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Adolescent Literacy Assessment: Observing and Coaching Evidence-Based Instruction in Discipline-Specific Classrooms Spotlight on Assessment, Evaluation, and Research. Joshua Wilson Yan Wei Michael Faggella-Luby, PhD. 3/26/2013. Overview. Setting the Stage

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Joshua wilson yan wei michael faggella luby phd

Adolescent Literacy Assessment: Observing and Coaching Evidence-Based Instruction in Discipline-Specific ClassroomsSpotlight on Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

Joshua Wilson

Yan Wei

Michael Faggella-Luby, PhD



  • Setting the Stage

  • Content & Pedagogy of Adolescent Literacy

  • Research on Observational Assessments

  • The Observation Tool

  • Suggestions and Lessons Learned

Joshua wilson yan wei michael faggella luby phd

Who is “at-risk”?

Students who are successful during their 9th grade year are 3.5 times more likely to graduate

  • One F decreases likelihood of graduating from 83% to 60%

  • 2 Fs decreases likelihood to 44%

  • 3 Fs decreases likelihood to 31%

    Allensworth, E., & Easton, J. (2005). The on-track indicator as a predictor of high school graduation. Chicago: Consortium of Chicago School Research

Here in ct
Here in CT

  • “At least 72 percent of [students] attending community colleges require remedial or developmental math or English; for the Connecticut state universities — Central, Western, Southern and Eastern — the figure is

  • … 65 percent.”

    Megan, Kathleen (10/27/2010). “Many state high school graduates attending public colleges unprepared.”Hartford Courant.

What impacts student outcomes
What impacts student outcomes?


Classroom Instruction!


28% R

19% M






12% R

10-30% M


Slide From R. Elmore

What do observation tools show about typical practice

What do observation tools show about typical practice?


How can we explain these outcomes?

Joshua wilson yan wei michael faggella luby phd

Schumaker et al., 2002

Joshua wilson yan wei michael faggella luby phd

1. Lecture/read

2. Give directions

3. Listening

4. Ask question

5. Monitor

6. Model

7. Verbal rehearsal

8. Simple enhancer

9. Advance organizer

10. Role Play

11. Content Enhancement (complex)

12. Elaborated Feedback

13. Write on board

14. Describe skill/strategy

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Schumaker et al., 2002

Srbi rti framework
SRBI/RTI Framework

Tier 3:

Specialized, Individualized

Intervention for Students at High Risk



Tier 1:

Comprehensive &



for All Students

Tier 2:


Instruction for Students at Some Risk

80% of Students

Tiered system of instruction
Tiered System of Instruction

Alterable Components of Instruction

  • Content

    • Components of Reading and Writing

    • Content-specific instructional methods

    • Programs/Materials

  • Pedagogy

    • Explicitness

    • Intensity and Pacing

    • Interactiveness

    • Grouping

    • Interventionist Expertise

Critical content what to teach
Critical Content:What to Teach

  • Background Knowledge

  • Knowledge of Text Structure

  • Cognitive Strategies

  • Motivation

  • Word Study

  • Writing


Biancarosa & Snow, 2004

Ehren, 2005

Faggella-Luby & Deshler, 2008

Gersten et al., 2001

Graham & Hebert, 2010

McCabe, 2009

Torgesen et al., 2007

1 background knowledge
1. Background Knowledge

Example: Social Studies Classroom

  • Vocabulary

    • Democracy, communism, filibuster, gridlock

    • Academic or Signal Language

    • Passage-specific vocabulary

  • Concepts

    • Representative government vs.


    • Free-market economy vs, socialism

  • World Knowledge

    • Travel

    • Experience with an adult voting

    • Reading/Listening/Viewing political advertisements or debates

CCSS: R1-R3; L4-L6

2 knowledge of text discourse structures
2. Knowledge of Text/Discourse Structures

  • Narrative/Expository organizational patterns

    • Student awareness

    • Strategic use


  • Narrative Text Structure

    • Sequential

    • In medias res

  • Expository Text Structure (Essay)

    • Persuasive

    • Comparison-Contrast

    • Description

    • Cause-Effect

    • Sequential

    • Problem-Solution

    • Lab Report

    • Journal Article

    • Policy


3 cognitive strategies
3. Cognitive Strategies

  • Goal-specific

  • Packaging

  • Monitoring and repair


  • Goal-Specific Strategies

    • questioning

    • summarization

    • prediction

    • inferencing

  • Packages of Strategies

    • peer assisted learning (e.g., CWPT)

    • Reciprocal Teaching

  • Self-Monitoring/Repair

    • Collaborative Strategic Reading

CCSS: R7-9; R10

4 motivation
4. Motivation

  • Engagement

  • Self-efficacy

  • Task persistence


  • Engagement

    • Provide rationale for learning/academic tasks

    • Co-Construct meaning

    • Use first-glance influence

  • Self-efficacy

    • Students set goals, develop a plan, self-monitor, and reflect

    • Timely teacher feedback

    • Engineer success

  • Task Persistence

    • Balance of challenging and independent material

    • Student choice of reading material


5 word study
5. Word Study

  • Multi-syllabic words

  • Difficult often content specific syntax

  • Unique semantic constructions

  • Fluency


  • Multi-Syllabic Words

    • Onomatopoeia

    • Stoichiometry

    • Pythagoras/Pythagorean

  • Difficult Often Content Specific Syntax

    • Word problem in math

    • Elizabethan English

    • Legislative language

  • Unique Semantic Constructions

    • ‘Republican’ in Federalist papers vs. present day

    • Use semantic map line labels

    • Pre-teach key terms and explanations

  • Fluency

    • Reading Shakespeare for prosody


6 writing
6. Writing

  • Writing Fluency skills

    • Spelling

    • Sentence construction

    • Word choice

  • Writing Process

  • Strategies to compose genre-specific text


  • Writing Fluency Skills

    • Teach spelling and word-study skills together

    • Use text models to illustrate sentence fluency and word choice

  • Writing Process

    • Planning and Revision

    • Summarization

  • Genre-specific Composition

    • Link strategies for identifying and utilizing text-structure with composition strategies

CCSS: L1-L2; W4-W6; W1-W3

K l p s content key learning points
K.L.P.s - Content(key learning points)

  • What do I think is most important about what we’ve covered?

  • How can I use this information?

How teachers teach struggling readers
How Teachers Teach Struggling Readers

A significant difference between struggling readers and their typically achieving peers is not what they are taught about literacy, but how they are taught!

Pedagogy that builds literacy skills

Instructional Core

Daily review

Introduce lesson objectives

Present new content

Guided practice

Independent Practice




Priority Instruction

Small groups*

Strategy Cueing and Questioning

Advance Organizer

Distributed Practice

Corrective and elaborative feedback

Pedagogy That Builds Literacy Skills

References: Faggella-Luby& Deshler, 2008; Rosenshine,1995; Swanson, 1999; Swanson & Hoskyn, 2001

Instructional core teach intentionally
Instructional Core – Teach Intentionally

  • Introduce Lesson Objectives

    • Explain how the strategy will improve learning

    • Clarify expectations for learning and independent use

  • Present New Content

    • Share important strategy components or steps

    • Share the sequence of strategy steps as necessary

  • Guided Practice

    • Present a verbal think-aloud of how to use strategy

    • Identify obstacles and explain how to overcome them

    • Complete at least one successful application of the strategy

Instructional core teach intentionally cont
Instructional Core – Teach Intentionally (cont.)

  • Independent Practice

    • Prompt student involvement to get them actively thinking about the strategy

    • Practice with appropriate examples to allow for successful student practice

    • Create opportunities for teacher questioning and student self-questioning

  • Evaluation

    • Formative: determine specific instructional needs prior to instruction, frequently check for understanding

    • Summative: design summative assessments to assess student mastery of learning objectives

K l p s pedagogy key learning points
K.L.P.s - Pedagogy(key learning points)

  • What do I think is most important about what we’ve covered?

  • How can I use this information?

Recent research on observational tools in secondary classrooms
Recent Research on Observational Tools in Secondary Classrooms

An electronic search was conducted for studies published between 1990 to 2012 from the ERIC, PsycINFO and PQDT. To be included in this summary, a study was required to meet the following criteria:

  • An observation study of literacy instruction in ELA classes or in discipline-specific classrooms.

  • Pertaining to secondary level (9th-12th grade).

  • Conducting planning and/or observational tools in tier I instruction.

  • Designed to observe teaching behaviors and/or teaching instructions in the study.

Recent research on observational t ools in secondary classrooms
Recent Research on Observational ClassroomsTools in Secondary Classrooms

Summarized research from the following elements:

  • Audience

  • Person observed

  • Intended purpose: improve instruction; motivate teachers; make principals accessible to students and teachers;

  • Observation categories

  • Method for use: length of observation, tools to observe, recommended use

  • Observation tools

Classroom observation s heet
Classroom ClassroomsObservation Sheet

Alwp template
ALWP Template Classrooms

Observation tools for teaching behaviors in secondary classroom
Observation ClassroomsTools for Teaching Behaviors in Secondary Classroom

Checklist for integrated r eading language arts i nstruction
Checklist for ClassroomsIntegrated Reading/Language Arts Instruction

Observation tools for teaching behaviors in secondary classroom1
Observation ClassroomsTools for Teaching Behaviors in Secondary Classroom

In summary
In Summary Classrooms

Reasons to share:

  • Observe literacy practices in four instructional settings:

    • co-teaching classroom, discipline-specific classroom, reading/language arts program, and writing classroom.

  • Address the components of evidence-based literacy instruction in tier I settings, including content of instruction and teaching pedagogy.

  • Demonstrate different types of observational formats (checklists, questions, reflections).

Strengths and limitations all together
Strengths and Limitations All Together Classrooms


  • Increase communication and collaboration among teachers, peers , and administrators through providing frequent and timely feedback at pre/post-observational conferences.

  • Teachers gaining new ideas and perspectives about teaching from colleagues.

  • Provide guidelines for developing school-wide literacy instruction(e.g., Vogt, 1991).


  • Possible bias relating to the observer's own beliefs about teaching.

  • Many elements to observe at once.

  • Limited observer reliability, variable observation times (short to long).

  • No studies embedding CCSS into instructional observation.

Iv the observation tool

IV. The Observation Tool Classrooms

Putting Adolescent Literacy Content & Pedagogy Together

The observational tool
The Observational Tool Classrooms

  • Audience: school administrators, researchers, teachers, and/or peers

  • Person observed: a content-area teacher

  • Settings: secondary classroom in tier I instruction

  • The intended purpose: coaching, planning, and professional feedback

  • Length of the observation: not specified

The tool page 1
The Tool Page 1 Classrooms

The tool page 2
The Tool Page 2 Classrooms

Implementing the tool
Implementing the Tool Classrooms

  • Before:

    • Review the protocol outlines and clarify operational definitions of each items before observation.

    • Clearly orient the observational goals, share lesson plan, and confirm the observation and meeting time with the teacher.

  • During:

    • Observer visits the classroom for a specified length of time (longer and more frequent are best).

    • Sit in a location to minimize student distraction.

    • Complete Observation Tool by recording Observed Data & Observer Comments

    • Give to teacher at end to complete Teacher Reflection prior to follow-up

Implementing the tool1
Implementing the Tool Classrooms

  • After:

    • Teacher completes reflection

    • Conduct a follow-up discussion between teacher and observer after observation

    • Share summary, feedback on positive comments, and areas of concern.

    • Based on reflections, co-construct action-oriented goals and future action plans jointly.

Joshua wilson yan wei michael faggella luby phd

“We can have 30 years of research on instruction, but if it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big difference.What we want to know is what’s the most efficient way to translate those ideas into practice in the classroom.”–Jim Knight, KUCRL

Coaching professional development
Coaching & it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big Professional Development

The Observation Tool measures the behavior, but how do we change the behavior?

  • Use Tool to identify key areas of professional development

  • Less top down and more practice driven

  • Use Partnership Learning approach to PD

Teacher planning questions content
Teacher Planning Questions - Content it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

  • Background Knowledge

    • Have I determined what relevant prior knowledge is necessary for understanding the academic task?

    • Have I analyzed the academic tasks for any vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to my students?

  • Text Structure

    • Have I selected readings that represent clear examples of a variety of text structures?

  • Cognitive Strategies

    • Have I determined what strategies my students need to help them accomplish the academic task?

    • Have I selected a small number of powerful strategies for students to learn to mastery levels?

Teacher planning questions content1
Teacher Planning Questions - Content it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

  • Motivation

    • Am I prepared to answer the ‘So What?’ question?

    • What types of in-class support will I provide to promote student reading persistence?

  • Word Study

    • Does my lesson focus on common and/or difficult root words and affixes?

    • Have I chosen texts for fluency practice that support content area learning?

  • Writing

    • How can my instruction emphasize specific writing skills during reading tasks?

    • How can I use text models to instruct genre-specific composing?

Teacher planning questions pedagogy
Teacher Planning Questions - Pedagogy it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

  • Will I begin my lesson with a short review of previous learning?

  • What grouping strategies will my lesson include?

  • How can I break down new skills into small steps to facilitate student learning?

  • What are the critical behaviors and thinking skills that should be explicitly modeled?

  • Have I provided ample opportunities to practice new skills in multiple modes of response?

  • Have I selected assessment methods and clear criteria for triggering instructional adjustments?

V suggestions and lessons learned

V. Suggestions and Lessons Learned it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

Practical suggestions observing
Practical Suggestions: Observing it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

  • Prioritize checklist items at a time—don’t look for too much!

  • Plan to visit several times—don’t use a single data point!

  • Plan to spend longer time at a class- don’t stop by and move forward immediately

  • Operationalize definitions of terms—don’t make anyone guess!

  • Provide frequent and timely feedback—don’t make them wait too long!

  • Practice! Practice! Practice!

Practical suggestions teaching
Practical Suggestions: Teaching it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

  • Plan to use the tool as a guide—sample from the tool categories as needed!

  • Embrace a cooperative process of professional improvement—grow with feedback and reflection!

  • Remember this tool can empower—improved practice is more than evaluation!

  • Acknowledge positives—grow with observed challenges!

More suggestions
More Suggestions it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

  • Consider transition time

  • Target the lesson objectives

  • Notice teacher/student engagement in instruction

  • Verbal praise should specifically refer to the task

  • Pay attention to time allocation, especially reviewing.

  • Address the assessment to measure lesson objectives

In summary1
In Summary it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

Clarify the lesson objectives

Increase the frequency

Provide timely feedback after observation

Extend the observation time

Deepen the observational tools

Questions? it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

Thank you
Thank You! it doesn’t get implemented by teachers, it’s not going to make a big

For Follow-Up or More Information: