Discussion of the Findings

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Method of Assessment

At the beginning and end of the twelve-week study, the twenty students in this first-grade class were given the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), and the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS). Clay's Dictation subtest from the Observation Survey was given at the beginning, halfway through, and at the end of the twelve-week period to provide information on students' sound-symbol knowledge. A data sheet was used to analyze each child's Dictation subtest. An observational checklist analyzing students' attentional abilities in the classroom during the literacy block was completed on each student at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the twelve-week period. Anecdotal notes/observations were made during the modified Reading Recovery lessons. Running records were conducted monthly on the modified Reading Recovery group in order to help determine which strategies needed to be stressed or prompted for during lessons.

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Summary of Findings

DRA

 

*For statistical purposes, DRA level "A" is recorded as "-1" and DRA level "less than A" is recorded as "-2."
The mean of the pre- and post-tests for each group is as follows:

                                             

Mean

Pre-test Post-test

ERI

-1.75 3

Mod. RR

-1.2 5

Control

.91 6.36

The standard deviations for the pre- and post-tests for each group are as follows:

Standard
Deviation

Pre-test Post-test

ERI

.5 .82

Mod. RR

1.30

1.41

Control

1.7

2.66

The mean growth in reading levels for the ERI group was 4.75. The mean growth in reading levels for the modified Reading Recovery group was 6.20 and the mean growth in reading levels for the Control group students was 5.45. Although the ERI group and the modified Reading Recovery group were comprised of similar populations as noted by the graph above, the modified Reading Recovery group made the greatest growth in reading levels. This first-grade classroom is comprised of basically a homogeneous mix of students ability-wise in reading. The gains in reading levels made by the modified Reading Recovery group surpassed the Control group's growth in reading levels.

 

DIBELS Phoneme Segmentation Fluency

    

The mean of the pre- and post-tests for each group is as follows:

                                             

Mean Pre-test Post-test
ERI 5.75 39.75
Mod. RR 9.4 51.6
Control 23.64 49.91

 

The standard deviations for the pre- and post-tests for each group are as follows:

Standard
Deviation
Pre-test Post-test
ERI 24.04 25.29
Mod. RR 7.83 15.24
Control 14.56 19.24

 

The mean growth in phoneme segmentation for the ERI group was 34 points. The mean growth in phoneme segmentation for the modified Reading Recovery group was 42.20 points and the mean growth in phoneme segmentation for the Control group was 26.27 points.
 

DIBELS Nonsense Word Fluency

The mean of the pre- and post-tests for each group is as follows:

 

Mean Pre-test Post-test
ERI 2.75 37.25
Mod. RR 5.20 30.8
Control 19.73 42

 

The standard deviations for the pre- and post-tests for each group are as follows:

 

Standard
Deviation
Pre-test Post-test
ERI 2.22 6.24
Mod. RR 1.64 4.66
Control 8.47 9.80

 

The mean growth in nonsense word fluency for the ERI group was 34.50 words per minute.
The mean growth in nonsense word fluency for the modified Reading Recovery group was 25.60 words per minute and the mean growth in nonsense word fluency for the Control group was 22.27 words per minute.
 

Clay's Dictation Test

 
ERI Oct. 2005 Dec. 2005 Feb. 2006
Mean 15.25 24 32.75
SD 7.80 6.27 3.20
Mod. RR Oct. 2005 Dec. 2005 Feb. 2006
Mean 24.6 29.6 34.2
SD 1.82 2.61 2.68
Control Oct. 2005 Dec. 2005 Feb. 2006
Mean 29.55 31.91 35.09
SD 4.78 3.33 1.87

 

Considering that the ceiling level for this test is 37, the mean growth in hearing and recording sounds in words for the ERI group from October, 2005, to February, 2006, was 17.50. The mean growth in hearing and recording sounds in words for the modified Reading Recovery group from October, 2005, to February, 2006, was 9.60. The mean growth in hearing and recording sounds in words for the Control group from October, 2005, to February, 2006, was 5.54.

 

Attentional Observation Checklist

 

Mean Oct. 2005 Dec. 2005 Feb. 2006
ERI  5 5.75 7.50
Mod. RR 5 9.20 13
Control  7.40 9.91 11.82

 

The mean growth in attention for the ERI group from October, 2005, to February, 2006, was 2.50 points. The mean growth in attention for the modified Reading Recovery group from October, 2005, to February, 2006, was 8 points. The mean growth in attention for the Control group from October, 2005, to February, 2006, was  4.42 points.

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Findings For Each Group
(Type and Feature/Pre- &Post-Changes For Groups)

 

Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA)

First-grade level students being administered the DRA are presented with a story after being given some background information. Students are then asked to use the pictures to predict what will happen in the story. Students read the story orally as the teacher records reading behavior. After the story has been read, the teacher asks the student to retell the story. The teacher scores students' reading accuracy, reading fluency, and comprehension. The teacher also learns about the student's attitude toward reading and whether the student is being read to at home. The DRA is a formal assessment which is partially quantitative since a numeric score is calculated for oral reading accuracy. For the scoring of fluency, the teacher makes judgments about the student's oral reading through the use of a checklist. Using a rubrics, the teacher makes judgments about the student's comprehension (retelling). The DRA is partially qualitative due to the judgments made by the teacher on oral reading fluency and also comprehension.

The ERI group's mean level for the pre-test was -1.75 which is similar to a less than level A, a pre-kindergarten guided reading level. At the end of the twelve-week study, the ERI group's mean level for the post-test was a level 3, a beginning first grade level for guided reading. The modified Reading Recovery group's mean level for the pre-test was -1.2, a level similar to a level A, a pre-kindergarten guided reading level. At the end of the twelve-week study, the modified Reading Recovery group's mean level for the post-test was a level 5, a first grade guided reading level. The Control group's mean level for the pre-test was .91, a level similar to a level 1, a kindergarten guided reading level. At the end of the twelve-week study, the Control group's mean level for the post-test was a level 6.36, a first grade guided reading level.

The modified Reading Recovery group made the greatest growth in reading level during this twelve-week study, even surpassing the Control group who received reading instruction from the classroom teacher only.
 

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)

DIBELS is a quantitative assessment. At this first grade level, students are given the following sections of the DIBELS assessment: phoneme segmentation fluency and nonsense word fluency.



Phoneme Segmentation Fluency

During the phoneme segmentation fluency subtest the teacher says a word such as "cat" and students are asked to orally segment the word into phonemes: "/k/ /a/ /t/. This test lasts one minute and is dependent upon speed and accuracy. The average growth in phoneme segmentation for the ERI group was 34 points. The mean growth in phoneme segmentation for the modified Reading Recovery group was 42.20 point and the mean growth in phoneme segmentation for the Control group was 26.27 points. The modified Reading Recovery group made the greatest growth in phoneme segmentation fluency during this twelve-week study.
 

Nonsense Word Fluency

During the nonsense word fluency subtest the teacher asks a student to read as many nonsense words as he can in one minute; i.e. jub. Credit is also given to students if they just say the sounds of the letters of the nonsense words; i.e. /j/ /u/ /b/. The mean growth in nonsense word fluency for the ERI group was 34.50 words words per minute. The mean growth in nonsense word fluency for the modified Reading Recovery group was 25.60 words per minute and the mean growth in nonsense word fluency for the Control group was 22.27 words per minute. The ERI group made the biggest growth in nonsense word fluency.
 

Clay's Dictation Test

Clay's Dictation Test is partially quantitative and also qualitative. The Dictation Test measures a student's ability to hear and record sounds in words. The highest possible score (ceiling) is 37 points. The teacher also records observations such as: writing from left to right and back, writing in list formation, leaving or not leaving spaces between words, reversals in written letters or in hearing the sounds in words, etc. The teacher reads the following passage from Clay's Dictation subtest to the student: "The bus is coming. It will stop to let me get on." The teacher then tells the student that some of the words she read are hard so if the student says the words slowly and thinks what he can hear, it will help. The teacher then says one word at a time from the above two sentences, prompting the student, if necessary, to say the word slowly and write what he hears.

Quantitative Information Gained From Clay's Dictation Test

The mean growth in hearing and recording sounds in words for the ERI group for the twelve-weeks of the study was 17.50. The mean growth in hearing and recording sounds in words for the modified Reading Recovery group for the twelve-weeks of the study was 9.60. The mean growth in hearing and recording sounds in words for the Control group for the twelve weeks of the study was 5.54. At the end of the twelve weeks, the mean difference in scores between the Control group and the modified Reading Recovery group was .89 while the mean difference in scores between the Control group and the ERI group was 2.34.

Qualitative Information Gained From Clay's Dictation Test

Of the four ERI students, students # 2 and #3 wrote in list formation rather than in sentence formation on the pre-test. Students #1 and #4 had correct directionality when writing the two dictated sentences. Student #1 was the only ERI student who knew the difference between letters and words as shown by his consistent spacing between words. Student #3 had the greatest difficulty recalling how to form the letters. There were no sound reversals on the pretest.

On the second Dictation testing, the ERI students all improved in the number of sounds they could hear and record letters for. However, students #2 and #3 still had difficulty differentiating between letters and words as evidenced by the lack of spaces between words on their writing. Students #3 and #4 had to be prompted to say the words slowly and think about what letter they heard. When writing, each ERI student exhibited a letter reversal except student #2.

On the Dictation post-test each student continued to improve in the number of sounds they could hear and record letters for. All ERI students could also differentiate between letters and words. Additionally, each student took responsibility for sounding the words slowly and thinking about what letter(s) they heard.

Of the five modified Reading Recovery students, only student #2 wrote words in list formation rather than sentence formation on the pre-test. Therefore, all of the students except student #2 had correct directionality when writing the two dictated sentences. All of the students in this group except #4 wrote a word or some words with sound reversals. All of the students in this group except student #2 could differentiate between letters and words. Initially all students in this group needed to be prompted to say the words slowly and to think about what letter(s) they heard.

On the second Dictation testing, the modified Reading Recovery students continued to improve in the number of sounds they could hear and record letters for. Student #2 now had correct directionality when writing and could also differentiate between letters and words as evidenced by his spaces between words in his writing.  Only student #3 wrote a word containing a sound reversal. Each student took responsibility for sounding the words slowly and thinking about what letter(s) they heard.

On the Dictation post-test each student continued to improve in the number of sounds they could hear and record letters for. Student #1 ceiling out on the post-test.

 

Attentional Observation Checklist        

An observational checklist analyzing students' attentional abilities in the classroom during the literacy block was completed on each student at the beginning, half-way through, and at the end of the twelve-week period. The mean growth in attention for the ERI group for the twelve weeks of the study was 2.50 points. The mean growth in attention for the modified Reading Recovery group for the twelve weeks of the study was 8 points. The mean growth in attention for the Control group for the twelve weeks of the study was  4.42 points. The modified Reading Recovery group made the greatest growth in attention during this study and therefore the students in the modified Reading Recovery group were more engaged in the literacy lessons occurring in the classroom compared to the ERI group and the Control group.

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Limitations

The findings of this quantitative, quasi-experimental (pretest and posttest) nonequivalent design study are limited to small group instruction with at-risk students in a grade one classroom in a suburban area taught by a trained Reading Recovery teacher. Since the population of this study was limited to small group instruction with at-risk students in a grade one classroom in a suburban area, the findings would be limited to small group instruction of a similar homogeneous classroom in a suburban area by a trained Reading Recovery teacher.

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