In the 2012–2013 school year, all second- and third-graders in Dallas ISD – a total of 25,000 students – used the Reasoning Mind program. Students in second grade took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) at the end of the year, while students in third grade took the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). This summary lists the key findings for the year; a detailed research report will be released later.
Third-grade STAAR performance
The Reasoning Mind curriculum consists of a sequence of “objectives.” The number of objectives a student completes measures how extensively and faithfully the program was used. Students who completed more objectives scored higher on the STAAR, even when grouped with students with similar prior test scores. Each line in the graph below represents a group of students with similar 2012 ITBS standard scores while each column represents the mean 2013 STAAR scale scores for students who met each quartile of Reasoning Mind objectives. For instance, the orange line represents students who had 2012 ITBS standard scores between 201 and 220. Each number on the orange line represents the mean 2013 STAAR scale score for students who met each quartile of objectives. This graph indicates that groups of students who met more objectives tended to have higher STAAR scale scores than their peers with similar prior test achievement who had fewer objectives.
Second-grade Iowa Test of Basic Skills
As in the previous year, there was a strong association between Reasoning Mind objectives met and grade equivalent growth on the ITBS in 2012–2013. Students in the top quartile of objectives completed increased an average of 1.36 grade equivalents. Similar patterns of growth held across all student ethnic groups.
Teachers and principals support the program
Teachers and principals continue to enthusiastically support the program. Among principals, 94 percent believe that the program benefits students. Majorities of teachers affirm that the program improves students’ reasoning skills, independence, and confidence.
Reasoning Mind recommends that all participating teachers receive implementation support. However, only some teachers at Dallas ISD were enrolled by the district into the support program. The results indicate that support for teachers makes a difference: supported teachers found the program to be more effective, and their students’ passing rates grew more by between one and three percentage points.
A note on research methodology
To provide the strongest evidence for a causal relationship, a study with students randomly assigned to program and control conditions would be needed. Because this is not the case here, correlational analyses were done instead.
This document has been reviewed and authorized for publication by the Dallas Independent School District Department of Evaluation and Assessment.