grade scores on the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test rose steadily, particularly in low-income schools.

Survey and Interview Research on Teacher and Student Attitudes and Motivation (2001-2004)

Three studies of (1) student attitudes toward literacy activities, (2) teacher reports of how Literacy Collaborative has affected their teaching practice, and (3) teacher buy-in to the Literacy Collaborative school reform model.

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At a Glance

Learn more about Literacy Collaborative's program research, evaluation, and positive impact:

Literacy Collaborative Research Summary

In Action

Literacy Collaborative in Action: Southeast Primary School


For more information about Literacy Collaborative research studies, contact:

Wendy Vaulton