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Full-Text Articles in Education

Reading Excellence Act: Professional Development And Teacher Practice First Year Implementation In East Tennessee., Sherry Ellen Shroyer Dec 2003

Reading Excellence Act: Professional Development And Teacher Practice First Year Implementation In East Tennessee., Sherry Ellen Shroyer

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

When the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported in 1998 that 70 percent of fourth grade children in the United States were reading just at (31%) or below the basic grade level (39%), this astounding fact resulted in national attention and political intervention. At the same time, the National Research Council published their 25 years of researched findings in their book, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). The national reactions to these reports were strong and included new initiatives for overcoming this emerging national problem. One such initiative was the implementation of the national Reading Excellence Act (REA).

The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the required REA staff and professional development activities and to determine whether these activities impacted classroom instruction. The study was limited to REA schools in East Tennessee during the first year of implementation. Staff and professional development activities were centered on the essential elements of reading and the educational term of “balanced reading” was embraced. The essential elements of balanced literacy, as delineated by the National Reading Panel include phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension instruction.

Data were collected using a teacher survey measuring teacher perception prior to and during REA implementation. Observational data were collected using identical paired observations, gathered on two occasions by the REA state consultant during official visits. A series of paired t-tests were used to determine whether there were significant pre-to-post changes in teacher perception of their teaching practice and pre-to-post changes in classroom observations. The overall alpha level or “significance level” was set at .05 for each significance test.

From this study, teacher perception of classroom practice was significantly improved; however, classroom observations did not correlate with those findings. It is assumed that as teacher perception changes, a change of teacher practice will likely follow.


Crystallizing Alex: A Qualitative Case Study Of What Influences One Second Grade Teacher's Literacy Instruction, Jill Ostrow Aug 2003

Crystallizing Alex: A Qualitative Case Study Of What Influences One Second Grade Teacher's Literacy Instruction, Jill Ostrow

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

New teachers face enormous pressure- to understand and assess student learning, to work well with parents, and to ensure their curricula are aligned with state and national standards. Nowhere is this pressure more evident than in literacy instruction, where competing notions of best practice can be confusing and overwhelming. This qualitative case study of an early career teacher, Alex Christopher, explores in-depth what influences her second grade literacy program. Her decisionmaking process during reading and writing instruction is analyzed within the context of local, state and national literacy reform initiatives, university/school partnerships, and professional development opportunities. Alex was selected ...


Lessons From Ellen: A Case Study Investigation Of Comprehension Strategy Instruction In Action, Suzanne Kaback May 2003

Lessons From Ellen: A Case Study Investigation Of Comprehension Strategy Instruction In Action, Suzanne Kaback

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

In the past ten years, reading comprehension instruction has received significant attention from educational researchers. Drawing on studies from cognitive psychology, reader response theory, and language arts research, current best practice in reading comprehension instruction is characterized by a strategies approach in which students are taught to think like proficient readers who visualize, infer, activate schema, question, and summarize as they read. Studies investigating the impact of comprehension strategy instruction on student achievement in reading suggest that when implemented consistently the intervention has a positive effect on achievement. Research also shows, however, that few teachers embrace this approach to reading ...


Factors Influencing Grade Six Students' Perceptions Of Teachers, Susan Smith Laplante Jan 2003

Factors Influencing Grade Six Students' Perceptions Of Teachers, Susan Smith Laplante

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Less than one percent of U.S. school districts have invited student feedback in the school improvement process (Matthews, 2000). Students have valuable perceptions of how teachers interact with them and these perceptions can be a usefbl tool to improve schools (Tyack & Cuban). The purpose of this study was to examine sixth grade students' perceptions of teachers and the relationship of these perceptions to achievement, gender, socioeconomic status and grade configurations. This study utilized sixth graders' responses to sixteen items selected fiom the Students Speak: My Education and My Future Aspirations survey developed at the National Center for Student Aspirations ...