The integrated learning system SuccessMaker is in many New Zealand schools. However, the author’s review of these systems concludes that few have proven effective in producing substantial gains in reading and language; gains in certain areas of maths do not appear to be transferred to other tasks; and system-generated progress data requires validation. Autonomous learning is not viable for many students, and curriculum integration is also an issue.
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This article explores the impact of book bags containing non-fiction books, related artefacts and activity sheets on the reading behaviour and attitudes of reluctant and struggling boy readers. Reprinted from Topic, Issue 25, Spring 2001.
Results of a study of literacy achievement data covering 1194 children turning six between January and August 2000, from 54 schools in the lower part of the North Island, show gender and ethnicity differences in all the areas tested by the schools. While the range for all ethnic groups was very wide, and the 13% of girls and 9% of boys reading material graded above age 7 included children from all ethnic groups, the low medians for Maori and Samoan boys, in particular, are of major concern.
A research project showed that progress in a remedial reading programme for severely reading disabled adolescents was determined by the effects of their beliefs about ability and strategy effectiveness on their use of strategies to apply new letter-sound knowledge. Inflated beliefs about ability, and willingness to read extremely difficult text, combined with consistent, persistent and flexible strategy use for applying new letter-sound knowledge, resulted in accelerated progress.
The researchers investigated the impact of a literacy intervention on reading and writing and the sustainability of the programme. Data on reading and writing achievement showed that while the latter was at national levels, the former was significantly below. It was concluded that the reading data collected by teachers were unreliable, and reading levels were probably comparable to writing levels.
A 1999 report showed that causes of delays in student achievement were more complex than the teachers had previously thought. One was the low expectations teachers had of the students. In an effort to raise student achievement, Viscount School offered the teachers in-house professional development in literacy, “tailor-made” to the needs of their staff. The results revealed gains in student achievement and confirmed the school’s decision to continue down this pathway.
In tests on Evaluating Information in Text, overall, females performed better than males. Although students from higher decile schools performed significantly better on average than those in lower decile schools, the full range of scores was represented in all decile groups. Both intermediate and secondary students found differentiating between facts and opinions the easiest subsection, and evaluating conclusions the most difficult.
Taking a practical approach to drama is an effective way of teaching children how to read and understand plays in performance. It may also have a significant contribution to make in helping children write purposefully, and appreciate how language is always open to interpretation. Reprinted from Topic, Issue 25, Spring 2001.
Ngā Kete Kōrero (The Language Baskets), a national research study commissioned by the Ministry of Māori Development Te Puni Kōkiri in 1993, has provided comprehensive information about the development of appropriate language assessment and teaching resources. It will help teachers to accurately identify levels of language and literacy in Māori and thus better inform teaching practice in this sector. This article outlines specific aspects of the Kete Kōrero Framework project and discusses some of the implications for teaching reading through the medium of Māori.
This article outlines the implications for teachers of the findings from a comparative study of students’ editing skills and processes when using word processors and pencils to write. An overview of the editing skills that students can be expected to have at three different year levels is presented.