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Comprehensive Intervention Model for Maine Empowers ‘In the Moment’ Learning

Educators and parents avow that Reading Recovery  — an early intervention, short-term, one-on-one prevention initiative for first-graders having difficulty reading and writing — opens doors to learning and creates opportunities for children.

The thousands of children who enjoy reading and are reading well are proof.

Brian Doore, assistant research professor in the University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development, figured out a way to strengthen the life-changing initiative by analyzing Reading Recovery data within a comprehensive intervention model.

Doore and his wife, Stacy, a UMaine doctoral student in spatial engineering and a research associate at the Center for Research and Evaluation at UMaine, designed the prototype for Comprehensive Intervention Model for Maine (CIMME) — a Web-based data collection entry system for educators.

Teachers plug in a student’s data, including instructional hours, number of absences, books read, average text level gain, average writing vocabulary gain, as well as notes and comments. With CIMME, teachers are able to make up-to-the-second instructional decisions to best help the student.

The system displays children’s learning trajectories in various forms, including line charts and motion graphs.

Kit Cuddy was lead programmer on the CIMME project and Quansheng Song supervised. Cuddy, Song and CRE director Craig Mason refined and added functionality to the system so it could be offered to schools throughout Maine and in nine other states, Doore says.

Often times, says Doore, educators utilize summative assessments — think midterms and finals. These tests seek to determine whether students learned — past tense — the material.

This data collection system provides a formative assessment — in real time. “We’re focused on what they are learning,” Doore says.

Because the graphs show the child’s reading knowledge at that moment, educators can determine what instructional strategy will be most beneficial at that moment in time.

“The right question (for teachers) is, ‘What does the child need to learn and what do I need to teach next?’” Doore says.

For Doore, a former special education and regular education teacher, the objective is “for all children to make progress and be successful.”

Because teachers, teacher leaders and administrators in different locations can simultaneously view the information on their computers, they can collectively brainstorm about how best to proceed.

The data provides a detailed picture of individual literacy interventions and that becomes the catalyst for coaching conversations around how to accelerate students’ learning.

Teachers can follow a student’s long-term progression in one school system and, if a student moves, Doore says educators in the new school can immediately access the data so there’s no gap in services for the youth.

“It’s an empowering model instead of a deficit model,” says Mary Rosser, director of the University Training Center for Reading Recovery at UMaine.

“Rather than contemplating what we could have, should have and would have done, it’s an opportunity to look at where we are we now and what can we do, in the moment, to accelerate learning.”

In order to increase access to the system, Doore and Rosser have teamed up with partners from across the country to submit multiple federal grants.

Additional funding, says Doore, would allow CIMME to be available to more students and teachers across the country and support improved outcomes and accelerated learning for children through educators’ increased ability to engage in systematic, data-based, instructional decision-making.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777


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UMaine News
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
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