Sustaining continued acceleration in reading comprehension achievement following an intervention

  • Mei Kuin LaiEmail author
  • Stuart McNaughton
  • Helen Timperley
  • Selena Hsiao


Schooling improvement initiatives have demonstrated that moderate but significant achievement gains are possible with well designed interventions, but there is little research into whether these gains can be sustained. The present study examines the extent to which acceleration in achievement made during a three-year literacy intervention and the associated school-based practices were continued. Statistical modelling showed continued acceleration in student achievement (four months in addition to expected progress) at a rate similar to the intervention. The school-based practices associated with sustainability were part of a process of change (rather than a specific instructional programme) comprising two dimensions — organisational learning through ongoing inquiry into solving problems arising from teaching and learning and the development of professional learning communities to promote organisational learning. Effectiveness was enhanced by schools embedding the process into their normal school routines as part of a coherent instructional programme and the availability of expertise.


Literacy Sustainability Academic achievement 



This project is the result of a close collaboration between the leaders and teachers in seven schools in Mangere and members of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre. We wish to acknowledge the professional expertise of the teachers and leaders in the schools. The achievements described in this report derive from their expert participation as partners. The support and contributions from their school communities including their Boards of Trustees are also acknowledged.

Colleagues from the New Zealand Ministry of Education, both locally and nationally, have been involved at each stage and have been valued members of the collaboration with the schools and the researchers. We wish to thank those colleagues for their high level policy and research based contributions.

The research and development programme received funding from the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (New Zealand Council for Educational Research), the Woolf Fisher Trust and the New Zealand Ministry of Education.

We also wish to acknowledge the members of our research team, Angela McNicholl, Sasha Farry and Sophie Kercher, who have supported the project.

The Woolf Fisher Research Centre is a centre of the University of Auckland, supported by Auckland UniServices Limited, and receives funding and support from the Woolf Fisher Trust, the University of Auckland and Manukau Institute of Technology.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mei Kuin Lai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stuart McNaughton
    • 1
  • Helen Timperley
    • 2
  • Selena Hsiao
    • 1
  1. 1.Woolf Fisher Research CentreThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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