Lately there has been much discussion as to what should and can be done to revamp the educational system in the US. School reform seemedto be the answer, however as observed by Slavin in 1989, the cycle of reform has been recurring with schools moving from one prescriptive fad to another without any real congealing of ideas . Particularly when attention is foucsed in the area of reading achievement, in recent years U.S. students have been found lacking necessary skills. Plagued with the issues of the earlier installments of school reform programs, reading instruction in recent years resembled a collection of practices that were based on widely differing theoretical assumptions that could be adopted and applied to the same children and teachers. (One size fits all..NOT)Experts in language acquisition research have found it difficult to sort through all the research directed at how children learn to read, the result as such is an ongoing debate as to the most effective approach to teaching reading instructionRecognizing these problems and unique opportunity, program developers took advantage to launch a myriad of reform programs. However well intentioned these programs may be, they still fail to measure instructional practice and how in fact they impact student achievement.. So taking a closer look becomes necessary.
In 2000 the US Congress’s focus has been to institute changes and standardize instructional practices that will yield stronger educational results. Hence the introduction of the NCLB Act.There are widespread criticism of the NCLB Act which has lately been revised under President Obama’s initiative Blue Print for Reform. Over the years, teachers and principals alike have doubted the validity of NCLB measures and are concerned that school sores are being influenced by student backgrounds characteristics and other factors beyond a schools control.Each year and more so significant tax dollars are spent on comprehensive school reform. On the average $72,000 per year for a minimum of three years! So with that kind of money being spent and the schools system remaining in the state it is, it becomes necessary to ground this study based on the following research questions:
The major underpinnings of this study is grounded on the following as illustrated above, the historical background of Reform, the implementation practices, impact of program effects, instructional practices, leadership practices that affect teacher autonomy and student achievement.
One of the key areas to probe when faults are found at the higher education stage is at the elementary level. To be functionally illiterate at the early grades places students at risk in the future.(Correnti 2005). 4th grade is a critical grade level because it is the foundation springboard from which the blocks of higher education are built. If at this stage a child has not acquired all the skills and mastered them to a level of proficiency, it will becomes increasingly difficult to remediate for the skills lost or that were never acquired. As stated earlier, the quality of instruction that our children are receiving in the United States today demand for some thing to be done with the furious urgency of now. My daughter is going to 4th grade so these figures hit close to home. She falls somewhere between the proficient and advanced group. But the big picture is how to fix this education structure for all who cannot afford private education.While the debate as recently as September 2010, continues about what to do about our educational system, American children lag behind in reading and literacy when compared to other developed and developing nations (PISA 2009) President Obama stated that a generation ago, America led all nations in college completion, Today according to the United States Department of Education, four out of every ten students that are college bound are unprepared for the rigor of higher academic education.If progress is to be made then a critical look at the factors of systems of accountability that contribute to aiding or impeding advancements in instructional practice that affect student achievement should be closely studied
The goals of CSR are noble. Its focus is to revamp entire school systems rather than on implementing a number of specialized and potentially uncoordinated school improvement initiatives. It emphasizes two major concepts 1) Reform should be comprehensive in nature strengthening all aspects of school operations, curric dev, prof. dev, org and parent involvement. 2) use of scientifically based rsch. Models.Hence Schools of Improvement by Design was an idea that has been long pursued by the US government since the 50s. The idea then was that research could be conducted in and through Universities and other ngos to work together to build a network of educa laboratories and research development centers dedicated to the field of education. These labs will then innovate designs for instructional practice, spread and disseminate the practices and hopefully observe an increase in student achievement. Pf note is thateven in the 50s researchers recognized that to bring about organizational change in institutions the shift must occur first in the instructional practice and not necc. replacing the practitioner as has been the response of recent. Experts on program evaluation agree that studying implementation of instructional practice is an important part of any effort to measure the impact of a program. As such it is expected that the quality of implementation of instructional practice will vary when taken to scale.What indeed has been found is that there is greater variation within schools than across schools. This finding suggest that the variation in the extent of implementation efforts of individual teachers is a very important factor in determining the programs effectiveness and impact..
According to Correnti ( 2005) in review of the prior evaluations of reform, there is support given to the notion that teacher practice is a better evaluative measure in research on instruction improvement because it is the direct target of implementation. For as much as case studies have been very informative about the implementation process, they have given much description as to how particular reform programs are effective, but have not shown a direct cause within the program of what causes the instructional practice of the program to be effective and have typically over relied on standardized tests to show student.Berends, Bodily and Kirby 2002 further support this point in their research that the hazard in using standardized test as the overall measure of achievement is that the results will not be favorable because the standz. test are not central to the aligned goals of the program. With the demands that the NCLB requires to ensure student achievement, high stakes testing has then become a key factor to consider when measuring fidelity. An example of how this has affected School leaders is with the recent CRCT scandal in Georgia. The pressure to meet the requirements of high stakes assessments and accountability measures for some low performing schools has been heavy which subsequently led to fraudulent practices.Reserachers have reported that teacher advocay for the capabilities of reform will remain minimal unless a concerted effort is made to understand what the structure of a reform active environment is like within the context of teaching.
Which practice is best? In what ways and why do effects of different instructional practice differ for different types of students? Both schools of thought argue that one instructional approach is more dominant and effective than the other, however there are few defining research studies that empirically support or reject the idea that these two practices can coexist in the same reform. Perhaps the answer is and has always been a a balance literacy approach. Which aims to gradually release students to become responsible for their own learning.
This quantitative study with quasi-experimental design utilized a mixed model analysis (having longitudinal and cross-sectional components) to address hypotheses. Items from the America’s Choice level of implementation survey instrument used in a study conducted by Supovitz and May (2004) will be administered and demographic items will be administered to teachers in Grade 4 in the selected schools for this study. Demographic data will also be collected in an effort to identify differences between professional characteristics of teachers and their perceptions of their level teacher autonomy. The district uses Developmental Reading Assessments (DRA) as well as District Benchmark tests to determine students reading competence and these assessments are given by the classroom teachers at least twice a year. DRA is used to determine if indeed students gained in reading achievement due to the type of reading reform instructional practice implemented at their school. The scores from these assessments will be used in this study.
Tukey’s HSD pairwise comparison of means indicated significant pairwise differences for each AC versus non AC school with both verbal and comprehension scores from the non AC school significantly higher for both third and fifth graders. A test by AC status interaction with an analysis of simple effects of AC status for each type of test indicated significant differences as a function of AC status on both Vocabulary and Comprehension scores with AC schools scoring lower on those tests than non AC schools and a larger difference for Vocabulary scores.
There was a test X grade interaction that was followed-up with an analysis of simple effects of test at each grade level. Results from the analysis of simple effects indicated a significant difference between vocabulary and comprehension scores at both third grade and fifth grade. An examination of mean differences between vocabulary and comprehension scores indicated that third grade differences in those test scores were larger than fifth grade differences. There was a significant type of test main effect with Verbal scores significantly lower than Comprehension scores. Finally, there was a main effect of AC status with the composite vocabulary and comprehension score averaged across grades 3 and 5 lower for AC schools than for non AC schools.
Odunjo, A. Dissertation Defense 2011
The Instructional Practice Implications of a School Reform Model versus No School Reform Model on Reading Achievement A Doctoral Dissertation Defense Presented by Adebimpe A. OdunjoDissertation Committee:Rose McNeese, PhD. Tammy Greer, PhD. David Lee, PhD. Wanda Maulding, PhD. Chair Member Member Member October 2011 March M
• Development of Educational Reform began in the late 70’s – early 1980s. The main purpose: to address theIntroduction quality of education. • Most programs avoid measuring instructional practice when explaining student achievement outcomes. (Rowan, Correnti, Miller, Camburn, 2009) • Clear identification and measure of the extentStatement of of a reform program’s instructional practice implementation and its effect on accelerating orthe Problem improving the learner’s achievement outcome regardless of confounding variables. Purpose of • A closer look at the instructional practices that affect an increase in student achievement. the Study
Research Questions1. Is there a difference in reading growth scores between students participatingin the America’s Choice reading program compared to students who are notparticipating in the America’s Choice reading program? 2. Is there a relationship between teaching conditions and teacher’s perception of autonomy in instructional practice?
Hypotheses• 1. There was a difference between reading growth scores of students who are in the America’s Choice program and students who are not in the America’s Choice program.• 2. There was no relationship between teaching conditions and teacher’s perceptions of autonomy in instructional practice.
Significance of StudyTo provide: More evidence from which school districts andstates can make more informed decisions. Clear identification of which interventions toprovide more funding. Documentation of proven instructional practicethat actually impact student achievement. Ways to implement institutional change that willproduce sustained and increased studentachievement.
What obtainsThere is a need to ensure that American children can effectively participate in thefuture job market. According to 2009 national report of 4th Graders reading ability: Below Basic At Basic Proficient Advanced 8% 34% 25% 33%
Achievement GapOur 15-year-olds trail nearly all other OECD countries math and science. •The U.S. ranks 27th out of 29 wealthy countries in the proportion of college students with degrees in science or engineering •The U.S. 48th out of 133 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction •In American graduate schools, nearly half of students studying the sciences are foreigners
Achievement GapBy 4th grade, the majority of Black and Latino students struggle to read a simple childrens book. This has devastating consequences for their future. Up until the end of third grade, most children are learning to read. Beginning in 4th grade, they are reading to learn. •Up to half of the printed fourth- grade curriculum is incomprehensible to students who read below that grade level. •High school graduation, can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing someones reading skill at the end of third grade. A person who is not at least a modestly skilled reader by that time is unlikely to graduate from high school. Source: 2009 data, National Center for Education Statistics, NAEP Data Explorer, http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/nde; Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters (Annie E. Casey Foundation).
The U.S. is among the leaders in college participation but ranks 16th – in the bottom half – in college completion. We only earn ½ a degree per college student, whereas in Portugal, for example, its 1:1.Source: National Report Card on Higher Education, http://measuringup.highereducation.org.
Lack of Preparation students – the ones who go to college – are alarmingly unprepared. • • Close to half of the students who enter college need remedial courses: • -At Cal State, the system admits only students with at least a B average in high school, yet 37% of the incoming class last year needed remedial math, and 45% needed remedial English • According to scores on the 2006 ACT college entrance exam, only 21% of students applying to four-year institutions are ready for college-level work in all four areas tested: reading, writing, math and biology • Lack of preparedness leads to nearly half of all students beginning higher education by attending a community college, which has negative consequences: • -One study showed that 73% of students entering community college hoped to earn four-year degrees, but only 22% had done so after six years • -The Pew Charitable Trusts recently found that three-quarters of community college graduates were not literate enough to handle everyday tasks like comparing viewpoints in newspaper editorials or calculating the cost of food items per ounceSource: At 2-Year Colleges, Students Eager but Unready, New York Times, 9/1/06.
Overarching Goals of CSR Schools of Improvement by Design: build a network of educational laboratories and research development centers to promote the dissemination Program and utilization of innovative Effectiveness designs for teaching practice (Rowan, Correnti, Miller, Camb urn, 2009). Limited availability of Implementation of Practices rigorous, scientific or independent evidence CSR designs effectiveness in either implementation quality or School of Improvement by most critically raising student Design achievement (Ross, Nunnery, Goldfeder, Mc Donald, Rachor, Hornbeck & Fleischman, 2004).
Goals of CSR Correnti (2005) •teacher practice precedes student achievement in the causal chain of Findings on Instructional events Practice •Evaluating program effectiveness: case studies research overly- rely on results from standardized tests. Student Effects of •Attending to the technical core of Achievement Leadership schooling only may be insufficient to change pedagogy. Schools have failed to effectively use their institutional incentives to improve teaching practice. Teacher (Sunderman and Nardini (1994) Autonomy
Student AchievementInfluencing factors Instructionism :educational practices that are teacher- Instructionism Constructionism focused, skill-based, product- oriented, non-interactive, and highly prescribed. Meaningful Constructivism: educational Rote Learning Learning practices that are student focused, meaning- based, process- oriented, interactive, and Balanced Literacy responsive to student interest Approach (Johnson, 2009, pp. 90).
Research Design Teacher Surveys Archived data: 3rdUSM & District and school and 5th grade ITBS IRB demographics scores in Reading Mixed Model Report findings Analysis
Participants• Archived 3rd and 5th grade ITBS average school scores made available on the school districts website for elementary schools that currently utilize the America’s Choice program and elementary schools that do not use the America’s Choice program were obtained. District demographics were extracted from the Georgia Department of Education website. 3rd and 5th grade Teachers were asked to complete surveys that contained items to assess the level of implementation of the America’s Choice program and that measure teacher autonomy in instruction
Instrumentation• Implementation Survey developed by Supovit and May (2004) was designed to examine the relationship between implementation and the impact of America’s Choice comprehensive school reform.• Teacher Autonomy Scale developed by (W.W. Charters (1974) was designed to measure perceptions of educators’ autonomy of practice.• The scores from district administered standardized reading assessment tests of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) , obtained from the district’s website, were used to determine growth in reading achievement due to the type of reading reform implemented at the school. Administration of the ITBS assessment allowed the district to compare the performance of its students to that of other students across the nation who took the same test at the same time of year.
ReliabilityOf Survey InstrumentsAmerica’s Choice Implementation Survey TAS• Cronbach’s Alpha for the subscales of the instruments Cronbach’s Alpha (Pearson and were as follow: “(1) Writer’s Workshop Preparation Hall, 1993), for 171 cases was Scale ((1) “Writers Workshop Preparation Scale (α = determined with the total scale (18 .96)a"; (2) “Readers Workshop Preparation Scale (α = items) internal consistency .94)a”; (3) “All Students Can Learn Scale (α = .60)b”; coefficients ranging from .80 to .83. and, (4) Same Standards Should Apply to All Students The reliability coefficients for the Scale (α = .74)b” (Supovit and May 2004). See Appendix subscales indicating general A for a complete list of subscale items. This scale has autonomy and curriculum autonomy been shown to relate to teacher’s attitudinal ranged .80 to.85. The correlation characteristics, teacher’s between the general and curriculum acceptance, experience, receptiveness and teacher self autonomy subscales is moderate (r = reported preparation to teach. .49) (Moomaw, 2005).
Data Analysis This study is a quasi-experimental study with mixed design. Quantitative data analysis procedures will be used to assess the hypothesis of this study.• 1. In order to determine whether there was a difference in reading • 2. In order to determine growth scores between students whether there was a participating in the America’s relationship between Choice reading program compared teaching conditions and to students who are not teacher perceptions of participating in the America’s autonomy in Choice reading program a mixed practice, Pearson’s model ANOVA was conducted with correlation was computed type of test (vocabulary and between scores on the comprehension) scores on the ITBS Teacher Autonomy Scale as a repeated measures variable and Teaching Conditions and participation in the America’s Survey. Process 2 Choice curriculum (yes, no) and grade ( 3 and 5) as grouping variables. Process 1
ResultsQuestion 1Results from the analysis of simple interactions, America’s Choice Participation x Grade, for each type of test were not significant. Tukey’s HSD pairwise comparison of means, however, indicated significant pairwise differences for each AC versus non AC school (HSD = 2.59 for grade 3 and 2.43 for grade 5 verbal and comprehension scores) with both verbal and comprehension scores from the non AC school significantly higher for both third and fifth graders
ResultsQuestion 1• Test X grade interaction• Vocabulary and Comprehension• 3rd grade (F (1,73) = 339.15, p<.001)• 5th grade (F (1,85) = 91.15, p<.001).• Mean differences between vocabulary and comprehension scores• 3 grade (MVocab = 36.16 (1.22) versus MComp = 45.51 (1.24), mean difference = 9.35),• 5th grade (MVocab = 37.40 (1.22) versus MComp = 43.63 (0.97), mean difference = 6.23).• Type of test main effect• - (F (1,312) = 689.14, p<.001)• -Verbal (M = 36.34, SD = 9.96)• -Comprehension scores (M = 44.02, SD =8.65).• Main effect of AC status• (F(1,312) = 6269.39, p< .001)• composite vocabulary and comprehension score averaged across grades 3 and 5• AC schools (M = 36.25, SD =14.41)• Non AC schools (M = 4.12, SD=10.66)
Question 2• In the analysis to determine if there is a direct relationship between Teaching conditions and teacher perceptions of autonomy, it was indicated that there was no significant relationship.• (62) = -.092, p< .01
Limitations• Of the eight schools petitioned and that initially agreed to participate in this study, only two AC schools were willing participants.• The sample population for this study was 62.• The Socio economic status of the population selected for this study was below the poverty level.• Access to teachers in AC schools was restricted in all but two schools.• There were noticeable inconsistencies in the type of data requested by the researcher that warranted using archival data rather than live data.• The Area superintendent for the schools used in this study was unwilling to approve the study in a timely manner which affected the collection of time sensitive data.
Response rate Population 312 Total sample 135 Population 312 Total Sample surveyed 135 Responders 62 Responders 46% 62 46% Non responders 73 54% Non responders 73 54%
Relationship to Earlier studies• Research studies exploring the effects of other school reform initiatives on the education of at-risk students have also suggested that higher levels of implementation are associated with greater student performance gains.
What it meansThere are large racial gaps in high school graduation rates. As bad as these numbers are, theyre far worse in many cities. The black male dropout rate is 80% in Indianapolis and Detroit, 69% in Baltimore and Buffalo, and 66% in Atlanta and Cleveland. Source: The Graduation Project, 2006.
What it also meansFew black and Latino students make it to college and even fewer graduate. Sources: U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data, State-level Enrollment and Degree Attainment Data. U.S. Census Bureau, 2003 Current Population Survey, Educational Attainment in the United States, June 2004. Slide courtesy of Education Trust.
The bigger pictureThe failure of so many of our schools costs our society enormously.• If U.S. students had met the educational achievement levels of higher-performing nations between 1983-1998, Americas GDP in 2008 could have been $1.3 trillion to $2.3 trillion higher.• •We are paying higher and higher taxes for the increasing cost of our public schools, yet they are failing to deliver improved performance•• • To compensate for underprepared workers, U.S. industry spends about $25 billion on dropouts yearly on remediation• Illiteracy costs American businesses more than $60 billion each year in lost productivity and health and safety issues• • High school dropouts: • -Are more likely to be unemployed, earn lower wages, and have higher rates of public assistance• • -Cost our society $260,000 each in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity • -Are more likely to be single parents and have children at a young age• •75% of Americas state prison inmates and 59% of federal inmates are high school dropouts• •63% of prison inmates are functionally illiterate• •52% of African-American men who fail to finish high school end up in prison by their early 30s Sources: Harlow, C.W. (2003). Education and correctional populations, bureau of justice statistics special report. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice; ProLiteracy; Western, B., Schiraldi, V., & Zienberg, J. (2004). Education and incarceration. Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute, p. 1; Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters (Annie E. Casey Foundation).
DiscussionHow do we fix the problem?• Teacher preparation/selection• Set high expectations and standards, benchmarked against international standards• Use proven curricula• Hire and train great leaders and then empower them• Measure results• Doug Reeves: Hold people accountable
Recommendation for future study• To find an empirical link between levels of implementation of a school reform program and instructional practices that do affect student achievement outcomes.
Conclusion• Schools that do not utilize a school reform program, but are able to develop a culture of network learning, a laser focus on the instructional core and a plan for improving instructional practice on a higher level, have a greater advantage in increasing student achievement outcomes in reading, than do prescribed programs that do not allow for much flexibility in instructional practice, are less likely to be implemented with fidelity and are designed to produce a finite type of learner.
References• Correnti R, (2005) Literacy instruction in CSR Schools: Consequences of Design Specification on Teacher Practice. URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?did=982790911&Fmt=2&clientId =79356&RQT=309&VName=PQD• Charters, W. W. (1974). Sense of teacher work autonomy: Measurement & finding. Eugene: University of Oregon, Project MITT, Center for Educational Policy and Management.• Moomaw, W. (2005) Teacher Perceived Autonomy: a Construct Validation of the Teacher Autonomy Scale.• Rowan, B., Correnti, R., & Miller, R. J., Camburrn E. (2009). School Improvement by Design: Lessons from a Study on Comprehensive School Reform Programs• Sunderman, G. L., & Nardini , G. (1999) Institutional Constraints on Implementing School reform: Lessons from Chicago. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association ( Montreal, Québec, Canada. April 19-23, 1999)• Supovit, J.A., & May, H. (2004). A study of links between implementation and effectiveness of the America’s Choice Comprehensive School Reform Design. Journal of Education of Students Placed at Risk, 9(4), 389 – 419.• U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service, Evaluation of the Comprehensive School Reform Program Implementation and Outcomes: Third-Year Report, Washington, D.C., 2008.
References• Tilson, Whitney (2010) A Right Denied: A critical need for Genuine School reform• U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data, State-level Enrollment and Degree Attainment Data. U.S. Census Bureau, 2003 Current Population Survey, Educational Attainment in the United States, June 2004. Slide courtesy of Education Trust.• Harlow, C.W. (2003). Education and correctional populations, bureau of justice statistics special report. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.• Western, B., Schiraldi, V., & Zienberg, J. (2004). Education and incarceration. Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute, p. 1; Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters (Annie E. Casey Foundation).
…Putting the pieces together for our children’s future.Thank you .