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New Study Disputes National Reading Panel Findings

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
EDUCATION POLICY STUDIES LABORATORY
Education Policy Analysis Archives


****NEWS RELEASE****

from the Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA) of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory (EPSL) at Arizona State University


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

CONTACT:
Professor Gregory Camilli
Graduate School of Education
Rutgers University
732-932-7496 ex. 8350
camilli@rci.rutgers.edu

Professor Alex Molnar, Director
Education Policy Studies Laboratory
(480) 965-1886
epsl@asu.edu
http://edpolicylab.org


Find this document on the web at:
http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v11n15


STUDY FINDS NATIONAL READING PANEL'S CENTRAL FINDINGS
MISDIRECT INSTRUCTIONAL POLICIES


TEMPE, Ariz.- A critique of the National Reading Panel (NRP) report Teaching Children to Read to be published May 8, 2003, in the
peer-reviewed journal Education Policy Analysis Archives finds that the NRP's conclusion that systematic phonics instruction is more effective
than other methods of teaching children to read is likely to misdirect policy makers.

Professor Gregory Camilli's study focuses on a research methodology known as meta-analysis, which the NRP used in reaching their
conclusion. His study was conducted as an attempt to verify whether an independent team of researchers would arrive at conclusions consistent with those in Teaching Children to Read.

Reconstruction of NRP's Central Findings

Camilli asserts that as in other types of scientific investigation, replicability is a key criterion for judging the credibility of the NRP's meta-analytic findings. Replicability also informs how seriously policy makers should consider applying its findings, Camilli emphasizes.

In the new study, Camilli finds that programs using systematic phonics instruction outperformed programs using less systematic phonics, but the effect was just half of the NRP's estimate. Moreover, the systematic phonics effect was smaller than the effect for individual tutoring, and students benefited from systematic language activities as much as systematic phonics instruction. Camilli notes that the NRP did not find the language effect because "they didn't look for it."

The study concludes that there is reason to believe these effects are additive, and that systematic phonics instruction combined with
language activities and individual tutoring may triple the effect of phonics alone.

Effect of NRP's Results

Camilli maintains that if the NRP results are taken to mean that effective reading instruction should focus on phonics to the exclusion of other factors that affect how children learn to read, then instructional policies are likely to be misdirected. He interprets the new study's results as evidence that a balance of systematic phonics,
tutoring, and language activities is best for teaching children to read.

— Gregory Camilli
Study Finds National Reading Panel's Central Findings Misdirect Instructional Policies
Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v11n15
May 7, 2003


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