USDE Agencies Reviews

ED Agency Reviews

Reading Recovery research studies reviewed by U.S. Department of Education supported agencies

National agencies funded through the U.S. Department of Education have reviewed Reading Recovery research studies using rigorous standards. Though each agency reports evaluations using different categories, all require experimental (randomized controlled trial) or quasi-experimental studies as evidence of effectiveness.

National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII)
NCII, supported by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, has recognized the evidence-proven effectiveness of Reading Recovery for students who struggle in learning to read and write.

NCII’s academic screening and intervention tool charts allow educators and decision makers to select tools and programs that display expert ratings on technical rigor. Screening tools identify students in need of intensive intervention. Intervention tools charts include programs and corresponding research studies documenting effectiveness and designed for use in an intensive intervention context. The charts offer information on the quality and results of the studies, implementation requirements, and descriptions of additional research.

As explained on the NCII website, “Assessment is an essential part of the data-based individualization (DBI) process and a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). Without technically sound assessment, which provides accurate, meaningful information, a teacher has no objective method for determining what a student needs or how to intensify instruction to meet those needs. The close connection between assessment and intervention is at the foundation of the DBI process. This connection is what drives teacher decision making. With the right assessment tools and guidance on how to use them, teachers can make sound, data-based decisions about who needs intensive intervention, when to make instructional changes, and what skills to focus on.”

An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, the screening tool central to Reading Recovery’s evaluation and instruction and used widely by classroom and specialist teachers and researchers, again received the highest possible ratings in the most recent review. The Observation Survey showed classification accuracy in identifying at-risk students in the fall or winter of first grade based on a nationally representative sample. The assessment also demonstrated strong reliability and validity. The current Academic Screening Tools Chart  updates a 2011 review by the National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI), when the Observation Survey also received high ratings.

In fall 2012, the NCII Technical Review Committee reviewed Reading Recovery research and reported large gains based on a 2005 study by Robert Schwartz. Other studies include Center, Wheldall, Freeman, Outhred, & McNaught (1995), and Iversen & Tunmer (1993). The 2016 final evaluation of the 4-year i3 scale-up by May, Sirinides, Gray, and Goldsworthy was added in the most recent update of the Academic Intervention Tools Chart.

What Works Clearinghouse (WWC)
Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the WWC is “a central and trusted source of scientific evidence for what works in education” and publishes intervention reports that assess research on beginning reading programs. WWC evaluations translate effect sizes from research into improvement index scores to reflect the average change in a student’s percentile rank that can be expected if the student has the intervention.

In 2007, 2008, and in July 2013, the WWC examined research on Reading Recovery and accepted studies that met its evidence standards. Reading Recovery received positive or potentially positive ratings across all four domains: alphabetics (phonics and phonemic awareness), fluency, comprehension, and general reading achievement. Among all programs reviewed, Reading Recovery received the highest rating in general reading achievement. See how Reading Recovery compares to other interventions.