RCATREADING COMPREHENSION AT THOMAS JEFFERSON Ellen O. Wright, Principal Michael Lewis, Assistant Principal Bridgette Tate, Teacher Sue Wendover, Professional Partner Thomas Jefferson Middle School Superintendent’s Urban Principal Initiative
Abstract of the Study Fifty-five percent of the seventh grade students at Thomas Jefferson Middle are struggling with reading comprehension. As a result, selected seventh grade Intensive Reading students were trained with reciprocal teaching strategies to enhance learning, reading and text comprehension.
Introduction Students at Thomas Jefferson are deficient in reading comprehension as a result of lack of motivation, appropriate skills to break down passages, and knowledge background. Therefore, selected 7th grade students will be trained with reciprocal teaching strategies to empower students to take control of their learning. Selected 7th grade Intensive Reading teachers will receive ongoing training in Reciprocal Teaching Strategies. Selected teachers will implement strategies in all classrooms across the curriculum. Selected teachers will provide ongoing benchmark assessments to target deficiencies. Data will be collected and reported by teacher, class period, and students using Edusoft. Selected teachers will analyze data and provide services to students, i.e., tutoring, pull-outs, and/or peer tutoring. As a result of our action research project we are hopeful that 15% or more students in grade seven will move from achievement level 1 as compared to previous year.
Background Thomas Jefferson Middle finds itself in a dynamic community with more than 50 different nationalities. We are a three grade level institution (grades 7, 8, and 9)that services approximately 956 students. Our school houses grades 7-9 in our regular school program and grades 7-12 in select ESE programs. Eight-five percent of our students are African American, Non-Hispanic, 12.5 percent are Hispanic, 1 percent are White, 1 percent Asian, 1 percent Multiracial, 0 percent Indian. Of this population, 11 percent are classified as ESOL, 18 percent ESE, 1.5 percent Gifted. Approximately 76 percent of students have been identified for free or reduced lunch, and the mobility index is 29 percent. All instructional staff are highly certified as required. Of the 62 teachers, 21 have Master's degrees, and 1 has a Specialist degree. Of this population, 16 percent are beginning teachers. The ethnic composition of our staff is as follows: 13% are White, 34% are African American, 13% are Hispanic, and 2% are Asian/American.
Research Question • Will instruction in Reciprocal Teaching improve students‘ ability to read and comprehend text across the curriculum? • What contributes to the effectiveness of Reciprocal Teaching? • How does instruction in Reciprocal Teaching affect student attitudes, skills and performance?
Literature Review Based on Palincsar and Brown, the key question of this study is whether or not reciprocal teaching can be implemented effectively into regular lessons in vocational schools. Data was gathered from several sources from the British Vocational Journal (BVJ). The study showed that students were instructed directly and experienced immediate benefit using reading strategies they have been trained in.
Literature Review This study by Rosenshine and Meister, on Reciprocal Teaching: A Review of the Research, focuses on sixteen studies about reciprocal teaching. They have found that many studies have used reciprocal teaching as an instructional procedure to improve student comprehension of the text. They also conclude that reciprocal teaching strategies are supported through conversation between student and teacher as students attempt to gain meaning from the text. Also, the studies reviewed in this article used the same methodology which is quantitative.
Methodology/Intervention • Identified selected 7th grade Intensive Reading students based on FCAT results of 2004-2005. • Implementation took place starting March 28, 2006-May 19, 2006. • The implementation of Reciprocal Teaching took place on a daily basis during the selected students Reading course. • Our Action Research Project was a collaborative effort. Participation and involvement began with the commitment from our selected 7th grade reading teachers and students to improve learning and increase student achievement at Thomas Jefferson Middle. The leadership team (Principal, Assistant Principal, Reading Coach, Professional Partner, Language Arts Coach, Media Specialist, and Technology Specialist) provided on-going support throughout the research project.
References • Palincsar, A.S./ Brown, A.L.: Reciprocal Teaching of Comprehension-Fostering and Comprehension-Monitoring Activities. In: Cognition and Instruction, 1984, 1 (2),pp. 117-175. • Rosenshine, A.S./ Brown, A.L.: Reciprocal Teaching: A Review of Research. In: Review of Educational Research, 1994, 64 (4),pp.479-530. • Rosenshine, B.& Meister,C.(1994). Reciprocal teaching : A review of research. Review of educational research, 64(4), 479-530. • Brown, A.L., Palincsar,A.S.,& Armbruster.B.B.(1984). Instructing comprehension-fostering activities in interactive learning situations. In Mandl, N.L. Stein,& T. Trabasso(Eds.)Learning and Comprehension text(pp.255-286).Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Data Analysis Survey Results The following is a graphical depiction of the responses to each survey question. Additional comments provided by respondents, if any, are included after each graph. Section - RCAT SURVEY 1. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT WORKING WITH A PAIRED STUDENT WILL IMPROVE YOUR READING?
Data Analysis 2. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT WORKING WITH A PAIRED STUDENT WILL IMPROVE HIS/HER READING?
Data Analysis 3. DOES YOUR TEACHER PAIR YOU WITH ANOTHER STUDENT FOR READING? RECIPROCAL READING?
Data Analysis 4. FROM QUESTION 3, HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK?
Data Analysis 5. DO YOUR SOCIAL STUDIES AND MATHEMATICS TEACHERS PAIR YOU WITH OTHER STUDENTS?
Data Analysis 6. DO YOU LIKE TO READ?
Data Analysis 7. DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY, HOW MANY BOOKS DID YOU READ FROM COVER TO COVER?
Data Analysis IF YOU COULD GIVE YOURSELF A GRADE (A, B, C, D, F,) TO DESCRIBE YOU AS A READER, WHAT GRADE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF?
Findings/Results • Selected seventh grade students in reading classes showed a 17% decline in the number of students scoring in achievement level 1 on the 2006 FCAT Reading test as compared to 2005. • There was also a 20% increase in the number of 7th graders scoring at achievement level 3 and above on the 2006 FCAT Reading test as compared to 2005.
Conclusions Based on the fact that the targeted group did show improvements in reading comprehension as evidenced by the 2006 FCAT results, we feel that Reciprocal Teaching was a success. Our future recommendations are to implement Reciprocal Teaching throughout the different grade levels in hopes of bringing about increased student achievement in grades 7-9. In the future, it is also recommended that teachers involved will collaborate with each other more to share best practices and ensure fidelity across the curriculum in grades 7-9. As a result of our action research study, we will share our PowerPoint presentation with the entire faculty and an overview of what action research is, what it provides, and how it can be used to affect change.