A quasi-experimental evaluation of reading and special education outcomes for English Language Learners in Instructional Consultation Teams schools
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The present quasi-experimental study used hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to investigate whether the Instructional Consultation (IC) Team model differentially influences fourth and fifth grade state reading achievement test scores, and English Language Learner (ELL) student scores in particular. Correlations among student-, classroom-, and school-level variables and special education placement were also explored using HLM. Archival data from 11 IC Teams "treatment" schools and 17 nonequivalent "control" schools in a mid-Atlantic state were analyzed in both students-within-schools and classrooms-within-schools multilevel models, with appropriate controls specified for classroom and school compositional effects. Although students-within-schools HLM models of reading achievement were not significant, classrooms-within-schools models indicated that classrooms in IC Teams schools had significantly higher class average reading achievement test scores (ES = .36) compared to classrooms in control schools. Neither the students-within-schools nor classrooms-within-schools HLM models found IC Teams to differentially influence reading achievement for ELL students. In addition, classrooms-within-schools results indicate that classrooms in general and classrooms with higher percentages of ELL students tended to have lower percentages of students placed in special education in IC Teams schools. The presence of significant effects at the classroom level may indicate that the classroom is a better unit of analysis for investigating the effectiveness of the IC Team model during the first two to three years of implementation, when its greatest impact may be on teacher, as opposed to student, improvement. Despite its limitations, the present study represents the most rigorous investigation of the effect of IC Teams on student reading achievement to date, and serves as a foundation for future research using HLM to investigate the effects of the IC Team model on student and classroom outcomes.