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EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

U.S. Department of Education; The Chesapeake Institute; Peloy Endowment Funds; and the National Committee on Learning Disabilities
Research on Interventions for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis of Outcomes Related to Higher-Order Processing

Swanson, H. L. (2001).
Elementary School Journal, 101(3), 331-348.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question Yes
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes*
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible No

Description: This is a meta-analysis of experimental research related to higher-order processing (i.e., problem solving) for adolescents with learning disabilities (LDs).

Question(s) Addressed:

  1. In studies dealing with higher-order processing (i.e., problem solving) for adolescents with LDs, is the magnitude of effect size (ES) related to certain instructional components?
  2. In studies dealing with higher-order processing for adolescents with LDs, does a variation in the definition of learning disability yield significant differences in the magnitude of ESs?

Population: Learning disabled adolescents (11 years or older) with IQs greater than 84 or those whose IQs were reported in the “average range”.

Intervention/Assessment: 45 instruction activities that were clustered into 18 instructional components (See p. 337)

Number of Studies Included: 58

Years Included: 1963 - 1997



"Only the [combination of instructional components including] advanced organization, new content/skills, and extended practice predicted ESs, suggesting that a high saturation of [instructional] components does not increase performance. We found that extended practice was particularly important toward increasing the magnitude of treatment outcomes." (p. 343)

Keywords: Learning Disabilities, Problem Solving

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*Additional details about the search strategy can be found in:

Swanson, H.L. (1999). "Instructional Components that Predict Treatment Outcomes for Students with Learning Disabilities: Support for a Combined Strategy and Direct Instruction Model". Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 17, 129-140.

Added to Compendium: March 2012

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