Metis is excited to be undertaking two new evaluations of Wilson Language Training’s (WLT) Fundations® program in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and the Wayne Highlands School District (WHSD) in Pennsylvania. Fundations® is a supplemental program designed to provide a systematic approach to foundational literacy skills. It should be combined with a core literature-based language arts program for an integrated and comprehensive reading and spelling approach. Fundations® serves as a prevention program to help reduce reading and spelling failure. The program operates within a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) or Response to Intervention (RTI) framework, providing research-based instruction in Tier 1 and early intervention (Tier 2) for struggling readers. Both evaluations will focus on implementing Fundations® in grades K-2 using retrospective outcome data provided by the districts.
For DCPS, six cohorts of students who have received Fundations® instruction since 2013-14 will be longitudinally followed through 2018-19. Matched comparison groups for each Fundations® cohort will be derived using propensity score matching (PSM) methodology. Each treatment student will be matched to a comparison based on key demographics, school attendance, and baseline (i.e., before intervention) academic achievement. By developing comparison groups similar to the Fundations® groups before the intervention, any academic gains after implementation could be confidently attributed to the Fundations® intervention.
For WHSD, three cohorts of students who have received Fundations® instruction since 2016-17 will be longitudinally followed through 2018-19. A comparison group will be compiled from students who attended the district before Fundations® implementation (i.e., 2015-16). The Metis team will generate multiple regression models from available variables, including student demographics, attendance rates, pre-achievement (i.e., DIBELS) scores, and cohort, to predict ELA outcomes. The analyses will also determine the relationship between student performance and implementation of Fundations®.
According to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) tiers of evidence, both planned evaluations will be undertaken soon to augment the Fundations® evidence base.