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A Report on the Minnesota STudent Achievement in Reading (STAR) Project

STAR is a project of the U.S. Department of Education that provides training and support for teachers of intermediate reading students in effective, evidence-based practices in the four major components of adult reading instruction: alphabetics, fluency,vocabulary, and comprehension.
Author(s): 
Margaret (Marn) Frank
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Hamline University School of Education, Adult Basic Education Teaching and Learning Advancement System (ATLAS)
Minnesota Department of Education
Published: 
2012
Resource Type: 
Research
Number of Pages: 
29
Abstract: 

STAR is a reading reform initiative that includes professional development, tools, and resources that expand participants' knowledge of effective reading instruction. STAR improves their ability to build local and state systems that support reading improvement.

The purposes of the cumulative report on the Minnesota STudent Achievement in Reading (STAR) Project are to: 1) share background information about Minnesota Adult Basic Education's partnership with the National STAR Project, 2) document internal evaluation outcomes collected over three years of the Minnesota STAR PRoject, and 3) identify next steps for project organization, trainings, and evaluation.

ABE Teaching and Learning Advancement System (ATLAS), housed at Hamline University in St. Paul and provider of statewide professional development (PD), completed a mixed method of evaluation to determine the impact of STAR trainings and technical assistance (TA) on teachers, programs, and students participating during the academic years 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012 (referred to as STAR 10, 11, and 12). A combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis confirmed that participation in MN STAR positively impacts:

1. Teachers’ learning, confidence, and use of evidence-based reading instruction (EBRI), the foundation of STAR

2. Programs’ support for structural changes specific to the implementation of STAR

3. Students’ level completion rates, program persistence, and satisfaction with STAR instruction

MN STAR Leadership hopes these outcomes inspire all stakeholders to maintain their support of STAR and evidence-based reading instruction (EBRI). Special appreciation to MDE-ABE staff for continued funding and to all MN STARs, whose commitment and critical responses contributed immensely to this report.

What the Experts Say: 

This resource is a good example of a thoughtful program evaluation that addresses the implementation of a program over a period of time across levels of responsibility within an agency. It is a clear, concise, and informative report that can be helpful to other STAR states in planning their evaluations, both in terms of methodology and format.

The report provides the tools and procedures that could be used by other agencies implementing STAR or similar programs. All sections of this resource can serve as guides for agencies planning program evaluation (e.g., the description of the program evaluation adopted from Guskey (2002) on page 12, how the evaluation information is presented – tables and charts reporting outcomes and supports for outcomes on pages 16-29, and appendices on pages 32-43 that contain the data collection questionnaires and forms used).

Quotes from teachers and learners also provides additional context for the data. The report could be improved with better reporting of the statistical methods (e.g., including p-values), which can be added without distorting the flow of the narrative.

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