AIM Coaching IES
AIM Coaching is the third phase in a program of work to impact literacy outcomes for middle school struggling readers and students with disabilities:
- Phase I (funded by the Institute of Education Sciences) included the successful evaluation of the Promoting Adolescents’ Comprehension of Text (PACT) intervention through a series of highly controlled randomized controlled trials that established PACT as impactful across a range of learners.
- Phase 2 (funded by the Office of Special Education Programs) extended PACT to science, social studies, and English language arts as a schoolwide Tier 1 model. Though students with disabilities benefited from the schoolwide implementation of PACT, we were struck by the difficulty teachers experienced sustaining practices over time and realized they needed ongoing support adapted to meet their learning and teaching needs.
- Phase 3 (funded by the Institute of Education Sciences), the current phase, is focused on developing AIM Coaching to provide ongoing professional development and support to teachers as they implement PACT. We believe that this ongoing professional development will lead to greater PACT implementation fidelity. This, in turn, will affect student literacy outcomes.
AIM Coaching OSEP
The three primary goals of the AIM Coaching grant, funded through the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), are to
1) Gain a better understanding of how to implement and sustain school-wide models that encourage instruction in evidence-based vocabulary and comprehension practices across Tier 1 English language arts, social studies, and science classes and in Tiers 2-3 reading intervention and special education classes,
2) to increase knowledge about the implementation, efficacy, and sustainability of AIM Coaching when it is implemented under routine conditions, and
3) to increase availability of evidence-based technical assistance on PD, coaching, and school-wide adolescent literacy models. The outcomes of the grant will establish what infrastructures, personnel, and processes are needed for an effective coaching system to be implemented and maintained at schools. This includes an administrator component to examine the levels of support needed for the coaches to sustain the model. Finally, as a part of disseminating the research to schools, the research team will develop a virtual version of the coaching model.
The goal of the Promoting Adolescents’ Comprehension of Text (PACT) project, funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), was to identify the key processes required to enhance reading comprehension outcomes. Based on what we learned from a key series of cognitive science experiments, the PACT instructional practices were designed to be used in content area classes to support students’ overall subject area knowledge and reading comprehension. Working closely with a group of expert content area teachers, researchers identified the following evidence-based PACT instructional practices:
- Comprehension canopy: An engaging springboard into the lesson
- Essential words: Key vocabulary related to the unit
- Knowledge acquisition: Text-based instruction and reading
- TBL Comprehension Checks: Text based discussion paired with quiz
- TBL Knowledge application: Content knowledge applied to a novel, engaging activity
Findings from multiple randomized controlled trials and quasi-experiments provide evidence that PACT impacts content knowledge, vocabulary, and informational text reading comprehension among students without disabilities (Vaughn et al., 2013; 2015), struggling readers (Swanson et al., 2017; Vaughn et al., 2019), students with disabilities (Swanson et al., 2015; Wanzek et al., 2015), and English learners (Vaughn et al., 2017; Wanzek et al., 2015).
PACT Plus, funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), worked to refine a tiered approach to improve reading outcomes for middle school students with disabilities and significant reading difficulties. At the Tier 1 level, PACT was implemented in science, social studies, and English language arts classes. At the Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels, PACT was implemented with modifications to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. During our work in middle schools in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., we realized the need for systematic coaching across a range of teacher skill and willingness to work with a coach. Through this experience, we started developing a prototype of AIM Coaching.