RRF Conference 2007: D. McGuinness 'Comparison of results..'

Transcripts and Reports of Talks given at past RRF Conferences.
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Susan Godsland
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RRF Conference 2007: D. McGuinness 'Comparison of results..'

Post by Susan Godsland » Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:10 pm

Here is the content of the handout that accompanied Diane McGuinness's talk at the RRF conference 2007.

100 years of 'sight word' methods in the classroom - how education practice continues to promote reading failure:
Dr Diane McGuinness makes it clear that there is not a single research study in the world to support the use of the methods now being promoted to help poor readers.

A Comparison of Results for Synthetic Phonics and Other Reading Programmes


Beginning Readers.

Jolly Phonics: Au: Sue Lloyd

1. Published Study. Johnston and Watson, 1997

Age ‘Reception’ (4:8). N = 54
Study type: Experimental. Two type of phonics programme
Treatment: Synthetic Phonics vs. Analytic Phonics
Time: Daily class lessons + individual tasks (+/- 1 hour per day).
Duration: 10 weeks, 50-60 hours
Tests: British Ability Scales

Results: Years:months BAS
First test (10 weeks)
S-P 5:9
A-P 5:0
Second test (62 weeks)
S-P 6:7
A-P 5:3

2. Published Study. Stuart, 1999

Age: 5 years, 1 month. N= 112
Study type: Experimental. One hour each day
Treatment: Synthetic phonics vs. Whole Language
Time: One hour per day
Duration: 12 weeks/60 hours
Tests: BAS Reading. Schonell Spelling

Results: Years/months BAS Schonell
J-P 7:1 6:9
W-L 6:3 5:9

3. Published Study. Stuart, 2004

Follow-on study. End Key Stage 1

Age: 7:5 N= 101

Results: Years/months
C.A. BAS Schonell Neale Neale
Accur. Comp

S-P JP 1 (original) 7:6 8:2 7:11 7:7 7:2
S-P JP 2 (late trained) 7:5 8:0 7:6 8:0 7:5
W-L 7:5 7:6 6:11 7:5 7:3

JP groups significantly ahead of W-L group in BAS and Schonell. No significant
differences between any groups on the Neale tests.

Sound Discovery (JP based + new materials) Au: Marlynne Grant

1. Unpublished study. Data collected from 1996-2004

Age: ‘Reception’ N= 680 Multiple schools.
Study Type: 1 Year Longitudinal (multiple cohorts 1996-2004)
Controls: National norms)
Treatment: Jolly Phonics + new material + advanced spelling code
Classroom time: 20 minutes per day + reading decodable texts.
Duration: 10 months
Tests: Burt Reading, Schonell Spelling

Results. Years:Months/Gains Burt Schonell

End of year scores: 1:2 1:3

2. Unpublished study. Data collected from 1997-2002.

Age: Reception. N= 500 Multiple schools.
Study Type: 1 Year Longitudinal (multiple cohorts 1997-2002)
Treatment: JP + new material + advanced spelling code.
Time: 20 minutes per day + reading decodable texts.
Duration: One school year
Tests: Burt Reading, Schonell Spelling

Results. Burt Schonell

Gains: Years:months 1:2 1:6

3. Unpublished study (2005). Follow-on data at Year 6.

Age: Reception to Year 6. N= 90
Study type: Longitudinal + interventions for slower readers at Key Stage 2
Treatment: Snappy Lessons (M. Grant – Decodable text).
Time: Intervention only: 2 sessions per week.
Duration: Reception to Year 6
Tests: Key Stage 2 English SATs 2004

Results: SATS Levels 4 and 5.

Sound Discovery group: 94% Level 4+ 65% Level 5.
LEA average: 82% Level 4+ 29% Level 5

[Author quote: “Since working with synthetic phonics, --no pupils in the school required a Statement for dyslexia. Whatever their Special Educational Need or background, virtually all the children learned to read and write.”]

Sounds-Write (linguistic phonics) Au. Susan Case, David Philpot, John Walker

1. Unpublished study. One School.

Age: Reception to Year 2. N= 50
Study type: Longitudinal
Treatment: Linguistic/synthetic phonics. Advanced spelling code. Classroom/small
Time: Est. 1 hour/day
Duration: 10 months (school year)
Tests: Unknown

Results: Chron. Age Read. Age Spell. Age

End Year 2 7:3 9:0 9:9

2. Unpublished study. Many schools

Age: Reception, Year 1, Year 2 N=1,781
Study type: Longitudinal
Treatment: Classroom. Small groups
Time: 1 hour/day reception only
Duration: 10 months
Tests: Young Spelling Test/or Parallel Spelling Test

Results (end of year): Chron. Age Spell. Age

Reception 5:4 6:6
Year 1 6:3 7:3
Year 2 7:3 8:6

Sound-Steps to Reading (New) Au. Diane McGuinness

1. Unpublished study: U.S.. Two reception classrooms (Pilot)

Age: Kindergarten (US) Ages 5 -6 N=32
Study type: Longitudinal
Treatment: Comprehensive Linguistic phonics. Advanced spelling code.
Scripted lessons. Integrated materials: reading, spelling, writing. Lessons
include only what has been taught. Whole class plus small group work.
Time: 1 hour/day
Duration: 10 months
Tests: WRAT-3 Reading (Grade-level converted to ‘age’)

Results (June 2006 ):
Chron. Age WRAT Read. age
At Pre-test: 30 were non-readers.

End year: June: 06 6:4 8:1
Average Percentile Ranks 91.2 %tile

1. 42% of children scored at the 99th percentile or higher.
2. 75% scored at the 90th percentile or higher.
3. Lowest score: 50th percentile (average)

Remedial Tutoring

School-Based Tutoring.

Reading Recovery Au. Marie Clay.

Unpublished study (2006). Institute of Education. Au. S. Burroughs-Lange
Title: Evaluation of Reading Recovery in London Schools: Every Child a Reader 2005-2006.

Age: 6:3 8 worst readers/classroom. N= 145 Treatment group.
N= 147 Control group.
Study type: Experiment: Treatment x No-treatment control.
[This is first RR study with a control group since 1995 – Au. report.]
Treatment: Book series/whole language, etc. Unknown --small group or 1-to-1(?)
Time: tutoring time unknown.
Duration: Sept. to July (10 months)
Tests: British Ability Scales

Results: British Ability Scales
Pre-Test Post Test
Stan. Score Yrs:mos Stand. Score Yrs:Mos

Controls N=147 99 4:10 N=147 94 5:5

R. R. (N=145) 101 4:9 N= 85 111 6:7

[NOTE: This study purports to have 145 children in the RR group in all parts of this report up to the Results section. At Table 7 (results) only 87 RR children remain in the sample. No explanation given. The 58 missing children reappear in Table 9 (last page) as the “children in schools with RR who did not receive RR.” As research reports are always written after the fact and never while a study is ongoing, this report seems intentionally misleading. It is curious then, that Burroughs-Lange reports Johnston and Watson as having “no success with the very lowest achieving children,” and alleges: “in some cases these were deliberately excluded from studies.” (page 3 of report)]

N.B. This programme has received large amounts of funding from private donors and foundations, as well as from the DfES (taxpayers). It is the most expensive programme available, requires the most training time for teachers, takes the longest amount of time to administer, reaches the fewest students, and has the poorest return on investment in terms of results. A decade of analysis of RR ‘results’ by the scientific community (external to the school system) shows that 30%-40% of children are routinely discharged from RR lessons for lack of progress. This study is no exception.

“Catch-Up” programme. Au. DfES personnel.

1. Unpublished Summary Report. No Authors given. Date: Jnly 2003

Age: Year 3 N = 53 (1 or 2 per school)
Study Type: Intervention.
Treatment: Unspecified content, method, or progression.
Unknown if small groups or 1-to-1.
Time: 2 weekly sessions. Hours unknown.
Duration: 8 months
Test: Hodder Reading Progress Test Series

Results: Average scores +15 months above baseline. Minus 8 months time = 7 months gain above age norms.

2. Unpublished. No authors on this report.

Age: Years 2-6. N=200 (9 schools)
Study Type: Intervention/Longitudinal.
Treatment: DfES programme. No specifics given.
Time: unknown
Duration: 10 months
Test: Salford Sentence Reading Test

Results: Gains above test norms.

Intervention Periods:
At 10 weeks: Average scores + 6.5 months. Minus 10 weeks = + 2.5 months.
At 10 months: Average scores + 14 months. Minus 10 months = + 4 months.
After 3 terms: Average scores + 11 months. Minus 15 months = - 4 months.

[Students dropped out of this programme at various times based on gains. No details provided.]

Sound Reading System (Adaptation: Sound Steps) Au. Fiona Nevola

1. Unpublished study. Data: 2003-2007

Ages: 6 to adult. N=140
Study Type: Individual tutoring. 7 Tutors combined data.
Treatment: Syn. Phonics + Advanced code. All components – including
reading materials, spelling, etc. - controlled by learning sequence
Time: One hour per week. Parent-supported homework.
Duration: Range 6 to 30 hours. Average: 18 hours.
Tests: Nelson NFER Reading Test, Schonell Spelling, Parallel Spelling

Results: Gains in Years:Months

NFER Read. NFER Comp. Schonell/Parallel Spelling

All students: 2:4 2:7 2:3
(all tutors)

2. Unpublished internal report. L. Stewart and D. Sherwood. Directors of Training: Thames Valley Probationary Services. 2006

Ages: 20 to 54 years. N=16
Study Type: Individual tutoring on site. Subjects self selected.
Time: One hour session per week plus homework.
Duration: 4 to 11 hours. Average = 6 hours.
Tests: WRAT. Pre and post test scores.

Results: Average reading age at pre-test was 7:5 years (range 6-11 years). Spelling age range was 5-7 years.

Gains in Years:Months on the WRAT

Reading: 2:2
Spelling: 3:6

[N.B. Learning speed is critical for this highly transient population. Half the original group of 31 people could not complete lessons and were unavailable for post-testing.]

From the report: “The majority of our learners cannot believe that reading and writing is actually as simple as it is.” -- “Learners often broke down and cried because they can finally see how the reading or spelling process works.”


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