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Article
Publication date: 29 September 2020

Jason Michael Miller

Many states are restructuring their US history state assessments to include written-response assessment items that evaluate students' literacy skills in high-stakes…

Abstract

Purpose

Many states are restructuring their US history state assessments to include written-response assessment items that evaluate students' literacy skills in high-stakes environments. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the addition of an extended-response item to a US history state assessment was associated with an increase in the racial achievement gap.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical framework included linguistic complexity of standardized assessment items and academic language demand and utilized a difference-in-difference research design.

Findings

The findings indicate that the achievement gap between students of color and White students increased when an extended-response assessment item was added to an exclusively multiple-choice item exam and that this increase in the achievement gap may be contributed to a literacy gap.

Research limitations/implications

The continued investigation of how students of color perform on different types of extended-response standardized assessment items. And, the continued investigation of evidenced-based instructional practices that focus on developing students' literacy skills in US history as well as culturally responsive instructional practices.

Practical implications

The knowledge and implementation of literacy instruction and culturally responsive instruction in US history classrooms as well as in preservice teacher education programs and in-service professional development programs.

Originality/value

The current study is one of the first large-scale investigations into the racial achievement gap on US history written-response standardized assessment items and in identifying a literacy gap between students of color and White students on US history written-response state assessment items.

Details

Social Studies Research and Practice, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1933-5415

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Rachel Williamson and Rebecca Jesson

This paper aims to investigate the viability of blogging over the summer holidays as an intervention to ameliorate the Summer Learning Effect (SLE) in writing. The SLE is…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the viability of blogging over the summer holidays as an intervention to ameliorate the Summer Learning Effect (SLE) in writing. The SLE is the impact on achievement of taking a break from school over summer, and has been documented to affect differentially those students who come from low socioeconomic status (SES) communities compared with their more affluent peers. However, previous studies within similar communities suggest that the effect is not inevitable, and is amenable to intervention.

Design/methodology/approach

The present study is set in a group of low SES schools where students already have individual learning blogs. The Summer Learning Journey was designed by the research team in consultation with students and teachers from the schools and trialled in January 2015. The design of the programme drew on previous research that suggested that students would be motivated by interest, rather than achievement, and that literacy activity over summer should be leisure-based.

Findings

Initial evidence suggests that students who participated made measurable improvements compared with their own progress over the previous summer and also compared with a matched control group of students, and that the observed difference continued over the 2016 school year.

Research limitations/implications

The study provides initial evidence of quite substantial differences in achievement for those students who were active bloggers.

Originality/value

The study provides an alternative direction from current summer learning programmes and indicates the potential for designing digital opportunities for learning at times when the school is not in session.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

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Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2019

Kathryn H. Au and Taffy E. Raphael

Purpose – This chapter discusses the application of the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) to school change and the learning of groups of leaders, teachers, and…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter discusses the application of the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) to school change and the learning of groups of leaders, teachers, and students. Specifically, the authors describe the Seven Levels to Success, a model for school change that supports teachers in building their school’s own staircase (coherent) curriculum in literacy. The authors discuss the effectiveness of this model for capacity building – giving schools a “deep bench” of leaders and teachers who can sustain improved student achievement over a period of years.

Design/Methodology/Approach – The theoretical underpinning of this research is provided by the Vygotsky Space, a construct that shows how learning may be understood in terms of the intersections of collective and individual actions, and public and private settings. This construct allows us to understand what drives a school’s advancement through the Seven Levels and how that advancement can be restarted after it has been slowed or interrupted. The authors report findings about school change from 20 years of work in 264 elementary and secondary schools, reflecting a wide range of students and communities across the United States.

Findings – While schools’ typical advancement in the Seven-Level model is neither steady nor linear, it adheres to an overall pattern: Leaders must take ownership first, followed by teachers and then students. To build their school’s staircase curriculum, teachers must see themselves as creators rather than consumers of curriculum. Teachers who see themselves as creators take ownership of their curriculum. Their deep understanding of the curriculum promotes continuous improvements and related success in improving their students’ literacy learning. Four case examples illustrate change in a variety of school settings, providing existence proofs of how the Seven-Level model functions to improve students’ literacy learning.

Research Limitations/Implications – The authors highlight the importance of the school as the unit of analysis in change efforts, and of understanding a school’s progress over time. The authors emphasize considering the role of multiple constituencies, beginning with school leaders and encompassing teachers, students, and families. One implication of this study is that more attention should be paid to the role of school leaders – administrators, curriculum coordinators, and teacher leaders – in setting the stage for sustainable improvement.

Practical Implications – The authors provide guidance to practitioners working on school change within the framework of the Seven Levels to Success and other social constructivist models. Specifically, the authors give examples of relevant actions external consultants and school leaders take at critical junctures in a school’s progress.

Originality/Value of Paper – This chapter breaks new ground in applying the GRR model and the Vygotsky Space to the area of school change in literacy. Summarizing 20 years of work with the Seven-Level model demonstrates potential of teacher-developed curricula for the sustainable improvement of students’ literacy learning.

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Book part
Publication date: 30 September 2020

Bonnie Johnson and Yvonne Pratt-Johnson

In the “What’s Hot in 2019: Expanded and Interconnected Notions of Literacy” survey (Cassidy, Grote-Garcia, & Ortlieb, 2019), Early Literacy was identified as a “very hot”…

Abstract

In the “What’s Hot in 2019: Expanded and Interconnected Notions of Literacy” survey (Cassidy, Grote-Garcia, & Ortlieb, 2019), Early Literacy was identified as a “very hot” topic. This chapter addresses how literacy practices in homes and in schools contribute to early literacy achievement; neighborhood realities are acknowledged. A brief list of expectations for early literacy learners is discussed, and competencies not always found in standards lists are described. Examples of current community activism efforts are noted, and there is a call for literacy academics to speak out against inequities in literacy learning.

Details

What’s Hot in Literacy: Exemplar Models of Effective Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-874-1

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Article
Publication date: 27 July 2018

Julie E. Learned and Mary Jo Morgan

This paper aims to report on a study investigating how young people and teachers interpreted reading proficiency and difficulty across different tracks of English language…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report on a study investigating how young people and teachers interpreted reading proficiency and difficulty across different tracks of English language arts in the sole high school serving a culturally diverse city.

Design/methodology/approach

For six months, the researchers observed in three hierarchically tracked English classes. Participants were three teachers and 15 focal youths. The researchers also conducted semi-structured and open-ended interviews and collected classroom artifacts and students’ records.

Findings

Despite adoption of the Common Core State Standards and a school-designed common English curriculum, both of which were to contribute to shared literacy objectives, students and teachers built highly contextualized understandings of reading proficiency, which diverged across tracks and mediated instruction. Across tracks, however, deficit discourses about reading struggle persisted, and students and teachers attributed difficulty to students’ attitudes and behaviors. Young people never described themselves in negative terms, which suggests they resisted the deficit labels tracking systems can generate.

Originality/value

Findings extend research by showing how literacy-related tracking contributed to exclusionary contexts through which students were unproductively positioned at odds. Findings suggest a need for renewed rigor in the examination of tracking practices, particularly how notions of reading difficulty/proficiency position youths and mediate literacy instruction. Despite deficit conceptions of “struggling readers” across the school, youths never described themselves negatively and accepted reading difficulty as normal; how youths achieved such resourceful stances can be further investigated. These research directions will support the creation of English contexts that invite all youths into inquisitive, critical and agentive interactions with texts and each other.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

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Book part
Publication date: 30 September 2020

Christina L. Dobbs, Jacy Ippolito and Megin Charner-Laird

Purpose: To present small cases of teachers who undertook inquiry-based collaborative work to implement and refine disciplinary literacy instruction in various content…

Abstract

Purpose: To present small cases of teachers who undertook inquiry-based collaborative work to implement and refine disciplinary literacy instruction in various content areas.

Design: Disciplinary literacy is explored alongside best practices in teacher professional learning, since disciplinary literacy is an instructional shift. This chapter addresses the question of how teachers might use an exemplary collaboration process to identify and test promising disciplinary literacy instructional practices.

Findings: Findings from various research projects point toward inquiry and collaboration as promising mechanisms for refining instruction to make it more disciplinary in purpose and implementation.

Practical Implications: The authors argue that disciplinary literacy is a relatively new conception of literacy skills in various content areas, and therefore jumping immediately to exemplary practices is unwise. Instead the authors recommend collaboration and inquiry as tools to generate and refine practices thoughtfully over time.

Details

What’s Hot in Literacy: Exemplar Models of Effective Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-874-1

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2006

Jo Fletcher, Faye Parkhill, Amosa Fa’afoi and Missy Morton

Research into the literacy of Pasifika (Pacific Island) children has predominantly focused on what the children cannot do. We present a layered account as we report on the…

Abstract

Research into the literacy of Pasifika (Pacific Island) children has predominantly focused on what the children cannot do. We present a layered account as we report on the issues, strategies and learnings from a project that set out to focus on success. With the guidance of matai (chiefs) we drew on the traditional Pasifika approach of Talanoa to allow important stories to be told. Talanoa both supports and challenges traditional and alternative Palagi (a Polynesian word for European) approaches to qualitative research. Three critical issues for researchers are identified: group ownership and control of the process and outcomes, the importance of collaboratively sharing research outcomes with the researched and the wider Pasifika community, and the value of opportunities for Pasifika and Palagi to undertake Pasifika research together.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

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Book part
Publication date: 3 May 2011

Mary Rice

A story that Robert told in class during this research exposes the tension of simultaneously studying literacy and identity when submission and control are also processes…

Abstract

A story that Robert told in class during this research exposes the tension of simultaneously studying literacy and identity when submission and control are also processes at work in the story. There are two pieces of this story. In the first part of the story, Robert relates the narrative. The second part consists of the details of the story he told. Both pieces can be used to illustrate different elements of the tension between studying literacy and identity as a single construct labeled literate identity. In addition to suggesting a metaphor for literacy and identity, Robert's story navigates the constructs of submission and control that Wong (2008) discusses in terms of the aesthetic of motivation. The tension between submission and control when coupled with an exploration of literacy and identity has implications for the notions of resistance to literacy in the field of boys' literacy as well as the being and doing of literacy for the boys in this study.Our class began with the students congratulating Robert on his storytelling. When I inquired further, I found out that Robert had started to tell the legend of Cupid and Psyche in a previous class, but he had run out of time. The rest of the students expressed interest in hearing the story, either for the first time, or to know the end. Initially, his telling ebbed and flowed. He apologized for his lack of fluency and explained he was trying to provide us the parts of the story we would find the most interesting. Eventually he settled into a rhythm and finished 50 minutes later. (Reconstructed field note, December 2009)

Details

Adolescent Boys' Literate Identity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-906-7

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Book part
Publication date: 4 January 2013

Tammy Milby

Purpose – The chapter provides the reader with an overview of how teacher preparation programs can utilize a school-based reading/literacy clinic model within university…

Abstract

Purpose – The chapter provides the reader with an overview of how teacher preparation programs can utilize a school-based reading/literacy clinic model within university coursework. Information on how to successfully scaffold teacher candidates into becoming more reflective educators through the use of a reading clinic model is provided. Details for partnering with community organizations to provide tutoring support for struggling readers is illustrated.

Methodology/approach – The research support for utilizing tutoring programs is shared. Implications for teacher preparation programs seeking to develop literacy experiences for preservice and practicing educators are depicted. This book chapter describes a framework for establishing and maintaining tutoring partnerships within communities.

Practical implications – The author provides examples of effective community partnerships with suggestions and techniques for developing new programs and/or partnerships. Practical tips for establishing and maintaining tutoring programs which are composed of innovative practices are included.

Social implications – The key element of effective tutoring programs is to improve student achievement in literacy. Educators must build meaningful and thought-provoking literacy practices into the tutoring setting. A model for using a tutoring approach supportive of struggling readers is described. The components for effectively designing and preserving a reading clinics program are shared.

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Karen Edge

Drawn from a recent research study of the Toronto District School Board, this paper aims to examine how the District employs knowledge management to initiate and improve

Abstract

Purpose

Drawn from a recent research study of the Toronto District School Board, this paper aims to examine how the District employs knowledge management to initiate and improve early literacy instruction and achievement.

Design/methodology/approach

This study draws on Nonaka and Takeuchi's framework to explore how focusing on tacit‐to‐tacit knowledge‐sharing strategies influence early literacy‐based knowledge sharing within and across schools. Data collection involved the collection and analysis of documents used and designed by Early Years Listeracy Project (EYLP) staff members. The second phase engaged a cross‐section of 34 EYLP teachers, administrators and senior TDSB superintendents and EYLP management team members in individual semi‐structured interviews. Participants commented on their experience vis‐à‐vis the various knowledge management strategies used to support its implementation. Data from the interviews was codified, analyzed and summarized and summaries were shared with participants for comment.

Findings

The District has employed a comprehensive strategy designed to build instructional and leadership capacity via the use of in‐school knowledge activists and informal professional networks. This paper explores the impact of these strategies on school and district‐level teacher and leader learning and organizational culture.

Originality/value

The overall impact of these strategies for professional and organizational learning and the challenges associated with employing knowledge management within education and the broader public sector are presented.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 9 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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