• BAS Research
  • FPC Research
  • LLI Research
  • PWS Research

BAS Research

Benchmark Assessment System Research

Research Base

Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell are committed to the important role of research on reading in the ongoing development and evaluation of the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS). Find the latest research and efficacy on BAS below.

Research Base for BAS

Field Study of Reliability and Validity

A formative evaluation of the Benchmark Assessment System was conducted to ensure that (1) the leveling of the texts is reliable and (2) the reading scores are valid and accurately identify each student's reading level. The purpose of the study was twofold. The first was to examine every book, at every level, for the reliability of its designated level within a broader literacy framework and across corresponding fiction and nonfiction genres, i.e., is the readability of the books consistent across the fiction and nonfiction domains? For example, are the level G fiction and nonfiction books not only typical level G books, but do corresponding fiction and nonfiction books at this level have the same degree of readability? The second purpose of the evaluation was to determine the correlation between the Benchmark Assessment System and other reading assessments, i.e., to what extent is the Benchmark Assessment System associated with other valid reading assessments?

Read the Executive Summary

Read the Full Report

FPC Research

Fountas & Pinnell Classroom Research

Research Base

A Summary of the Research Base for Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

This resource reviews the research base for Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™, a cohesive, multi-text approach to literacy instruction for all students in grades PreK-6. The development of Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ rests on more than 25 years of classroom experience with proven results and incorporates leading thinking around literacy instruction, as well as research about how literacy develops in children over time. FPC is deeply rooted in decades of research-based professional books and curricular resources such as Leveled Literacy Intervention and Benchmark Assessment Systems. All Fountas and Pinnell’s curriculum systems were developed from this research and are intricately connected to and complement one another for true instructional coherence.

Review the FPC Research Base

LLI Research

Leveled Literacy Intervention Research

Research Base

Leveled Literacy Intervention, Grades K–2 (Levels A–N)

The development of LLI was driven by what prior research has established about how children learn to read, and what works best with struggling readers. Please refer to the research base for more information regarding the background research that provided the foundation for the development of this intervention system. 

Leveled Literacy Intervention, Grades 3–5+ (Levels L–W)

In this summary, Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell review the research base for the Red, Gold, and Purple systems, which is designed to lift the literacy achievement of students who are falling below grade level expectations in reading. The 15 principles on which the LLI Red, Gold, and Purple systems are based are discussed, along with a list of supporting research. The lesson framework for the extended systems of LLI rests on these principles. 

Independent Organizational Research

The What Works Clearinghouse LLI Effectiveness Study

The What Works Clearinghouse and the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) found Leveled Literacy Intervention to have a positive effect on general reading achievement and reading fluency based on a comprehensive review of available evidence. In the General Reading Achievement domain, the research indicated strong evidence of a positive effect with no overriding contrary evidence. In the two studies that reported findings, the estimated impact of LLI on outcomes in the general reading achievement domain was positive and statistically significant for two studies, both of which meet WWC group design standards without reservations. The extent of the available evidence is medium to large and included 747 students in 22 schools. In the Reading Fluency domain, the research indicated evidence of a positive effect with no overriding contrary evidence. In the one study that reported findings, the estimated impact of LLI on outcomes in the reading fluency domain was statistically significant and substantively important. This study included 281 students in nine schools.

Read the Report

Evidence for ESSA review of LLI K–2 

ESSA has reviewed the research on LLI, finding strong evidence of effectiveness for students in grades K-2. These findings are based on two independent, empirical studies conducted by The University of Memphis’s Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP). 

Read the Report

LLI K-2 Efficacy Studies

LLI Efficacy Study 2011-2012 – Urban Schools 

An additional independent LLI Efficacy Study was conducted by the Center for Research in Education Policy (CREP) at the University of Memphis examining the efficacy of LLI instruction on struggling readers in urban districts in Denver, Colorado. A total of 320 K–2 students participated in this mixed-methods randomized controlled trial (RCT) that included both quantitative and qualitative data. The students were matched demographically and randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. There were four key purposes of this study: (1) to determine the efficacy of the Leveled Literacy Intervention System (LLI) in increasing literacy achievement for urban K–2 students and associated student subgroups; (2) to examine LLI System implementation fidelity in urban settings; (3) to determine perceptions of the LLI System according to relevant stakeholders; and (4) to corroborate the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System with established literacy assessments (i.e., the Developmental Reading Assessment, 2nd Edition [DRA2] and the STAR Early Literacy Assessment). 

Review the Executive Summary

Read the Full Report

Independent Gold Standard LLI Efficacy Study 2009-2010 

Rural and Suburban Schools 

The LLI Efficacy Study was conducted by an independent research group, the Center for Research in Education Policy (CREP) at the University of Memphis. This scientific study looked at the impact of LLI instruction on struggling readers in two locations: the rural Tifton County Schools in GA and the suburban Enlarged School District of Middletown, NY. The LLI Efficacy study employed a randomized controlled trial, mixed-methods design and included both quantitative and qualitative data. Students were randomly selected for the treatment or control groups. A matched-pair design was used to ensure equivalency between treatment and control groups, and pre-post comparisons of student achievement in literacy were conducted. In addition, the study looked at the fidelity of LLI implementation. It included both independent observations and feedback from teachers and independent on-site researchers. These included two measures of reading achievement for evaluating students' progress in literacy; one observational tool for assessing teachers' LLI instructional practices; and two teacher surveys and focus groups to obtain teachers' and on-site researchers' feedback on LLI. 

Review the Executive Summary

Read the Full Report

LLI 3-5 Efficacy Studies

LLI Grades 3-5 Efficacy Study – Abilene Independent School District 

An independent research group, the Center for Research in Education Policy (CREP) at the University of Memphis conducted three separate studies evaluating the efficacy of Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) for students in grades 3-5 during the 2015-2016 school year. This report summarizes their findings for students in the Abilene Independent School District in Abilene, TX. A total of 548 students participated in this study, which used a mixed-methods design and included both quantitative and qualitative data. The students were matched demographically and assigned to treatment and control groups. There were three key purposes of this study: (1) to determine the efficacy of LLI in increasing literacy achievement for students in grades 3-5 and associated student subgroups; (2) to examine LLI program implementation fidelity in grades 3-5; and (3) to determine perceptions of the LLI system according to relevant stakeholders. 

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LLI Grades 3-5 Efficacy Study – Denver Public Schools 

An independent research group, the Center for Research in Education Policy (CREP) at the University of Memphis conducted three separate studies evaluating the efficacy of Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI)for students in grades 3-5 during the 2015-2016 school year. This report summarizes the findings for students in Denver Public Schools in Denver, CO. A total of 115 students participated in this study, which used a mixed-methods design and included both quantitative and qualitative data. The students were matched demographically and assigned to treatment and control groups. There were three key purposes of this study: (1) to determine the efficacy of LLI in increasing literacy achievement for students in grades 3-5 and associated student subgroups; (2) to examine LLI program implementation fidelity in grades 3-5; and (3) to determine perceptions of the LLI system according to relevant stakeholders.

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LLI Grades 3-5 Efficacy Study – Sandwich Public Schools 

An independent research group, the Center for Research in Education Policy (CREP) at the University of Memphis conduced three separate studies evaluating the efficacy of LLI for students in grades 3-5 during the 2015-2016 school year. This report summarizes the findings for students in Sandwich Public Schools in Sandwich, MA. A total of 105 students participated in this study, which used a mixed-methods design and included both quantitative and qualitative data. The students were matched demographically and assigned to treatment and control groups. There were three key purposes of this study: (1) to determine the efficacy of LLI in increasing literacy achievement for students in grades 305 and associated student subgroups; (2) to examine LLI program implementation fidelity in grades 3-5; and (3) to determine perceptions of the LLI system according to relevant stakeholders. 

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Heinemann LLI Research and Data Collection Project

2009/2010 

The Heinemann LLI Data Collection Project was conducted by Liz Ward, Ph.D., a researcher working for Heinemann under the direction of Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. This study was descriptive and described reading gains for students enrolled in the LLI System at 34 sites around the United States and Canada. Individual data forms reporting on student demographics, teacher experience, implementation parameters, and performance data for LLI students were completed by LLI teachers, collected at the district level, and sent to the researcher conducting the study. Each student's reading progress was determined by looking at their pre- and post-LLI instructional reading levels (ranging from Pre-A to Z), which were based on the F&P Text Level Gradient™. The instructional reading levels were obtained through the teachers' reports of their students' instructional reading levels, which were determined by administration of the Benchmark Assessment System or reading records or by the conversion to F&P levels on the teacher's reports of their students' score on other assessments including the DRA or DRA2, the Reading Recovery Observation Survey with Running Records, the PM Benchmark, and other reading assessments. The data were collected and reported for LLI students only. No control group was identified and assessed and therefore, the LLI student growth was compared to Fountas and Pinnell grade-level criteria for satisfactory progress. 

Review the Executive Summary

Three Canadian schools/districts participated in this data collection project. Read the summary reports to learn about the reading gains for students in the LLI program. 

There were also 31 US school districts who participated in the pilot. You can view these district reports at here.

Reading Progress for Special Education LLI students 

Heinemann's LLI Data Collection Project (2009-2010) included 824 kindergarten through fifth-grade students with an IEP for Reading or other categories (SPED). With LLI these students made an average of seven and a half months of progress in a little more than four and a half months. 

Review the Results

Reading Progress for English language learner LLI students 

Out of the total LLI student sample from Heinemann's LLI Data Collection Project (2009-2010), 925 of the kindergarten through fifth-grade students were reported to be English language learners (ELL). Learn how the reading progress of these English language learners accelerated in LLI 

Review the Results

2010/2011 

Read about the continuing use of LLI in the second report documenting Heinemann's own Research and Data Collection Project. This report analyzes data collected during 2010-2011 school year. Over 2,600 students from 114 schools from 11 states participated in this study. Results show on average a time equivalent gain in reading level of about 9 months after just 4.5 months of LLI instruction. 

Review the Executive Summary

PWS Research

Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Systems Research

Research Base: Phonics, Spelling and Word Study Systems (K-6)

Twelve Compelling Principles from the Research on Effective Phonics Instruction

In this document, we will explore the important findings—twelve compelling principles—from a large body of research. These principles rest on decades of research on literacy instruction and how literacy and language development in children over time, as well as on more than thirty years of our own extensive experience in classrooms across the country. A high-quality phonics design is based on what we know about how children learn to read, and it continuously expands their knowledge about words and how they work. (An essential foundation for the implementation of such a design is the teacher’s understanding of the content to be taught—the complexity and structure of language.)

Read PWS Research Base

The Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Systems

Explicit, Systematic, and Grounded in the Twelve Principles from Research

The Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Systems are grounded in twelve principles from research. In this document, we will identify how the Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Systems directly align with the twelve principles supported by research evidence.

Review the 12 Principles from Research

 
 

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