Presentation on theme: "National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Formulating Public Opinion on Definitions of Reading Proficiency Christopher Johnstone Council for Exceptional."— Presentation transcript:
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Formulating Public Opinion on Definitions of Reading Proficiency Christopher Johnstone Council for Exceptional Children April 7, 2006
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Methods Focus groups tapping conducted with members of professional organizations Face-to-face and Phone-based focus groups
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Focus Group Process Face-to-face (DARA): –Piggyback on large conferences. –Broader constituency of educators. –Cost effective, convenient, open to all. Phone/Web-based (PARA) –Not tied to specific conferences. –Focus on specific disability groups. –Targeted by GAC members and disability foci of projects.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Face-to-Face Sessions Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) –6 sessions, 35 people American Educational Research Association (AERA) / National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) –3 sessions, 17 people International Reading Association (IRA) –5 sessions, 24 people Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) –4 sessions, 20 people Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR) –5 sessions, 19 people
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Teleconference Sessions National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) –4 people Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) –1 person Parent Advocacy Center for Educational Rights (PACER) –3 people The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) –2 people Gallaudet Research Institute –4 people The Association of State Consultants of Blind/Visually Impaired –6 people TASH/The ARC –7 people
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Results Focus group tapes were transcribed and coded into themes. Results emerged in two categories: –Disability-specific information –Overall (cross-disability) results
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Down Syndrome Some readers with Down Syndrome are non- verbal, therefore the process of translating text to speech is not relevant. Other readers with Down Syndrome learn to read by decoding. Reading is a visual endeavor for most students with Down Syndrome, therefore auditorization should be considered an adaptation, not part of the reading process itself.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Emotional/Behavior Disorders Comprehension is the biggest issue with this population. Many students decode text just fine, but do not understand the meaning of text. Other factors, such as memory, fluency, and vocabulary may affect the comprehension levels of this population, and should be included in any definition.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Mental Retardation Have difficulty decoding, but can understand text through other strategies. Need to be engaged in order to succeed. Struggling readers may quickly give up if text is not interesting or relevant to their lives. May be non-verbal, therefore, an expectation of translating text to speech is unreasonable. Comprehending text (by a variety of means) is the most important goal for people who work with students with mental retardation.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Learning Disabilities Some readers with learning disabilities use alternative approaches to reading, such as screen readers or books on tape, but still consider the process reading. A focus on accessing information, rather than individual skills, is most appropriate for this population. Accommodations, such as auditorization are commonplace in higher education, but rarely found in K-12 education.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Speech/ Language Impairments Readers with speech/language impairments may not translate text to speech as part of the reading process. Fluency (for either silent reading or reading aloud) must include a focus on fluency and morphological processing in order to truly measure the reading abilities of students with speech language impairments.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Blind Braille is an equivalent system of writing to print. Many blind people have some other form of disability. Some may not have speech, so translating text to speech may be impossible. Text in auditory formats is used by blind populations, but should be used with caution, as it may lead to a decrease in the teaching of braille. All definitions should include decoding but should be strongly centered in the derivation of meaning from text.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Deaf Deaf students typically do not decode because they may not have phonological skills. This population also does not translate text to speech. Definitions for deaf students should be more comprehension-, not skills-based.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Overall Results Most people preferred having the main emphasis in the definitions be placed on understanding of messages found in text. Participants did not feel that it was appropriate to have decoding appear equal to understanding in importance (decoding was seen by many as a means to an end).
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Conclusion Findings were relatively consistent across both face- to-face and phone/web-based focus groups. According to participants, understanding is the most important element of reading. Translating text to speech is problematic for a variety of readers. Decoding is important, but not the most important facet of reading. Auditorization is problematic as a construct of reading.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Decoding discussion Much of the dislike for the inclusion of decoding as equal in importance to understanding seemed to stem from differences in the scope of what decoding represented: –Reading experts often viewed decoding as a more comprehensive term. –Teachers often viewed decoding as too simple a term, such as sounding out words.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Understanding discussion There was often discussion on the relative nature of the terms understanding, meaning, and comprehension. Participants felt terms such as understanding and meaning allowed for greater flexibility than comprehension.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Speech/spoken words discussion Almost all groups objected to the references to translating text to speech and spoken words as being problematic to students who had no spoken language. –Teachers often interpreted translating text to speech as being specific to oral reading (reading out loud). –Some interpreted translating text to speech as an internal process.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Braille discussion The inclusion of braille was supported as simply being the version of text accessible to those students who read braille. Classifying it as an adaptation or accommodation was questioned by some (i.e., braille = print). The use of a read aloud accommodation instead of braille was mentioned a few times for students who either had not, could not, or would not learn braille (state accommodations policies are inconsistent in these areas)
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Auditorization discussion Many felt that auditorization undermined a basic construct of reading which includes the interpretation of text. No longer a reading test, but a listening test. Some (mostly teachers of students with disabilities) argued that auditorization could be appropriate as a means to measure understanding.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Understanding and decoding for students with disabilities Participants noted a clear relationship between decoding and understanding for non-disabled students. Less clear for students with disabilities: –Could show skill in decoding but had no understanding of what they read. –Capable of understanding but could not decode well.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Other issues The nature and scope of the term text. When reading ends and literacy begins. ELL students not addressed.
National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects Conclusion Findings were relatively consistent across both face- to-face and phone/web-based focus groups. According to participants, definitions of reading proficiency should include: –References to understanding as the predominant focus –Decoding is important, but not to the extent of understanding Translating text to speech and auditorization should not be included in definitions of reading proficiency.