Effects of data-based instruction for students with intensive early writing needs: A randomized control trial

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which Data-Based Instruction (DBI) was effective in improving early writing performance of students with intensive needs depending on their special education status and types of writing skills. The extent to which DBI is feasible to implement was examined as a secondary purpose. A pretest-posttest control group design was used. Forty-eight students identified as at risk or with disabilities that affect their writing skills were assigned randomly within classrooms to either treatment or control conditions. Students in the treatment condition received DBI by six trained tutors three times per week, for 30 min per day, over 12 weeks. Students in the control condition received business as usual writing instruction in their classrooms. Students' writing performance was measured by Curriculum-Based Measures in Writing (CBM-W) and the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ III) writing subtests (Spelling, Writing Fluency, and Writing Samples) before and after the treatment. Tutors were asked to rate the feasibility, usefulness, and their overall satisfaction with DBI at the end of the study. Results of multivariate analyses of variance revealed a significant main effect of DBI for CBM-W. There was no significant main effect of DBI found for the WJ III writing subtests; however, a significant interaction between special education status and treatment condition was found, whereby students with disabilities in the treatment condition outperformed control students with disabilities. Tutors' positive ratings on the feasibility survey indicate the potential of DBI to be implemented in schools. Limitations followed by implications for research and practice are discussed.
Authors citation
Jung, P. G.
Year of Study
Program Evaluated
Data-Based Instruction (DBI)
Tutor Type
12 weeks
Sample size
Grade Level(s)
1st Grade,
2nd Grade
Student-Tutor Ratio
Effect Size
Study Design
Randomized Controlled Trial
Jung, P. G. (2015). Effects of data-based instruction for students with intensive early writing needs: A randomized control trial