The long-term effectiveness of Reading Recovery and the cost-efficiency of Reading Recovery relative to the Learning Disabled classification rate
Galluzzo, Charles A.
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There is a great deal of research supporting Reading Recovery as a successful reading intervention program that assists below level first graders readers in closing the gap in reading at the same level of their average peers. There is a lack of research that analyses the cost-effectiveness of the Reading Recovery program compared to the cost in providing Special Education services. This study examines the academic achievement of 156 students from eight cohort groups who participated in the Reading Recovery program and those students who were screening, but did not receive Reading Recovery services from the 1999 through 2007 school years. Academic achievement was analyzed longitudinally to answer the following questions; did the student successfully discontinue the Reading Recovery program on grade level, did the student remain on grade level after first, second third and fourth grade, did the student reach the level 3 or level 4 benchmark of the New York State English Language Arts assessment and did the become classified as Learning Disabled? Cost-effectiveness data was analyzed in conjunction with achievement data to determine if participation in the Reading Recovery program lowers the classification rate of students, which would in turn have an effect of long-term costs of Special Education services. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize and compare the outcomes of each student achievement measure between Reading Recovery student groups for each of the cohort groups through calculations of the mode, median, mean, and standard deviation. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used to determine whether statistically significant differences exist between reading recovery group and comparison group for each outcome and also whether the outcomes change over time between cohort groups. Effect sizes also will be calculated to determine the practical significance of the group differences. Chi-square analysis was run for the end of each year to determine if the differences in On Grade Level performance between the independent variable groups were by chance. The ingredients method was used to compare the costs associated to the Reading Recovery program and to the cost of students who are provided with Special Education services. This method entails identifying all the resources needed to produce the effect that is observed. Current market prices for each ingredient will be used to assign nominal pecuniary values from the 2008-2009 school years. The market price is a measure of what must be sacrificed in terms of the value of other commodities to provide the ingredient for the intervention. The findings indicated that students who successfully complete the Reading Recovery program (Discontinued students) remain on grade level through fourth grade and score at the level 3 and 4 benchmark level for the NYS ELA assessment at a higher rate than students who unsuccessfully complete the program (Recommended students) and students who do not finish the program (Non-Completer students). As one might expect, students who were not in need of intervention (Random) outperformed all other student groups in academic areas. Discontinued students were classified below the District rate for students with disabilities, while Recommended and Non-Completer students were classified at a much higher rate. None of the Random students were classified as having a learning disability. The lower classification rate of Discontinued students could indicate that the students who successfully discontinue the Reading Recovery program would cost a district less money to educate over time compared to Recommended and Non-Completer students. There would be no additional costs associated to educating Random students. The low response rate of consent to review records limits the generalization of the findings presented in this study. The implications for practice are suggestions based on the information available for analysis.