RAISE: History

Research & Evidence

RAISE: History

RAISE was awarded a top rating and five years’ funding in the U.S. Department of Education i3 competition, based in part on findings from three previous randomized controlled studies of Reading Apprenticeship. In those studies, high school students who experienced Reading Apprenticeship in a single course — biology, U.S. history, or grade 9 academic literacy — made significant literacy and content knowledge gains, as well as gains related to motivation and academic identity.

RAISE is both a larger and more intensive version of the Reading Apprenticeship interventions already studied. It is designed to amplify a student’s experience with Reading Apprenticeship through a school-based model. At each site, teachers in multiple disciplines integrate Reading Apprenticeship practices into their teaching. Students, therefore, experience Reading Apprenticeship in up to three successive years: English language arts in grade 9, biology in grade 10, and U.S. history in grade 11.

In a subset of the 300+ participating schools, a randomized controlled study will assess the impact of this “increased dosage” on students’ engagement and academic achievement. Research on implementation is included as part of this study.

A second focus of the research is a “scale-up” study, designed to illuminate issues of fidelity and capacity building when a complex professional development-based intervention is implemented on a large scale. For this study, evaluators will gather data from the large group of teachers in the 260+ schools that are not part of the study. In addition, evaluators will conduct case studies in a subset of these schools.

The scale-up effort is a partnership between WestEd’s Strategic Literacy Initiative (developer of Reading Apprenticeship) and four local education agencies — one each in the states of Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Utah plus several school districts in California — that will collaborate with SLI to support, sustain, and further disseminate Reading Apprenticeship during the grant period.

Research Questions

Researchers from Empirical Education and IMPAQ will address the following questions in the randomized controlled study:

  • What is the impact of Reading Apprenticeship on teachers’ ability to integrate disciplinary literacy practices and explicit literacy instruction into high school biology, U.S. history, and English language arts classes?
  • What is the impact of Reading Apprenticeship on students’ reading behaviors, attitudes, and strategies, including reading persistence and the ability to implement problem-solving and comprehension strategies?
  • What is the impact of Reading Apprenticeship on students’ academic achievement in English language arts, biology, and U.S. history?
  • What is the impact of Reading Apprenticeship on students’ academic attainment, course performance, and retention in high school?


Intervention: The intervention for the randomized controlled study and the scale-up study is the same: 10 days of discipline-specific Reading Apprenticeship teacher professional development (grade 9 English Language Arts, high school biology, and high school U.S. history), monthly on-site meetings, and online resources. Reading Apprenticeship-trained facilitators in collaboration with local education agencies will deliver the professional development. Leadership development for supporting the on-site monthly teacher meetings is explicitly designed into the model.

Design and Sample: The study will use a group randomized experimental design in 40-44 schools that serve a high proportion of high-needs students (students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, African American and Latino students, students with low prior academic achievement, particularly in ELA, and English language learners). Half the schools will be randomly assigned to the experimental group and half to a wait-listed control group. In each school six to nine teachers, two to three teachers of each target course, will be followed, along with their students.

Measures of school participation and implementation of Reading Apprenticeship in the professional development and classroom teaching are being developed, as are measures of the impact of this implementation on student learning experiences, engagement, and achievement. In addition, evaluators will document the scale-up of the intervention in five states to identify important features of the school and district contexts that may influence the success of the intervention.