When Evidence-based Literacy Programs Fail. This study examines the implementation of Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) for struggling readers that had been proven to work in early grades. Disappointingly, the results showed after an average of 19 weeks of instruction the intervention had no impact on students’ reading comprehension and a negative impact on their mastery of ELA/literacy standards. The LLI impact on Smarter Balanced ELA/literacy scores was roughly equivalent to students losing more than five months of learning, based on the typical annual growth of students in grades 6-8. When the results were deconstructed, it was found that the failure to overcome obstacles to effective implementation played a significant role in the failure of the program to produce the anticipated results. The findings highlight the importance of considering context and implementation, in addition to evidence of effectiveness, when choosing an intervention program. Not only do schools need to adopt programs supported by evidence, but equally educators need to implement them consistently and effectively if students are to truly benefit from an intervention.
Citation: Gonzalez, N. (2018). When evidence-based literacy programs fail. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(4), 54–58. https://doi.org/10.1177/0031721718815675