Findings From a Multiyear Scale-Up Effectiveness Trial of Open Court Reading

Michael Vaden-Kiernan, Geoffrey Borman, Sarah Caverly, Nance Bell, Kate Sullivan, Veronica Ruiz de Castilla, Grace Fleming, Debra Rodriguez, Chad Henry, Tracy Long, Debra Hughes Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This multiyear scale-up effectiveness study of Open Court Reading (OCR) involved approximately 4,500 students and more than 1,000 teachers per year in Grades K–5 from 49 elementary schools in seven districts across the country. Using a school-level cluster randomized trial design, we assessed the implementation and effectiveness of Open Court Reading over two years. Implementation study results demonstrated adequate to high levels of fidelity across the treatment schools. Intent-to-treat analyses revealed no statistically significant main effects on students’ reading performance in Year 1 and a small negative effect (d = –.09) in Year 2. There were positive impacts for particular subgroups, including kindergarten (d =.12) and Hispanic (d =.10) students in the first year. However, there were negative impacts for first grade (d = –.13), females (d = –.11), students who were not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (d = –.19), and non-English language learners (d = –.10) in the second year of the study. Thus, relative to the “business-as-usual” reading curricula, no positive overall impacts of OCR and mixed impacts for student subgroups were found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-132
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Research on Educational Effectiveness
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Open Court Reading (OCR)
  • cluster randomized trial
  • reading curriculum
  • reading performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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