Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 31–50 | Cite as

Improving Middle-School Students’ Knowledge and Comprehension in Social Studies: a Replication

  • Sharon Vaughn
  • Greg Roberts
  • Elizabeth A. Swanson
  • Jeanne Wanzek
  • Anna-Mária Fall
  • Stephanie J. Stillman-Spisak


This study aimed to replicate findings that demonstrated impact on students’ reading comprehension and social studies content learning. Using a randomized control trial, intervention, and outcome measures, this study was replicated in 85 8th-grade social studies classes with 19 teachers. Teachers were provided professional development on comprehension canopy, essential words, knowledge acquisition, and the use of team-based learning. Measures of reading comprehension administered at pre- and post-testing and measure of vocabulary and knowledge acquisition was administered at pre-, post-, and two follow-up times, 4 and eight weeks following treatment. On the measure of vocabulary and knowledge acquisition, students in the treatment condition outperformed those in the comparison condition at all time points. There were no statistically significant differences for reading comprehension.


Middle school Reading comprehension Social studies Content learning Replication 



The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education, through Grant R305F100013 to The University of Texas at Austin as part of the Reading for Understanding Research Initiative. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the US Department of Education.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Vaughn
    • 1
  • Greg Roberts
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Swanson
    • 1
  • Jeanne Wanzek
    • 2
  • Anna-Mária Fall
    • 1
  • Stephanie J. Stillman-Spisak
    • 1
  1. 1.The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational RiskThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Florida Center for Reading ResearchFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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