The DoED press release clipped in part below is interesting, though not complete. There are also questions of trustworthiness of the report. One must never take a single study as being true on its face. Rather serious critical questions must be raised about why one should trust the results. Questions like:
+ Who funded the study?
+ Is there independent evidence to corroborate the findings?
+ What is the purpose for undertaking the study?
In the case of this work, the study is internally funded by the DoED and, therefore, is suspect. It is sort of like trusting a study whose findings advise parents to delay toilet training for their children that was funded by the manufacturer of Pampers. The investigators have a bone to pick because their patrons have a bone to pick.
Is there independent evidence to corroborate the findings in this study. The fact is no, there is not. In fact, there is a wealth of evidence that is in direct conflict with the results of this particular study.
One can only assume that the DoED funded this study in order to show how good Reading First and NCLB really is. This is not an independent reason for conducting such a study. Rather it is further evidence that the discredited notion that educational progress can be determined by reducing all learning to a single test score number causes teachers to teach to improve that number no matter what impact that teaching might have on the students they teach.
Sorry, but I have to dissent from the DoED. Reading First and NCLB are flawed policies and must be significantly revised.