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Building a Knowledge Base for Teaching Adult Decoding. Richard Venezky, Principal Investigator Deborah Knight, Co-Investigator University of Delaware Judith A. Alamprese, Co-Principal Investigator Fumiyo Tao, Field Study Director Abt Associates Inc. Bethesda, MD. Study’s Research Questions.

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building a knowledge base for teaching adult decoding

Building a Knowledge Base for Teaching Adult Decoding

Richard Venezky, Principal Investigator

Deborah Knight, Co-Investigator

University of Delaware

Judith A. Alamprese, Co-Principal Investigator

Fumiyo Tao, Field Study Director

Abt Associates Inc.

Bethesda, MD

study s research questions
Study’s Research Questions
  • How does the use of enriched decoding strategies affect adults’ development of decoding skills?
  • What is the relationship between adults’ development of decoding skills and their development of fluency and comprehension?
  • How are adults’ background characteristics and their amount of participation in reading instruction related to the improvement of their reading skills?
  • How is the type of reading instruction that adults receive related to their improvement of reading skills?
overview of study
Overview of Study
  • Phases of study activities
    • Intervention conceptualization (Year 1)
    • Design Studies (Years 1-2)
    • Field Study (Years 2-4)
    • Analysis and report preparation (Year 5)
  • Experimental design
  • Naturalistic study in operating adult basic education programs
  • Approach of “use-inspired basic research” (Stokes, 1997)
  • Target population: adults with 4-7th grade-level equivalent in comprehension
slide4

Dependent

Mediating Variables:

Independent Variables:

Independent Variables:

Variables: Learner

Learner Characteristics

Programmatic Characteristics: Overall Program

Programmatic Characteristics: Overall Program

Outcomes

Operations and Instruction

Operations and Instruction

Overall Program Operations

Overall Program Operations

Learner’s Background

Learner’s Background

Short

Short

-

-

Term

Term

(3

(3

-

-

12 months)

12 months)

Demographic

Demographic

characteristics

characteristics

Changes in

Changes in

Program

Program

Program

Program

Program

Program

Support

Support

Support

learning

learning

Management

Management

Management

Recruitment

Recruitment

Recruitment

Services

Services

Services

Educational and

Educational and

and Intake

and Intake

and Intake

training experience

training experience

Personal growth

Personal growth

Work experience

Work experience

Health background

Health background

Program

Program

Program

Assessment

Assessment

Assessment

Program

Program

Program

Improvement

Improvement

Improvement

Articulation

Articulation

Articulation

Learner Persistence

Learner Persistence

Total participation hours

Total participation hours

Duration of participation

Duration of participation

Instruction

Instruction

Instruction

Learner Development

Learner Development

Self empowerment

Self empowerment

enhancement

enhancement

Framework for Study Design

Dependent

Dependent

Mediating Variables:

Mediating Variables:

Independent Variables:

Independent Variables:

Variables: Learner

Variables: Learner

Learner Characteristics

Learner Characteristics

Programmatic Characteristics: Overall Program

Programmatic Characteristics: Overall Program

Outcomes

Outcomes

Operations and Instruction

Operations and Instruction

Overall Program Operations

Overall Program Operations

Learner’s Background

Learner’s Background

Short

Short

-

-

Term

Term

(3

(6

-

-

12 months)

12 months)

Demographic

Demographic

characteristics

characteristics

Changes in

Changes in

Program

Program

Program

Program

Support

Support

reading skills

learning

Management

Management

Recruitment

Recruitment

Services

Services

Educational and

Educational and

and Intake

and Intake

training experience

training experience

Personal growth

Personal growth

Work experience

Work experience

Health background

Health background

Program

Program

Assessment

Assessment

Learner

Program

Improvement

Improvement

Articulation

Articulation

Learner Persistence

Learner Persistence

Total participation hours

Total participation hours

Duration of participation

Duration of participation

Instruction

Instruction

Learner Development

Learner Development

Self empowerment

Self empowerment

enhancement

enhancement

3

slide5

Identify Decoding Interventions

Conduct Design Studies

Conduct Field Study

  • Review K-12 and adult reading literature
  • Examine results from Abt Associates’ reading study
  • Generate hypotheses about role of decoding in learning to read and test in situ; vary aspects of instruction
  • Conduct 4 cycles of testing interventions in 4 classes
  • Collect data over 2 program years
  • Assess enriched decoding instruction compared to existing approaches and to comparison group of structured reading classes
  • Sample of 21 ABE programs, 30 reading classes, 600 learners
  • Randomly assign 7 programs to decoding intervention and 7 to control group
  • Train treatment instructors in decoding intervention
  • Data collection:
    • 2 years for treatment group
    • 2 years for control group
    • 3 years for comparison group
  • Identify types of decoding methods that might be tested in Design Studies
  • Refine reading intervention based on results of each cycle

Study Design and Phases

4

design studies
Design Studies

Purpose

  • Generate hypotheses about role of decoding in adults’ learning to read and test them in situ, so that practices can be implemented in actual instructional contexts
  • Systematically vary aspects of adult decoding instruction to determine the most effective practices for the field study
design studies1
Design Studies

Questions Guiding Design Studies

  • How do rule-based (deductive/abstract) and exemplar-based (inductive/analogical) instructional methods affect adult learners’ development of decoding skills?
  • How much and which metalinguistic knowledge enhances adult learning?
  • Does reading fluency increase differentially if adult learners participate in repeated readings that emphasize speed versus accuracy?
  • Do adult learners’ decoding skills improve when they are given spelling practice (investigation in progress)?
design studies2
Design Studies

Sample and Methodology

  • Sample
    • Four ABE classes
    • Three ABE instructors, 2 university researchers
    • 26 adult learners
      • Gender: 17 females, 9 males
      • Race/Ethnicity: 13 African Americans, 9 white non-Hispanic, 1 white Hispanic, 2 Asian, 1 mixed race
      • Age: Mean=25 years
  • Methodology
    • 4 cycles of intervention studies focused on specific questions during each cycle
    • Continued refinement of instruction through each cycle based on results of previous cycle and new question
design studies3
Design Studies

Features of Interventions Examined in Design Studies

  • Learner outcomes (determined by embedded assessments, observations)
  • Classroom practicality
  • Learner engagement
  • Instructor responsiveness and effectiveness
design studies4
Design Studies

Findings from Design Studies To Date

  • Learners benefit from a combination of rule-based and exemplar approaches
  • Learners are interested in and can apply metalinguistic information about orthographic patterns and etymology, but this information needs to be presented clearly with a minimum of complexity
  • When asked to read for speed and accuracy, adult learners sacrifice accuracy for speed if they are timing each other using a stopwatch
  • Adult learners are motivated to learn to spell, and often believe that they can read words better than they actually do
  • Instructors will use scripted reading lessons
intervention curriculum
Intervention Curriculum

Based on findings from Design Studies, the intervention curriculum will:

  • Consist of 40 lessons, including 10 review; each lesson will be 35 minutes (integrated into a reading class) and include a mixture of reading and spelling patterns
  • Emphasize metalinguistic knowledge that is of high utility or that explains why English behaves the way it does
  • Include spelling tips
  • Include a component designed to improve accuracy and speed of reading
  • Embed assessment in the lessons (except review) for monitoring learner progress
intervention curriculum1
Intervention Curriculum

The intervention curriculum will:

  • Include periodic optional practice lessons that do not introduce new concepts so that differentiated instruction can be offered
  • Include an instructor’s guide with scripted lessons
intervention curriculum2
Intervention Curriculum

Format of Lessons

  • Review of prior learning
  • Use of an authentic document
  • Introduction of new material in a mini-lesson
  • Use of guided practice reading and spelling words
  • Exercises in fluency/accuracy and/or spelling
  • Independent practice/embedded assessment
field study
Field Study

Purpose:Conduct an experiment in situ of the effectiveness of the intervention curriculum in improving adult learners’ reading skills

Sample

  • 21 ABE programs, approximately 30 ABE reading classes and 27 instructors; approximately 600 adult learners
  • Program meets a basic level of operational planning, organization, and structure

13

field study1
Field Study

Sample

  • 7 comparison ABE programs that use commercially produced, structured reading programs
  • 7 ABE programs randomly assigned to treatment group (enriched decoding); instructors will be trained to use intervention curriculum
  • 7 ABE programs randomly assigned to control group; instructors will conduct reading classes as they usually do
field study2
Field Study

Measures: Adult Learner

  • Decoding, spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension tests: WRAT-3 (Word Reading and Word Spelling), Woodcock-Johnson (Word Attack, Letter-Word Identification), Nelson Reading Comprehension and Word Meaning Tests
  • Reading fluency measures: TOWRE (Sight Word Efficiency, Phonemic Reading Efficiency)
  • NAAL Passage Reading
  • Background Interview: demographic characteristics, education and training, work experience, health status
  • Self-empowerment scales: Abt’s Adaptation of the General Self-Efficacy Scale and Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale
field study3
Field Study

Measures: Adult Learner

  • Attendance: hours and weeks per program year; participation in other ABE classes during same period

Measures: Instructor

  • Reading Instructional Content, Strategies, and Materials: Abt Associates’ Class Observation Instrument
  • Organization of Class and Class Environment: Instructor interview
  • Instructor Background: Instructor interview regarding demographic characteristics, training and experience in reading instruction
field study4
Field Study

Measures: Program

  • ABE Program Operations: ABE Program Rating Form, Abt Associates Inc., which measures all components of program functioning
  • Program Characteristics: size, organizational structure, funding, number of staff, other characteristics
field study5
Field Study

Data Collection Design

  • Learner: Pre-post design--fall (pre) and spring (post) of each year of data collection
  • Instructor:
    • Treatment instructors: multiple observations and documentation of teaching; interview after each observation
    • Control and comparison instructors: one observation per year; interview after each observation
  • Program: pre-post site visit (pre during year 1 of data collection, post during year 2 of data collection)
field study6
Field Study

Progress to Date and Schedule

  • Comparison Group (7 programs participating):
    • Cohort 1 (47 learners) pre-tested; post-test in May 2004
    • Year 1 class observations and interviews with program staff completed in May 2004
  • Treatment and Control Groups (14 programs):
    • Majority of programs recruited
    • Random assignment in June
    • Treatment instructors will be trained in intervention curriculum during the summer
    • Data collectors will be trained during late summer
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