Diane McGuinness comments on RR 'research'

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Susan Godsland

Diane McGuinness comments on RR 'research'

Post by Susan Godsland »

Here is another document from the DCSF's RR Toolkit webpage:

International research on long- and short-term outcomes of Reading Recovery, and comparisons with other programmes:
Julia Douetil, Reading Recovery Trainer and National Coordinator. IOE.

http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primar ... h03408.pdf

I asked Diane McG to comment on this one -and she responded as follows-

1) You cannot compare a programme that teaches children 1-to-1 for up to 80 hours, with a group of children that had no individual tuition, and certainly NOT 80 hours worth. This means that in most cases, the so-called "control" group is not a control group at all - it is simply the kids left in the classroom. For RR results to be considered valid, these two groups must receive the same tutoring time using TWO different methods. Otherwise, all this proves is the one-to-one tutoring is better than classroom teaching. I note that in some instances the claim is they did have a proper control group, but one would have to read the original paper and not a brief summary to find out.

2) All studies "published" by the organization that is promoting RR (I.O.E.) are also invalid, or at least suspect, no matter what they find.

3) I could find no study that used a REAL synthetic phonics programme for the same number of hours one-to-one, as the RR comparison group received. But I may be wrong. I would have to read them in the original.

4). There is the continual problem that they fudge their data over and over again, eliminating about 40% of the children from the original "experimental group" for failure to progress, and then not mentioning it. You can only see this in their tables and not in the text. In order to make this point stick, one would have to read each of these studies in their original form, and not in these truncated versions. So reading this review is not helpful in pinpointing what really happened. The definitive studies which point this out, are on the list of studies they provide. Several large, well-controlled survey studies are discussed in my book: Why Children Can't Read. These find little to no effect, and/or major design flaws in the research - one consistent one is dismissing so many children from the study. .

5). There is also a major question that I would like answered, and that is - when children begin with a good synthetic phonics programme, WHY THEN are they shifted to a programme (RR) which contradicts everything the children have been taught so far? Surely the REAL test for what works is one-to-one teaching with the same programme they were being taught. If they get JP/** (Bristol schools) why then, don't they get one-to-one tutoring using these programmes?? What would happen if they did? It would be FAR FAR cheaper to do it this way. So what is the problem?

6). Another point is what happens when children DO NOT get exposed to RR, but get a good programme from the start. One should really compare the data from children taught properly in the first place to the RR claims. These are the data I presented at the 2007 RRF conference (see http://www.rrf.org.uk/messageforum/viewtopic.php?t=3785 ), and this includes just about everyone's programme except for Ruth Miskin's.

A large number of these studies have nothing to do with Reading Recovery at all, though the title of this paper indicates that EVERY study is about RR. All these studies must be dismissed for lack of relevance. Also, I note in reading through these again, that some of the studies (those I review in my book) had a different focus than the writer of this review claims - so this is misleading at best. The writer of this review is an employee of the IOE. This mini-review has no "status" i.e. it is not an independent analysis carried out by someone who has no vested interest in the outcome.