Literacy project report: what works? what doesn't work? 2 20-2012
February 20, 2012LITERACY TEAM REPORT
FOCUS: Consider a football team that loses half of its games, year after year. Each week, the coaches scour the Internet to find complex plays and offensive schemes. This confuses the players, who never mastered the last set of plays. Meanwhile, offensive linemen have never mastered the fundamentals of effective blocking, like footwork and body position.The solution to this teams mediocre performance is very simple: coaches need to stop confusing the team with new plays and start focusing on the basic, but effective, blocking techniques until they are done well. --M Schmoeker
ASSIGNMENT MANDATED BY OPIMake recommendations for improving literacy at PHS Based on research (rather than folklore)
QUESTIONS THE LITERACY TEAM ASKED 1. What should be done across the curriculum in all academic classes? 2. What should be done in English classes? 3. What should be done for students struggling with literacy?
TWO DOMAINS: ACADEMICS AND ATTITUDES1. Academic Achievement: Poor readers (little background knowledge, minimal vocabulary) Questions: Why are some students getting to high school without the knowledge and skills to succeed? (diagnosis) What does research indicate works? (prescription)
TWO DOMAINS: ACADEMICS AND ATTITUDES2. Attitudes and Dispositions: Unmotivated (poor work ethic, poor ability to focus, lack of engagement, lack of diligence, unable to work through boredom, impatient, egocentric, lack of purpose) Questions: What habits and dispositions should be taught all year long in freshman classes? How can these habits and dispositions be supported throughout the school? MBI?
“The most important book about education writtenin the second half of the twentieth century” --Nathan Glazer, Harvard University Hirsch argues that in abandoning content- based curricula for disproved theories of cognitive development, the educational establishment has done harm to Americas students, and instead of preparing them for an information-based economy, the establishment practices have curtailed their ability and desire to learn. Hirsch proves that if children are taught substantial knowledge and skills, and learn to work hard to acquire them, their test scores will rise, their love of learning will grow, and they will become enthusiastic participants in the information-age civilization.
HIRSCH’S KEY ASSERTIONS1. To stress critical thinking while de- emphasizing knowledge reduces a student‟s capacity to think critically. Focus on knowledge rather than formal “skills”
HIRSCH’S KEY ASSERTIONS2. Giving a child constant praise to bolster self- esteem (or cultural pride) regardless of academic achievement breeds complacency, or skepticism, or both, and, ultimately, a decline in self-esteem. Focus on knowledge rather than vague motivations
HIRSCH’S KEY ASSERTIONS3. For a teacher to pay significant attention to each individual child in a class of twenty or more students means individual neglect for most children most of the time. Emphasize whole class instruction more than individual attention
HIRSCH’S KEY ASSERTIONS4. Schoolwork that has been called “developmentally inappropriate” has proved to be highly appropriate to millions of students the world over, while the infantile pablum now fed to American children is developmentally inappropriate (in a downward direction) and often bores them. Increase the rigor of academic coursework
The reader needs the common knowledge that the author of the text assumes the reader has.
VIDEO What is “cultural literacy”? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROIujiY1uZU
THE “MATTHEW EFFECT” “For whosoever hath, to him shall he given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall he taken away even that he hath.”
MATTHEW EFFECT: VOCABULARY1. Need to know 90% of words in text to make sense of it2. Kids who know the 90% are able to figure out the other 10%3. Kids who don‟t, don‟t. They fall even further behind4. The verbal gap gets wider as they move through school
WHAT DOES NOT WORK1. Remedial reading classes that conceptualize “reading skills” as a formal set of processes that are domain independent.2. Building self-esteem or cultural pride3. “Engagement” defined as “hands on” or “active learning”4. A school culture that is anti-knowledge (“rote learning” “mere facts” “factory model” “higher order thinking skills” “multiple intelligences” “technology” “student- centered” “careerism”)
WHAT DOES WORK Extensive Practice: "The research evidence is overwhelming. The only thing we have seen that rapidly accelerates student performance toward reading more complex texts is extensive practice, repeatedly, even with reading the same text." David Coleman, CCSS author The practice will enable students do well on tests of what they have studied. Because the impact of a single course on their general knowledge may be small, there may not be measurable improvement on general reading test scores.
WHAT DOES WORK: FOCUS“When the number of initiatives increases, while time, resources and emotional energy are constant, then each new initiative … will receive fewer minutes, dollars and ounces of emotional energy than its predecessors.”—Doug Reeves
WHAT DOES WORK: FOCUS“What is „essential‟ for schools? Three simple things: reasonably coherent curriculum (what we teach); sound lessons (how we teach); and far more purposeful reading and writing in every discipline, or authentic literacy (integral to both what and how we teach). But as numerous studies demonstrate, these three essential elements are only rarely implemented; every credible study confirms that they are still pushed aside….— M. Schmoker
VIDEO Nathan Glazer interviewed by Education Next http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GdjTIVIgh4
THIRD GRADE READING PASSAGE Farmers in ancient Egypt thought of the year as having three seasons: flood time, seeding, and harvest. Each year the Nile River would flood. This was good news for farmers because Egypt is mostly desert, and not enough rain falls to grow crops. The annual flood would last for a few weeks, and then the water level would drop, leaving a layer of fertile, black mud. This mud fertilized the soil, and the flood water was stored in a series of canals. A special government department was in charge of making sure the canals were kept in good repair.
NEEDED BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE1. Egypt was a country in ancient times2. The year has seasons3. Farming depends on planting seeds in moist soil4. Plants need nutrients and water to grow5. “desert” “Nile” “basic farming”
THE PROBLEM IS NOT ETHNICITY OR POVERTY The problem is diversity of preparation. The problem is background knowledge.
VERBAL SKILL INVOLVES KNOWLEDGE OF THINGS Improving reading proficiency often fails because of the mistaken assumption that reading is a skill like typing and that when you learn the technique you can read any text
MANY LANGUAGE PROGRAMS Practice abstract strategies on an incoherent array of uninformative fictions. The opportunity costs have been enormous. Schools waste hours practicing drills, depriving students of knowledge that could enhance reading comprehension.
NEW YORK STATE: FOURTH GRADE READING TESTThere is a path that starts in Maine and ends in Georgia, 2,167 miles later. This path is called the Appalachian Trail. If you want, you can walk the whole way, although only some people who try to do this actually make it, because it is so far, and they get tired. The idea for the trail came from a man named Benton Mac-Kaye. In 1921 he wrote an article about how people needed a nearby place where they could enjoy nature and take a break from work. He thought the Appalachian Mountains would be perfect for this.
FIRST QUESTION, DEALS WITH MAIN IDEA:This article is mostly about1. how the Appalachian Trail came to exist.2. when people can visit the Appalachian Trail.3. who hikes the most on the Appalachian Trail.4. why people work together on the Appalachian Trail.
WHAT IF YOU ARE A FOURTH GRADER Who knows nothing about hiking? Doesn‟t know the Appalachians from the Himalayans? Doesn‟t know where Maine and Georgia are? Can‟t grasp what “to enjoy nature” means?
RESEARCH FOUNDATIONS ARE WEAK• For claims that scores on such tasks are improved by practicing strategies such as questioning the author or finding the main idea• Subject matter knowledge decisively trumps formal skill in reading• Proficiency at one reading comprehension task does not predict success in another
READING COMPREHENSION IS DOMAIN SPECIFIC Teaching students to read Shakespeare will be unlikely to make them better at reading geography texts or science texts CCSS assigns responsibility for teaching literacy to all academic teachers. Students are to improve reading and writing science in science class and reading and writing history in history class.
FLORIDA TENTH-GRADE TEST The origin of cotton is something of a mystery. There is evidence that people in India and Central and South America domesticated separate species of the plant thousands of years ago. Archaeologists have discovered fragments of cotton cloth more than 4,000 years old in coastal Peru and at Mohenjo Daro in the Indus Valley. By A.D. 1500, cotton had spread across the warmer regions of the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa. Today cotton is the world‟s major nonfood crop, providing half of all textiles. In 1992, 80 countries produced a total of 83 million bales, or almost 40 billion pounds. The business revenue generated--some 50 billion dollars in the United States alone -is greater than that of any otler field crop. Most of the five billion pounds that U.S. mills spin and weave into fabric each year ends up as clothing.
A READING TEST IS A KNOWLEDGE TEST1. Apart from “what is cotton?” or “what is a bale?” it helps to understand the domestication of plant species.2. Success requires familiarity with the subject the test covers.3. The fundamental “gap” between kids is a knowledge gap
A manifold, contained in an intuition which I call mine, is represented, by means of the synthesis of understanding, as belonging to the necessary unity of self- consciousness, and this is effected by means of the category. This requirement of a category therefore shows that the empirical consciousness of a given manifold in a single intuition is subject to a pure self- consciousness a priori, just as is empirical intuition to a pure sensible intuition, which likewise takes place a priori. From Immanuel Kant (Critique of Pure Reason)
The main idea of this passage is1. Without a manifold, one cannot call an intuition “mine.”2. Intuition must precede understanding3. Intuition must occur through a category4. Self-consciousness is necessary to understanding Typical “reading strategies” struggling readers are compelled to practice: 1. Try to find the main idea 2. Try to summarize the main idea 3. Try to clarify the main idea 4. Try to “question the author”—What is Kant trying to get at here?
SELECTED FINDINGSFREDDIE D. SMITH, “THE IMPACT OF THE CORE KNOWLEDGE CURRICULUM, A COMPREHENSIVESCHOOL REFORM MODEL, ON ACHIEVEMENT” (PHD DISS., UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, 2003).Students who remained in the Core Knowledge school from kindergarten through sixth grade outperformed peers at the control school as measured by mean scaled scores on the Stanford 9TA tests, which are standard grade-by-grade reading assessments used across the nation. Core Knowledge students outperformed control students in all subjects tested and for both of the two cohorts of students examined. The Core Knowledge advantage was statistically significant for reading (p ≤ .029, p ≤ .002) and math (p ≤ .002, p ≤ .014).
Both advantaged and disadvantaged (free lunch) students in the Core Knowledge school outperformed students in the control school on the Stanford 9TA tests. Again, this was true for all three subjects and for both cohorts examined. The disadvantaged students in the Core Knowledge school showed statistically significant advantages in reading (p ≤ .017 for one cohort and p ≤ .030 for the other). Core Knowledge thus promoted fairness in schooling by providing educational opportunity to disadvantaged as well as advantaged students.
Core Knowledge helped narrow the achievement gap on the Stanford 9TA test between advantaged and disadvantaged students. The achievement gap, as measured by the Stanford 9TA tests, was narrowed for one Core Knowledge cohort and eliminated for the other. The achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students remained large for both cohorts at the control school.
Core Knowledge helped students achieve much larger gains on the Stanford 9TA tests over two-year periods, from fourth to sixth grades. Both advantaged and disadvantaged students made larger gains than their peers in the control school in all of the twelve cases evaluated. Among disadvantaged students, the edge to Core Knowledge was deemed highly significant in all three subjects (p ≤ .001, p ≤ .001 for reading; p ≤ .001, p ≤ .001 for math; p ≤ .001, p ≤ .002 for language).
COMPARISON OF FIFTH GRADERS New York City Schools, 2007 Report on Charter Schools: Chart shows average percent of students who read at proficient or advanced levels. “Proficient” is at grade level. All schools have similar demographics: nearly 100% disadvantaged students. The KIPP (Knowledge is Power) schools emphasize discipline and hard work. The Core Knowledge schools emphasize a coherent content-based curriculum.
LITERACY TEAM RECOMMENDATIONS (DRAFT)1. Establish district-wide conversation regarding curriculum: Focus on curriculum2. Recognize that student time and professional staff time are the limiting resources: Focus on teaching and learning3. Do not assume literacy teaching can be done effectively without adequate prep time: Focus on good lessons4. Eliminate remedial reading classes: Focus on reading and writing in every academic class5. Use professional staff to teach core content classes Focus on teaching6. Provide literacy labs (with their English teacher) at school for students who do not succeed with homework: Focus on reading and writing
CCSS (ADOPTED BY MONTANA)(COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS)1. Literacy Standards included in Social Studies and in Science2. 70% of student reading is to be done in informational texts3. English teachers will still teach fiction, drama, poetry, and other literature. Most of the informational reading is to be done in other classes. More frequent tests (online) in more subject areas
Think of literacy as a spine; it holdseverything together. The branches oflearning connect to it, meaning thatall core content teachers have aresponsibility to teach literacy. —Vicki Phillips and Carina Wong, The Bill and Melinda Gates
VIDEO 24 MINUTES Davd Coleman Literacy Discussion http://neric.welearntube.org/?q=node/147