Research Reports

Research & Impact

The Reading, Evidence, and Argumentation in Disciplinary Instruction (READI) Project was a multi-institutional team headed by UIC and funded by the Institute for Education Sciences as part of its Reading for Understanding Initiative. SLI researchers led the design of professional development and the project’s approach to science, and contributed deeply to the project’s work in history, curriculum design, and assessment. These technical reports share some of the knowledge and resources that resulted from this work.

Research Reports

Explanatory Modeling in Science Through Text-based Investigation: Testing the Efficacy of the READI Intervention Approach

Goldman, S.R., Greenleaf, C., & Yukhymenko-Lescroart, M., with Brown, W., Ko, M., Emig, J., George, M., Wallace, P., Blum, D., Britt, M.A., & Project READI (2017)

This report describes the impact of the READI science work on both teaching practices and student literacy learning. We provided professional learning and text-based investigation modules for the intervention teachers and schools and conducted a multi-site efficacy trial in 9th grade biology. Teachers in the intervention group engaged in new teaching practices known to support students’ literacy and science learning, and differences between intervention and control teachers’ practices grew over the course of the study. Students who participated in the semester-long intervention of the READI approach outperformed those in business-as-usual classrooms in which the same science topics were covered, on both a Project-developed assessment and on a scenario-based assessment developed by ETS.

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Constant Comparison Analysis and Other Classroom Observation Activity

Litman, C., Greenleaf, C., Charney-Sirott, I., Sexton, U., & Brown, W. (2012)

This study draws on field notes and lesson artifacts from observations of 42 greater San Francisco Bay Area English language arts, history, and science lessons conducted in Year 1 of Project READI, prior to the development of any intervention. These observations surfaced issues that continued to inform READI work throughout the project, including the role of close reading and interactive argumentation in evidence-based argument (E-BA), and attention to the difference between generating and supporting a claim.

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Descriptive Analysis of Texts and Tasks in Secondary English Language Arts, History and Science

Litman, C. & Greenleaf, C. with Charney-Sirott, I., Marple, S., & Sexton, U. (2012)

This study draws on field notes and lesson artifacts from observations of 79 greater San Francisco Bay and Chicago area English language arts, history, and science lessons conducted in Year 1 of Project READI, prior to the development of any intervention. We identified eight broad themes that represent malleable factors mediating student engagement and learning from higher level literacy tasks: (1) texts; (2) close reading; (3) argumentation; (4) disciplinary knowledge building; (5) teacher direct support for learning; (6) instrumental support for learning; (7) epistemological framing; and (8) participation structures.

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The Enduring Impact of Design-based Professional Development on Literacy Instruction in Secondary Subject Areas

Litman, C., Marple, S., & Greenleaf, C. (2015)

Drawing from observations conducted during Year 1 of Project READI, prior to any instructional intervention, this mixed-methods study explores differences in opportunities for students to learn offered by teachers who had previously participated in a model of design-based PD versus those who had not. We found that teachers who had participated in PD allocated less time to delivering content and more time to working with text, argumentation, close reading, and cross-textual analysis than comparison teachers.

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Classroom Observation Opportunity to Learn Analysis

Litman, C., Marple, S., & Greenleaf, C. with Bolz, M., Charney-Sirott, I., Richardson, L., & Hall, A. (2013)

This mixed-methods study of literacy opportunities to learn (OTL) for students is based on videotapes of middle and high school ELA, history/social studies, and science lessons conducted in California and Chicago during Year 1 of Project READI, prior to any instructional intervention. In addition to an initial analysis of OTL, the report includes detailed descriptions of the coding scheme, coder training, and inter-rater reliability that constitute the foundation for subsequent analyses of OTL in these classrooms. The report also includes an analysis of grade band differences that have not been reported elsewhere.

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Designing Text-Based Investigations for Evidence-Based Argumentation in Science

Greenleaf, C., Brown, W., Hale, G., Sexton, U. (WestEd), & George, M. (UIC) (2012)

This report outlines the approach we designed to simultaneously advance students’ understanding of the nature of science, their learning of science concepts, and their ability to read and reason with authentic science sources and multiple representations. We focus on engaging students in Text-based Investigations to develop explanatory models of phenomena and also offer the research base and design principles underlying the approach.

download report link to HS MRSA module link to MS water module


Developing Assessments of Students’ Science Reading Processes and Explanatory Models to Measure Learning Outcomes from Instruction with Text-based Investigation Modules

Brown, W., Greenleaf, C., Marple, S., Reade, F., Charney-Sirott, I., Sexton, U., Hale, G., Ko, M., James, K., & Burkett C. (2016)

This report details the research base, goals, and iterative development of an approach to disciplinary literacy assessment. We undertook this design work to be able to gauge the effects of students’ engagements in Text-based Investigations. We present a coding scheme for analyzing written annotations on texts for evidence of students’ reading processes and ability to use texts for science conceptual learning. We also describe the development and use of a rubric for scoring students’ science models as a measure of science conceptual learning from text.

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Studying the Implementation of Text-based Investigations on Water in Middle School Science Classrooms: Lessons from Collaborative Design-based Research

Ko, M., Brown, W. Greenleaf, C., James, K. & George, M. (2013)

This report describes the development, implementation and iterative refinement of a Text-based Investigation unit on water purity. Over two cycles, the water module was responsively refined to respond to middle school students’ conceptual understandings and learning needs as they were made apparent during module implementation.

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Studying the Implementation of Text-based Investigations on MRSA in High School Science Classrooms: Lessons from Collaborative Design-based Research

Greenleaf, C., Brown, W. & Sexton, U. (2013)

This report describes the collaborative design-based research of Project READI as a method of testing and refining our approach to Text-based Investigations in science. Here we detail lessons learned from the implementation of a unit on Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) in diverse high school science classrooms.

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Studying the Implementation of Text-based Investigations on MRSA in Middle School Science Classrooms: Lessons from Collaborative Design-based Research

Ko, M., Brown, W., Greenleaf, C., & Goldman, S. R. (2013; updated 2016)

Based on the high school MRSA module, we developed a middle school MRSA unit. This report describes the development, implementation and iterative refinement of the unit in two middle school classrooms.

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Developing and Implementing a Reading Models Mini-Unit to Support Evidence-based Argumentation in Science

Ko, M., Brown, W., Greenleaf, C., Goldman, S. R., Sela, R., Childers, E., & Juareguy, A. (2013; updated 2016)

In early implementations of Text-based Investigation units we found that students were unfamiliar with the construction and use of models in science. This report describes the collaborative design of a mini-unit on Reading Models that we undertook in response to students’ need to develop this core disciplinary literacy practice.

download report link to HS MRSA module link to MS water module link to MS reading module link to HS reading module


Developing and Refining Text-Based Investigations on Homeostasis in High School Classrooms: Lessons from Collaborative Design-based Research

Ko, M., James, K., Brown, W., Greenleaf, C., & Goldman, S. R. (2014; updated 2016)

This report describes the collaborative development and iterative refinement of a Text-based Investigation module focused on homeostasis for high school biology.

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Iterative Design of Professional Development to Impact Teacher Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practices

Greenleaf, C., Brown, W., Litman, C., Charney-Sirott, I., Cribb, G., & Jensen, R. (2016)

This report details the elaboration of professional development inquiries and how these evolved from resources and inquiries previously developed by SLI through design-based research processes. The report also explains how the design team incorporated READI learning objectives and curricular resources to leverage and refine these PD inquiry approaches and tools, and how these inquiries were integrated into a professional learning sequence implemented to impact teacher practice and student learning outcomes in the RCT conducted in the final years of the project.

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Design Rationale, Learning Goals, and Hypothesized Progressions for Text-based Investigations in Middle and High School Science Classrooms

Greenleaf, C., Brown, W., Ko, M., Hale, G., Sexton, U., James, K., & George, M. (2013)

This report updates the design rationale for Text-based Investigations offered in READI Technical Report #17 and lays out the six student learning objectives for science informing the project’s design work. It also offers a vision of how teaching and student learning might progress over the course of a school year to advance these goals.

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