School & District Management Report Roundup

Lack of Proof Seen on Reading Text

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — September 16, 2008 1 min read

Houghton Mifflin Reading, a popular textbook for teaching literacy in the early grades, cannot be given an effectiveness rating by the What Works Clearinghouse because existing research provides insufficient evidence of its impact on student learning, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

The textbook is the latest of several widely used early reading series that failed to meet the rigorous review standards of the online clearinghouse, which evaluates data on educational programs and practices.

Last month, reports by the clearinghouse on Open Court Reading and Reading Mastery, as well as Breakthrough to Literacy—all products of the New York City-based McGraw-Hill Cos.—contended that no studies that met the clearinghouse’s rigorous review requirements.

The latest review looked at nine studies of Houghton Mifflin Reading between 1985 and 2007. The text is one of just two approved for use in California elementary schools, and is used across the country.

Six of the studies on the program had the necessary experimental design to be included in the review, but they either did not have sufficient information about the comparison group or there were “confounding factors” that made it impossible to determine the effect of the program on student outcomes, the new report says. Another study was rejected because it did not have an equivalent comparison group, while two others did not have sufficient information on the ages or grade ranges of students being studied.

Company Defends Product

The publisher, based in Boston, said the findings do not reflect the program’s success.

“For over a decade, the Houghton Mifflin Reading series have boosted student reading ability and achievement in schools throughout the nation,” spokesman Rick Blake wrote in an e-mail. “We believe the results in the classroom speak for themselves.”

The report is part of a series of reviews on beginning reading programs that the clearinghouse began releasing last year. Only a handful of the dozens of programs the clearinghouse studied were determined to have any positive effects on student learning. Those results have led many reading research experts to question the usefulness of the reviews.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 17, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Interactive Learning Best Practices: Creative Ways Interactive Displays Engage Students
Students and teachers alike struggle in our newly hybrid world where learning takes place partly on-site and partly online. Focus, engagement, and motivation have become big concerns in this transition. In this webinar, we will
Content provided by Samsung
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management 'You Can’t Follow CDC Guidelines': What Schools Really Look Like During COVID-19
All year, some teachers have said that enforcing precautions to slow the spread of the virus in classrooms can be nearly impossible.
13 min read
Guntown Middle School eighth graders walk the halls to their next class as others wait in their assigned spots against the wall before moving into their next class during the first day back to school for the Lee County District in Guntown, Miss on Aug. 6, 2020.
Eight graders walk the halls on the first day back to school in Guntown, Miss., on Aug. 6, 2020. Teachers in several states told Education Week that since the beginning of the school year, enforcing precautions such as social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus has been nearly impossible.<br/>
Adam Robison/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP
School & District Management Opinion School Reopening Requires More Than Just Following the Science
Educators can only “follow the science” so far. Professional expertise matters too, writes Susan Moore Johnson.
Susan Moore Johnson
5 min read
Illustration of school and bus
Getty
School & District Management Why Teacher Vaccinations Are So Hard to Track
Teachers can now get the COVID-19 vaccine, but there’s no way of knowing how many are currently inoculated against the virus.
6 min read
Image of a needle and vaccine bottle.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Do Teachers Have to Disclose Their Vaccination Status? Experts Weigh In
Experts answer four pressing questions about teachers, privacy, and COVID-19 vaccines.
3 min read
Vaccine record.
Bill Oxford/iStock/Getty