A set of measures was individually administered to all study participants prior to and immediately following the treatment period. The set included tests of rapid naming, phonological awareness, reading words, and spelling.
Rapid naming. There were two rapid naming measures, the first of which was Rapid Letter Naming, given to assess letter recognition. It consisted of upper and lower case letters presented randomly in black type on a single sheet of paper. Students were instructed to name the letters as quickly as they could. The score was recorded as the number of letters named correctly in 1min. The Rapid Letter Sound test is based on a measure used by Levy and Lysunchuk (1997) and was developed for use in a previous PALS study (D. Fuchs, Fuchs, Thompson, Al Otaiba et al., 2001). All 26 letters of the alphabet were presented randomly in black type on a sheet of paper. Students were instructed to say the sounds as quickly as they could. The score was recorded as the number of sounds produced correctly in 1min.
Phonological awareness. The ability to segment words into phonemes correlates highly with future reading ability (Torgesen et al., 1997). A segmentation test based on the Yopp-Singer test (Yopp, 1988) and developed for use in previous PALS studies (e.g., D. Fuchs, Fuchs, Thompson, Al Otaiba et al., 2001) was administered. Students were instructed to say the sounds in each word provided. One point was recorded for each correct phoneme. The score was recorded as the number of phonemes expressed correctly in 1min.
A blending task, again developed previously (D. Fuchs, Fuchs, Thompson, Al Otaiba et al., 2001), measured students' ability to blend phonemes into words. One point was recorded for each correctly blended word. For example, if the examiner said "s-oa-p," the student earned 1 point for saying "soap." Two scores were recorded: a timed score (the number of words blended correctly in 1min) and an untimed score (the total number of words blended correctly).
Reading words. The Word Identification and Word Attack subtests of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised (WRMT-R; Woodcock, 1987) were given to measure word recognition and decoding skills. Scores on the Word Identification and Word Attack subtests correlate highly with other tests of reading, and internal consistency exceeds .80.
Spelling. The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT; Psychological Corporation, 1992) spelling subtest was administered. Students were instructed to write letters and words on a sheet of paper. Two scores were recorded: a standard score based on words written correctly, and a developmental score that allowed partial credit for including key spelling patterns. The WIAT correlates well (.70s to .80s) with other individually administered achievement tests, and has a test-retest reliability coefficient of .94.
Near-transfer reading passages. Two "near-transfer" passages were administered to all PALS participants at posttest. The stories are similar to PALS stories in terms of words used, style, and format. Students were instructed to read the stories quickly and correctly. The score was recorded as the number of words read correctly in 1min.
Far-transfer reading passages and comprehension. Two "far-transfer" reading passages, taken from the Comprehensive Reading Assessment Battery (CRAB; L. Fuchs, Fuchs, & Hamlett, 1989), were administered to all PALS students. The passages are traditional folktales. Students were instructed to read the stories quickly and correctly. The score is recorded as the number of words read correctly in 1min. Test-retest reliability for the fluency measure ranges from .93 to .96, and concurrent validity with the comprehension subtest of the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) is .91 (L. Fuchs, Fuchs, & Maxwell, 1988). The passages were followed by 10 open-ended comprehension questions. For the number of questions answered correctly, test-retest reliability is .92; the correlation with the SAT is .82 (L. S. Fuchs et al.).
Chapter tests. Research staff developed seven chapter tests. These tests covered material presented in PALS lessons. The tests were cumulative and untimed, and included sounds and words that had been introduced before the test was administered. The score was recorded as the percentage of sounds and words read correctly.
Dolch probes. Research staff developed the Dolch probes for this study. These probes are equivalent forms of 100 sight words selected randomly from a pool of 126 high frequency words. Students were instructed to read the words quickly and correctly. The score was recorded as the number of words read correctly in 1min.
Nonword Fluency Probes. The Nonword Fluency probes (Good & Kaminski, 2001) consist of consonant-vowel-consonant and vowel-consonant nonwords. Students were instructed to say the individual sounds of the letters or read the whole word. The score is recorded as the total number of phonemes pronounced correctly in 1 min. Alternate-form reliability is .83, concurrent validity with the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised (WJ-R) Readiness Cluster is .36, and predictive validity with the WJ-R Total Reading Cluster is .66 (Good et al., 2002).