Using BEA to Modify Packaged Reading Interventions for

Using BEA to Modify Packaged Reading Interventions for

Using BEA to Modify Packaged Reading Interventions for
English Learners
Christopher Moua, MSE., Michael Axelrod, PhD, LP, NCSP & Melissa Coolong-Chaffin, PhD, NCSP, Mallory
Dernbach, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Method

Discussion

Participants.
Four elementary school-aged children, 2nd through 5th grade, attending summer school because of low academic standing.
They were referred by their EL teacher to a specialized reading intervention program.
All were enrolled in medium-sized Midwestern city public school system.
Two of the four primarily spoke Spanish in the home. The other two spoke predominantly Hmong in the home.
All four of the participants qualified for free or reduced lunch through the school district. Two of the students were residing at a
homeless shelter.

Results suggest that BEA methodology empiricallyselected reading fluency interventions for ELs. The
BEA were able to differentiate performance between
the three intervention conditions for all participants.
However, the empirically-selected intervention was
effective for only one participant when implemented
in the extended analysis. Several conclusions can be
drawn from these results. First, the length of the
extended analysis (i.e., approximately three weeks)
might not have provided participants enough time
develop skills and show positive gains in reading
fluency. Furthermore, ORF data becomes more
reliable after 6 weeks (Christ & Silberglitt, 2007).
Second, the ORF interventions used in the current
study, while empirically supported, might not
produce long-term improvements in ORF for EL
students. Finally, the BEA might have differentiated
performance for each participant but the selected
intervention might not have been the most
appropriate intervention for the three EL students
who did not respond to the extended analysis.
Perhaps a more comprehensive reading fluency
intervention was needed for those students. The
study did have some limitations. Individual
participant variables (e.g., homelessness, attention
or motivational issues) might have influenced
performance and, as stated above, the extended
analysis might not have been long enough to
produce expected gains. In conclusion, practitioners
working with EL students should consider using BEA
to select ORF interventions but other assessment
approaches might be needed to best select an
intervention approach. In addition, practitioners
should always consider individual student variables
when selecting an intervention. For example,
students with more significant skill deficits might
benefit from multiple intervention techniques
selected from BEAs and other assessment sources
(e.g., error analysis). Lastly, continued research will
be important to help determine the effectiveness of
BEA with EL students.

Abstract
The purpose of this study was twofold. First, the
study tested if Brief Experimental Analysis (BEA)
could be used to empirically-select a reading fluency
intervention for four English Learners (ELs). Second,
the study investigated if the selected interventions
would yield positive reading fluency outcomes when
modified into a prepackaged reading intervention
program for ELs. The study employed a
multielement design with three conditions and an
extended analysis to examine the effectiveness of
the empirically selected intervention when
implemented within the Read Naturally intervention
program. Results indicated that the BEA was able to
differentiate performance between the three
interventions. However, three of the four
participants did not exhibit gains in oral reading
fluency when exposed to the empirically-selected
intervention across three weeks. These results
contribute to the existing literature on using BEA to
support EL students and how can it can be used
within a packaged reading intervention.

Brief Experimental Analysis Intervention Conditions.
Listen Passage Preview (PP): The student followed along silently as the interventionist read the passage aloud. The student
then read the passage out loud, receiving corrective feedback as needed.
Word Preview (WP): The interventionist began by reading the first word of the passage aloud as the student listened. The
student was then instructed to read the same word. This procedure was continued until the whole passage was completely
read.
Sentence Preview (SP): The procedure begins with the interventionist reading the first sentence of the passage aloud as the
student listened. The student then read the same sentence, receiving feedback as needed. This was repeated for the entire
passage.
Procedures
First, BEAs were conducted to empirically-select reading interventions for each participant. Interventions were alternately
implemented and replications were done to determine the top two interventions. The top two interventions were alternated till
there were three replications of a clear winner. Once an intervention was selected, the Read Naturally intervention was
conducted. The Read Naturally intervention sessions were typically 45 minutes in length, 4 days a week, for approximately 3
weeks during the summer school session.
Measures.
Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) probes were used to measure outcomes. ORF outcomes were measured by how many words a
student could accurately read within 1 min. Data were collected at the beginning of each session using FAST probes.

Results

Introduction
Reading is an essential skill for success, yet many
children still struggle with reading in America. In
2011, 32% of 4th graders were reading below a basic
level (NAEP , 2011). Children who are English
Learners (EL) are even more likely to have difficulties
with English reading proficiency resulting in a
multitude of academic achievement issues (e.g.,
drop out, special education referrals, retention). On
top of these challenges, there is a lack of research on
evidence based interventions to support ELs. Brief
experimental analysis (BEA) methodology is one
approach that can be used to test various
interventions or instructional models to determine
which might benefit the individuals reading
performance the most. BEAs were developed to
address some of the common factors that can affect
performance: motivation, modeling, practice, a task
being done differently, and feedback (Daly, Witt,
Martens, and Dool, 1997). The BEA procedure is
used to empirically-select a promising intervention
for the individual. A meta-analysis examining the
research on BEA found that the average increase in
oral reading fluency was approximately 30 words
read correct per minute or a 73% increase over the
baseline median (Burns and Wagner, 2008). BEA not
only individualizes interventions but can be a
beneficial tool to determine which interventions
actually work before investing time on an
intervention that may or may not benefit an
individual.

140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
-20

VLs Reading Progress: Passage Preview

VL 5th Grade

WP

SP

PP

SP

PP

SP

Baseline

Treatment

Change

140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
.. .
/
7
7/

PP

100
80
60
40
20
SP

WP

PP

Baseline

Treatment

WP

PP

WP

Change

YL 3rd Grade
100
80
60
40
20
0

PP

WP

SP

PP

Baseline

Treatment

SP

PP

SP

100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
...
/
7
7/

40

80

30

60

20

40

10

20

Baseline

PP
Treatment

1
7/

...
/
6

2
7/

...
/
2

2
7/

...
/
3

2
7/

.. .
/
4

WRCM
Linear (WRCM)
Errors

Acknowledgments
WRCM
Linear (WRCM)
Errors

...
/
8
7/

...
/
9
7/

...
/
10
/
7

...
/
14
/
7

...
/
15
/
7

...
/
16
/
7

...
/
17
/
7

...
/
22
/
7

...
/
23
/
7

...
/
24
/
7

60

100

WP

1
7/

...
/
5

70
50

SP

1
7/

...
/
4

NLs Reading Progress: Passage Preview

120

PP

1
7/

...
/
0

YLs Reading Progress: Sentence Preview

Change

NL 2nd Grade

0

...
/
9
7/

80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
.. .
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
. ..
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
7
8
9
10
14
15
16
17
21
22
23
24
7/
7/
7/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7

120

PP

...
/
8
7/

DLs Reading Progress: Passage Preview

DL 3rd Grade

0

WRCM
Linear (WRCM)
Errors

WP
Change

PP

WP

/2
7
7/

0
4
1
0

WRCM
Linear (WRCM)
Errors

/2
8
7/

4
1
0

/2
9
7/

4
1
0

1
7/

...
/
0

1
7/

. ..
/
4

1
7/

...
/
5

1
7/

...
/
6

2
7/

...
/
2

2
7/

...
/
3

2
7/

...
/
4

We would like to thank our undergraduate student
assistant, Jessa Quick, for her time and dedication.
Funding for this study was provided by the UWEC
Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

References
Burns, M.K. & Wagner, D. (2008) Determining an effective intervention within a brief
experimental analysis for reading: A meta-analytic review. School Psychology Review,
37(1), 126-136. Retrieved from
http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.uwec.edu/ehost/detail?vid=26&sid=7a291d21-276e4bb2-9759-48fd1ff4d18c
%40sessionmgr4002&hid=4207&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHVpZCZzaXRlPWVob3N0LW
xpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=psyh&AN=2008-04355-011
Christ, T. J., & Silberglitt, B. (2007). Estimates of the standard error of measurement for
curriculum-based measures of oral reading fluency. School Psychology Review, 36, 130
146.
Daly, E. J., III, Witt, J. C., Martens, B. K., & Dool, E. J. (1997) A model for conducting a
functional analysis of academic performance problems. School Psychology Review, 26,
554-574. Retrieved from
http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.uwec.edu/ehost/detail?vid=32&sid=7a291d21-276e-4
bb2-9759-48fd1ff4d18c%40sessionmgr4002&hid=4207&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHVp
ZCZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=psyh&AN=1997-39023-00
2
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). (2011) The NAEP reading achievement
levels by grade. Retrieved from
http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/reading/achieveall.asp

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