Our Research

In July 2017, researchers at The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at The University of Texas at Austin were awarded a $1.4 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences. Principal investigator is Dr. Sharon Vaughn, and co-principal investigators are Christy Murray and Dr. Elizabeth Stevens.

As of September 2020, our research study has concluded, and we are in the process of analyzing data. Findings will be reported as they become available.

Publications

Murray, C. S., Stevens, E. A., & Vaughn, S. (2020). Teachers’ text use in middle school content area classrooms [Manuscript submitted for publication]. Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, The University of Texas at Austin.

Stevens, E. A., & Austin, C. (2020). Structured reading comprehension intervention. In L. Spear-Swerling (Ed.), Structured Literacy Interventions for Children with Reading Difficulties (pp. XX-XX). Guilford Press. [Book chapter submitted for publication]. 

Stevens, E. A., Murray, C. S., Fishstrom, S., & Vaughn, S. (2020). Using question generation to improve reading comprehension for middle grade students. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaal.1105

Stevens, E. A. & Vaughn, S. (2020) Using paraphrasing and text structure instruction to support main idea generation. Teaching Exceptional Children. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0040059920958738

Stevens, E. A., & Vaughn, S. (2020). Effective practices for teaching content area reading. In Oxford research encyclopedia of education (pp. 1–28). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.1209

Presentations

Austin, C. (2020, January). How to use question writing to build comprehension.Teacher training at Kelly Lane Middle School, Pflugerville, TX.

Barrett, D. C. (2018, August). How to teach essential words in all content areas. Teacher training at Glenn Middle School, San Angelo, TX.

Haager, D. (2020, February). Challenges and Benefits of Schoolwide Professional Development: Improving Content Area Reading in Middle School. Poster at PCRC. San Diego, California. 

McCulley, L. (2019, January). Actively processing vocabulary with the Frayer Model.Teacher training at Glenn Middle School, San Angelo, TX.

McCulley, L. (2019, August). How to teach students to Get the Gist (main idea). Teacher training at McCormick Middle School, Kyle, TX.

McCulley, L. (2020, January). How to use question writing to build comprehension.Teacher training at McCormick Middle School, Kyle, TX.

McCulley, L. (2020, January). How to use question writing to build comprehension.Teacher training at Wallace Middle School, Kyle, TX.

Miller, V. (2019, August). How to teach students to Get the Gist (main idea). Teacher training at Kelly Lane Middle School, Pflugerville, TX.

Miller, V. (2019, August). How to teach students to Get the Gist (main idea). Teacher training at Wallace Middle School, Kyle, TX.

Miller, V. L., & Barrett, D. C. (2019, March). Getting vocabulary to stick: Using essential words to build content knowledge.Making Middle School Matter Symposium, Austin, TX.

Miller, V., & Murray, C. S. (2019, October). Getting vocabulary to “stick:” Using the essential words routine to build content knowledge in middle school. Advancing Improvement in Education. San Antonio, TX.

Murray, C. S. (2019, March). Middle School Matters Exhibitor Booth. Making Middle School Matter Symposium. Austin, TX.  

Murray, C. S. & Fishstrom, S. (2020, March).  Using Essential Words to Build Content Knowledge.Making Middle School Matter Symposium (Texas Association of Secondary School Principals). Austin, TX.

Stevens, E. A. (2018, August). How to teach students to Get the Gist (main idea). Teacher training at Lee Middle School, San Angelo, TX.

Stevens, E. A. (2019, January). How to use question writing to build comprehension.Teacher training at Lee Middle School, San Angelo, TX.

Stevens, E. A. (2019, September). Reading comprehension instruction for students with reading difficulties. Kansas School Board Association, Topeka, KS.

Stevens, E. A. (2019, November). Reading comprehension instruction for students with reading difficulties. Kansas School Board Association, Wichita, KS.

Stevens, E. A. (2020, March). But I’m Not a Reading Teacher! Evidence-based Tips for Supporting Struggling Readers in Content Area ClassesKeynote, Making Middle School Matter Symposium (Texas Association of Secondary School Principals). Austin, TX.

Stevens, E. A. (2020, March).  Supporting Struggling Middle School Readers with Main Idea Generation during Content Area Instruction,Making Middle School Matter Symposium (Texas Association of Secondary School Principals). Austin, TX.

Stevens, E. A. (2020, June). Reading comprehension instruction for students with dyslexia and word-level reading difficulties (Greenbush Southeast Kansas Education Service Center). [Virtual webinar for teachers in Kansas].

Stevens, E. A. & Fishstrom, S. (2020, February). Supporting Struggling Middle School Readers with Main Idea Generation during Content Area Instruction. Presentation. Council for Exceptional Children Convention and Expo. Portland, OR.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this 4-year project is to develop, refine, and pilot a PD model (see Figure 1) optimized for achieving sustainable teacher improvement and positive student outcomes in middle school. The PD model will facilitate middle school educators’ implementation of research-based reading practices across the content areas of English language arts, science, and social studies. The end purpose is to produce effective middle school teachers and leaders who skillfully implement proven practices for enhancing reading comprehension, producing academic gains for students in secondary school and achieving readiness for college and career.

Figure 1. Middle School Matters Professional Development Model

Study Procedures

Building upon the existing work of the Middle School Matters Institute (an education intiative of the George W. Bush Institute), researchers iteratively developed and refined a PD model that could be used campuswide in middle schools. Teachers provided feedback on the model via a series of questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews. In year 3 (2019 – 2020), the model was piloted over an entire school year with six middle schools (three treatment, three business as usual) in English language arts, science, and social studies classrooms.

Students’ growth in reading comprehension and change in student risk factors associated with school dropout will be assessed by using a researcher-developed strategy use measure, Gates-MacGinitie Reading Comprehension Test, and by collecting early warning indicator data (student attendance, behavior, and coursework grades).

Findings

Coming Soon!