The Elementary School Journal

Published by University of Chicago Press
Online ISSN: 1554-8279
Publications
Article
The shared and unique effects of teacher and student reports of teacher student relationship quality (TSRQ) in second and third grade on academic self views, behavioral engagement, and achievement the following year were investigated in a sample of 714 academically at-risk students. Teacher and student reports of teacher-student support and conflict showed low correspondence. As a block, teacher and student reports of TSRQ predicted all outcomes, above prior performance on that outcome and background variables. Student reports uniquely predicted school belonging, perceived academic competence, and math achievement. Teacher reports uniquely predicted behavioral engagement and child perceived academic competence. Teacher and student reports of the teacher-student relationship assess largely different constructs that predict different outcomes. Implications of findings for practice and research are discussed.
 
Article
Using latent variable structural equation modeling, we tested a theoretical model positing that grade retention has a positive effect on children's teacher- and peer-rated academic competencies and on sociometric measures of peer acceptance. We also expected that the positive effect of grade retention on peer acceptance would be mediated by children's ability to meet academic challenges in their classrooms. Participants were 350 (52.6% male) ethnically diverse and academically at-risk first graders attending 1 of 3 school districts in Texas. An individually administered test of academic achievement, teacher-report and peer-report measures of academic competence, and peer-report measures of peer acceptance were collected on children in first grade and 1 year later, at which time 63 children were repeating first grade and 287 were in second grade. The hypothesized model provided a good fit to the data. Children's academic competencies, as perceived by peers and teachers, fully mediated the effect of retention on subsequent peer acceptance.
 
Article
Based on a sample of 480 academically at-risk first graders, we used a cluster analysis involving multimethod assessment (i.e., teacher-report, peer-evaluation, and self-report) of behavioral and psychological engagement to identify subtypes of academic engagement. Four theoretically and practically meaningful clusters were identified and labeled as cooperative (n = 95), resistive (n =96), enthusiastic (n = 188), and disaffected (n = 101). The four types did not differ in IQ measured with the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test. The cooperative group consisted of more female and Hispanic students, whereas the resistive group consisted of more male and African American students. The cooperative group was the most popular among peers, followed by the enthusiastic group. The disaffected and resistive groups had more emotional symptoms than the cooperative and enthusiastic groups. Academic engagement types also differed in growth trajectories of academic achievement measured with Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement from second to fourth grade. For reading, the cooperative and enthusiastic groups outperformed the resistive and disaffected groups at the beginning. However, the growth rate was similar across engagement types. For math, the engagement types did not differ at the beginning. However, the cooperative group developed at a faster rate and had higher math achievement by fourth grade than the other types. The findings support the importance of teaching temperament-based regulatory skills and of providing a positive psychological climate for children's academic learning.
 
Article
The authors investigated the differential effect of retention on the development of academic achievement from grade one to five on children retained in first grade over six years. Growth Mixture Model (GMM) analyses supported the existence of two distinct trajectory groups of retained children for both reading and math among 125 ethnically and linguistically diverse retained children. For each achievement domain, a low intercept/higher growth group (Class 1) and a high intercept/slower growth group (Class 2) were identified. Furthermore, Class 1 children were found to score lower on several measures of learning related skills (LRS) variables and were characterized by having poorer self-regulation and less prosocial behaviors, compared to the other group. Findings suggest that some children appear to benefit more from retention, in terms of higher reading and math growth, than others. Study findings have implications for selecting children into retention intervention and early intervention.
 
Article
The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of schema-broadening instruction (SBI) on second graders' word-problem-solving skills and their ability to represent the structure of word problems using algebraic equations. Teachers (n = 18) were randomly assigned to conventional word-problem instruction or SBI word-problem instruction, which taught students to represent the structural, defining features of word problems with overarching equations. Intervention lasted 16 weeks. We pretested and posttested 270 students on measures of word-problem skill; analyses that accounted for the nested structure of the data indicated superior word-problem learning for SBI students. Descriptive analyses of students' word-problem work indicated that SBI helped students represent the structure of word problems with algebraic equations, suggesting that SBI promoted this aspect of students' emerging algebraic reasoning.
 
Extent to which teachers individualized instruction. Teachers in the ISI-K treatment group provided significantly more individualized instruction than the PD contrast group in both the fall (p < .005) and in the winter (p < .01). In this figure 1 represents the use of small groups however students are receiving the same instruction and 2 represents clear evidence of differentiation where small groups and content vary by student and skill level.  
The unrestricted and homogenous hierarchical multivariate linear models.  
Article
The purpose of this cluster-randomized control field trial was to was to examine the extent to which kindergarten teachers could learn a promising instructional strategy, wherein kindergarten reading instruction was differentiated based upon students' ongoing assessments of language and literacy skills and documented child characteristic by instruction (CXI) interactions; and to test the efficacy of this differentiated reading instruction on the reading outcomes of students from culturally diverse backgrounds. The study involved 14 schools and included 23 treatment (n = 305 students) and 21 contrast teacher (n = 251 students). Teachers in the contrast condition received only a baseline professional development that included a researcher-delivered summer day-long workshop on individualized instruction. Data sources included parent surveys, individually administered child assessments of language, cognitive, and reading skills and videotapes of classroom instruction. Using Hierarchical Multivariate Linear Modeling (HMLM), we found students in treatment classrooms outperformed students in the contrast classrooms on a latent measure of reading skills, comprised of letter-word reading, decoding, alphabetic knowledge, and phonological awareness (ES = .52). Teachers in both conditions provided small group instruction, but teachers in the treatment condition provided significantly more individualized instruction. Our findings extend research on the efficacy of teachers using Individualized Student Instruction to individualize instruction based upon students' language and literacy skills in first through third grade. Findings are discussed regarding the value of professional development related to differentiating core reading instruction and the challenges of using Response to Intervention approaches to address students' needs in the areas of reading in general education contexts.
 
Article
To promote a relational understanding of the equal sign (=), students may require exposure to a variety of equation types (i.e., 3 = 8 - 5; 2 + 3 = 1 + 4; 9 - 3 = 6). The purpose of this study was to evaluate 8 elementary curricula for degree of exposure to equation types. Across 6 elementary grade levels, curricula were coded for the number of standard and nonstandard equation types appearing within the student textbook. Except in 1 of the 8 curricula, students typically do not receive exposure to nonstandard equation types that promote a relational understanding of the equal sign. An analysis of the accompanying teacher manual for each textbook suggests that students receive minimal instruction on relational definitions of the equal sign, with the majority of instruction occurring in grades K-2 and minimal instruction provided in grades 3-5.
 
ROC curve predicting reading status.  
Article
Models of Response to Intervention (RTI) include parameters of assessment and instruction. This study focuses on assessment with the purpose of developing a screening battery that validly and efficiently identifies first-grade children at risk for reading problems. In an RTI model, these children would be candidates for early intervention. We examined accuracy, fluency, growth, and teacher rating measures as predictors of child status (at risk, not at risk) at the end of the school year based on an unselected sample of 243 children. The prediction model that best fit our selection criteria included 2-word fluency measures and a teacher rating of reading problems. Word-fluency growth was an equally plausible choice statistically, but, because the measure would require an additional data point, it was not the most efficient choice. The receiver-operator characteristic curve analysis yielded an area-under-the-curve index of .96, which indicates the selected 3-variable model is highly accurate.
 
Article
A sample of 784 children with below-median literacy performance in kindergarten or at the beginning of grade 1 was assessed in 5 areas of psychological and social variables: academic competence, sociodemographic characteristics, social/emotional/behavioral characteristics, school context, and home environment. We examined the contribution of academic competence to retention first, and then evaluated contributions of each of the other areas beyond academic competence. The 165 students retained in first grade were found to differ from promoted students on reading and mathematics achievement test scores, teacher-rated engagement and achievement, and intelligence as individual predictors of academic competence, but with direct effects only for reading and teacher-rated achievement when entered as a set of predictors. None additional variables had zero-order significant correlations with retention status. Using hierarchical logistic regression, beyond the effects of academic competence variables we found that only being underage for grade and the home environmental variables of positive parental perceptions of their child's school, sense of shared responsibility for education with the school, and parent communication with the school contributed significantly to retention. Implications for educational policy and intervention are discussed.
 
Article
Given that previous findings on the social distribution of the effects of small classes have been mixed and inconclusive, in the present study I attempted to shed light on the mechanism through which small classes affect the achievement of low- and high-achieving students. I used data from a 4-year large-scale randomized experiment (project STAR) to examine the effects of small classes on the achievement gap. The sample consisted of nearly 11,000 elementary school students who participated in the experiment from kindergarten to grade 3. Meta-analysis and quantile regression methods were employed to examine the effects of small classes on the achievement gap in mathematics and reading SAT scores. The results consistently indicated that higher-achieving students benefited more from being in small classes in early grades than other students. The findings also indicated that although all types of students benefited from being in small classes, reductions in class size did not reduce the achievement gap between low and high achievers.
 
Article
Studies efficiency in 17 elementary classrooms. When the pupils in a classroom number less than 16, a significant reduction occurs in the social complexity of child behavior. Noninvolvement by a pupil was highest when the pupil space was less than 30 or more than 50 square feet per pupil. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This study examined interpersonal competence configurations in a sample of 315 fifth-grade students (170 girls and 145 boys) from 8 elementary schools in the Appalachian region. Teachers completed the Interpersonal Competence Scale– Teacher (ICS-T) for each student. The ICS-T consists of 18 7-point Likert scales to assess academic achievement, aggression, internalizing behavior, popularity, social skills, and athletic ability/attractiveness. Teachers also completed scales pertaining to social adaptation. Students completed peer behavioral assessments, sociometric surveys, and social network surveys. Nearly 40% of students were in high-competence configurations characterized by high teacher ratings on academic, behavioral, and social adjustment. These configurations were associated with high end-of-year grades and standardized achievement test scores and with positive peer relationships. In contrast, 16% of girls and 27% of boys were in high-risk configurations characterized by high teacher ratings of academic, behavioral, and social difficulties. These configurations were associated with low end-of-year grades and standardized test scores and with social and behavioral difficulties that are predictive of later adjustment problems. We also identified moderate-risk configurations that tended to fall between high-competence and high-risk configurations in terms of their relation to academic achievement and peer relations. Implications for interventions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Using standards-based evaluation ratings for nearly 400 teachers, and achievement results for over 7,000 students from grades 4-6, this study investigated the distribution and achievement effects of teacher quality in Washoe County, a mid-sized school district serving Reno and Sparks, Nevada. Classrooms with higher concentrations of minority, poor, and low-achieving students were more likely to be taught by teachers with lower evaluation scores. Two-level multilevel models, nesting students within classrooms, tended to show higher mean achievement in classrooms taught by teachers of higher than lower quality, with differences of approximately one-tenth of 1 standard deviation. Findings relating teacher quality to closing within-classroom achievement gaps, though, were mixed. Implications are discussed related to teacher evaluation, teacher quality, and educational inequality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined the hypothesized developmental relationship between early reading and spelling ability by comparing 1st graders' spelling at the beginning of the school year to their reading achievement at the end of the year. 75 Ss from 4 classes participated in the study; 3 of the classes were from a suburban school that served a heterogeneous socioeconomic population, while the 4th class consisted mostly of Ss from upper-middle-class families. In September, Ss were dictated an 18-word spelling test that measured alphabet production, teacher prediction of end-of-year reading achievement, and Metropolitan Readiness Test scores. In January, the same spelling test was readministered to all Ss. In May, 2 reading achievement tests—an informal word recognition test and the Word Knowledge and Comprehension subtests of the Metropolitan Achievement Test—were administered. Results show correlations of .68 and .61, respectively, between the September spelling and May reading achievement measures, supporting the proposed relationship. It is asserted that the September test actually measured conceptual word knowledge acquired by Ss before entry into the 1st grade and that this knowledge served as a predictor of future reading growth. It is concluded that a developmental spelling assessment enables teachers to discern patterns of growth in beginning word knowledge, helping to establish the type of instruction and pace appropriate for students. A purposeful writing program should be initiated early in the 1st grade, regardless of students' spelling ability. (31 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Covariance-Adjusted NCE Reading Scores for Success for All and Open Court Reading Programs for Two Cohorts of Students in the Sacramento City Schools, 1997-1999
Covariance-Adjusted NCE Language Scores for Success for All and Open Court Reading Programs for Two Cohorts of Students in the Sacramento City Schools, 1997-1999
Covariance-Adjusted Scores (in NCE units) in Total Reading for Bottom Quartile of Success for All and Open Court Reading Program from Two Cohorts of Students in the Sacramento City Schools, 1997-1999
Article
This independent evaluation of 2 commonly used approaches for accelerating reading achievement and reducing inappropriate special education referrals, Success for All (SFA) and Open Court, was conducted in 12 Title I schools in a large urban district in northern California. To compare the effects of these approaches, we collected data on 936 grade 2 and 3 students over 2 years and 5,694 K through 6 students over 3 years to determine academic and special education enrollment outcomes, respectively. Results supported the prediction that students who used Open Court would outperform those who used SFA on mean SAT9 scores in reading and language but not the prediction that SFA would help students in the bottom quartile of SAT9 score higher or reduce demand for special education services more than Open Court. Neither Open Court nor SFA was associated with reductions in special education enrollment rates, except in Title I schools with the least poverty. A follow-up survey of 17 teachers and an analysis of lesson pacing plans suggested why the teachers saw Open Court as superior on academic outcomes and SFA on social outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined how successfully minority students' learning styles could be matched with computer instruction and studied the effects of matching on Ss' achievement, reflectivity, and self-esteem. 16 Black and 20 White 1st graders were randomly assigned to LOGO instruction, computer assisted instruction (CAI), or a no exposure control group. Pairs of Ss received teaching from White instructors for 10 wks. Results indicate that Black LOGO-instructed Ss outscored White LOGO-instructed Ss on a standardized mathematics test. Black CAI Ss scored lower on a measure of self-reflectivity than Black or White Ss in the other conditions. Findings suggest that learning style is mediated through social and cultural contexts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Describes a teaching program based on a combination of cooperative learning and individually programed instruction called "team-assisted individualization" (TAI). Two studies investigated the effects of TAI on student achievement (SA), attitudes, and behaviors by assigning 879 3rd–6th grade math students in 2 suburban school districts to 1 of 3 conditions: TAI, individualized instruction (II) without student teams, or control. The TAI program used 4–5 member teams of students of varied academic ability, a team study method based on student pairs assigned to specific units within teams, and teacher review at regular intervals. The II group used the same materials and procedures as the TAI group except that students worked individually and did not receive team recognition. The control group received traditional, class-oriented instruction. Results support the conclusion that the TAI method increases SA more than group-paced instruction; significant differences in SA favoring the TAI condition were found in both studies. The critical elements of the program for SA, however, were not as clear. The lack of significant SA differences between the TAI and II groups suggested that teams did not enhance the effectiveness of the TAI program. The positive effects on SA, behavioral ratings, and student attitudes appeared to be due to the features shared by the 2 programs. This confirmed the view that students, since they have different skills and learning rates, benefit more from II than group-paced instruction. (16 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Presents some psychiatric and psychological findings from a group of 23 intensively studied children evenly divided between boys and girls and achievers and underachievers. With intelligence quotient, determined by the Lorge-Thorndike Intelligence Tests, and family circumstances controlled, differences in academic achievement as measured by school grades and standardized achivement tests could reasonably be expected to reflect variations in individual characteristics of the children and variations in their family experience of a more subtle nature than merely the fact of the presence of 2 parents in the home. The psychiatrist saw the children in 3 sessions and the psychologist administered the WISC, TAT, Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study, a sentence completion test, tests of visual and auditory perception, and a test for impulse control. The variables that seemed most important for distinguishing between achievers and underachievers were the psychiatrist's and the psychologist's ratings of the children's interpersonal relationships and self-concepts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
The resistance of some minority students to school is a topic of great theoretical and practical concern for educators. Does it stem from attitudes brought to classrooms, or does it develop within classrooms? Is it inevitable, or is it remediable? How can teachers cope with the process? This article describes "acting," a process of group resistance to teachers among low-income Hawaiian children at the beginning of the school year. It relates this process to the children's peer group norms and discusses ways in which classrooms can be adapted to the peer culture of Hawaiian children.
 
Article
Observes that classroom learning requires students to be adaptive by coping with and modifying stressful situations. The development of adaptive learning enables students to respond flexibly to tasks and to transform and initiate them, and thereby assume control over their learning. It is suggested that educators' conceptions of success and failure in student learning interfere with the enhancement of adaptive learning, as do tasks that are too prescriptive. An alternative conception of classroom learning is presented that emphasizes the constructive qualities of functional failure and the limited benefits of uninformative success. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Presents a different concept of individualization of instruction (IOI). For some teachers, IOI means that the textbook material should be segmented to permit each pupil to proceed from part to part until the assignment is completed. Others feel that it means that pupils proceed through the assigned material at their own pace. IOI has been used to support the authority of the teacher by the simple method of fragmentizing pupil protest. When individual pupils are kept busy on different aspects of subject matter, opposition to the program of the school can be minimized. Instead, it is suggested that IOI should incorporate democracy which is based on a feeling of responsibility to others. The application of democracy in our schools should incorporate peer teaching and class discussion that could release the potential abilities of the learners. Additional suggestions include a deemphasis on evaluation of pupils, variation in teaching methods, and the teacher asking a variety of questions to stimulate discussion, even if the teacher does not personally agree with the content of the question. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Conducted an experiment which indicates that the stereotyping of various occupations with respect to sex is still prevalent in spite of the recent overlapping of sex roles in these occupations. Ss were 287 6th-grade pupils in 3 schools of north central Texas, about equally divided by sex, who responded to the teachers' oral listing of 25 vocations and 25 vocational activities by indicating for each of the 50 stimulus words the initial letter of "male," "female," or "both." Most of the Ss associated most of the occupations and occupational activities with one sex rather than with both. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This article presents results from 2 studies comparing 3 approaches to teaching vocabulary during storybook reading: (a) contextual instruction, based on connecting words to their use in books and to children's personal experience; (b) analytical instruction, which enhances contextual instruction with semantic analysis of words in contexts other than the books and children's experience; and (c) anchored instruction, which augments analytical instruction with attention to the spoken and written forms of words. Each approach was implemented by classroom teachers in 2 of 6 kindergarten classrooms from 2 schools for 6 weeks. In the first study, I compared the effects of these approaches on 94 children's learning of taught words at the end of the intervention. The second study investigated the effects of instruction with 50 children from the original study 6 months after the intervention, when the children were in first grade. Of the children in the study, about a third were English language learners, and about a third were from low socioeconomic status families. I assessed children's knowledge of the words targeted in the intervention through a picture and oral vocabulary measure that I developed based on the format of the Test of Language Development P:3, which I administered and used as a control for children's general vocabulary knowledge. Results suggested that both the analytical and anchored methods of instruction were significantly more effective than the contextual method at promoting children's learning of words targeted in instruction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Presents principles for devising and utilizing developmentally appropriate procedures for assessing young children's reading and writing. It is contended that informal observations and structured performance sample assessments are more appropriate than standardized tests for measuring early childhood literacy learning. Since observations can be conducted in conjunction with instruction and performance samples are more like actual teaching practices, these procedures yield more useful information. Specific examples of observational and performance sample techniques for assessing the following aspects of young children's literacy development include knowledge of the functions of written language, emergent reading of storybooks, writing strategies, and knowledge of letter-sound correspondences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
In this study, we used a randomized design to investigate the effects of an enriched reading program on 226 urban elementary students' (third through sixth grade) reading comprehension, oral reading fluency, and attitude toward reading in 2 elementary schools. The School-wide Enrichment Model in Reading Framework (SEM-R) provides enriched reading experiences by exposing students to books in their areas of interest, daily supported independent reading of challenging self-selected books using differentiated reading instruction, and interest-based choice opportunities in reading. Prior to the study, a daily 1-hour afternoon remedial literacy program was mandated by the district using workbooks and test-preparation instruction in an attempt to increase reading scores. In the study, 14 teachers were randomly assigned to teach the treatment or a control group during this afternoon literacy block, and students were randomly assigned either to participate in the SEM-R treatment group or to a control group that continued to receive remedial reading instruction and test preparation for 12 weeks. In addition, all students participated in the direct instructional approach, Success for All, for 90 minutes each morning. Results on oral reading fluency tests and attitudes toward reading scales indicated that students in the SEM-R treatment group scored statistically significantly higher than control students in both oral reading fluency and attitude toward reading. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This study examined teachers' awareness of their classrooms' social networks, as reported by their students. Teachers and 549 students in 19 fourth- and 11 fifth-grade classes from 7 schools in 2 suburban/small urban school districts were asked twice during the school year to list the members of classroom social groups. In addition, we gave participants questionnaires to obtain teacher ratings of and peer nominations for student characteristics. Results indicated that teachers were most aware of classroom social groups that were also most salient to their students and overlooked fewer groups in spring than in fall. Comparisons of students in fully teacher-identified, partially identified, and completely overlooked groups revealed that they tended to differ in teacher- and student-perceived characteristics such as aggression and popularity. Knowledge of which students' social associations tend to be less easily detectable may be helpful to teachers as they endeavor to capitalize on and improve the social dynamics of their classrooms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Argues that emphasis on the conventional back-to-basics classroom structure with a narrow curriculum and reliance on comparative grading will reinforce racist beliefs about intellectual incompetence in minority children. The concept of status generalization and research on classroom organization are used to analyze the problems inherent in traditional instruction. The alternative model of classroom instruction presumes that human intelligence is made up of multiple abilities that are not highly correlated. Traditional instruction can reinforce racist beliefs through an undue emphasis on reading ability as a status characteristic. A multiple-abilities curriculum can be used to treat problems of reading ability status in an ongoing classroom by causing students to believe that there are other abilities besides reading that are relevant to classroom tasks. When students evaluate themselves on new abilities, they can forward these new evaluations to new group tasks. The multiple-abilities classroom is discussed in terms of changes in task structure, evaluation, and perceptions of abilities. (32 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Stepwise Regression Analysis of First-Grade Variables Predicting Children's WRAT-3 Reading Raw Scores in the Second Grade
Article
This study examined the development of reading and reading-related skills for native and nonnative speakers of English through the first and second grades. Tasks assessing reading, phonological, and language processing were administered to 36 native English speakers (NS) and 38 children who spoke English as a second language (ELL). Both ELL and NS children showed similar patterns of growth and achievement on measures of word recognition and phonological processing. Error analyses revealed that children from both language groups used similar strategies in reading unfamiliar words. Furthermore, the same first-grade variables--pseudoword reading and phonological awareness--were important contributors to reading skill for children from both language groups. Therefore, the findings from this sample suggested that word recognition in English develops in a similar way for NS and ELL children from middle-class backgrounds. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
A decade ago, Hoover-Dempsey and Sandier offered a model of the parental involvement process that focused on understanding why parents become involved in their children's education and how their involvement influences student outcomes. Since then, we and others have conducted conceptual and empirical work to enhance understanding of processes examined in the model. In this article (companion to Walker and colleagues' article about scale development on the model in this issue), we review recent work on constructs central to the model's initial question: Why do parents become involved in children's education? Based on this review, we offer suggestions for (1) research that may deepen understanding of parents' motivations for involvement and (2) school and family practices that may strengthen the incidence and effectiveness of parental involvement across varied school communities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
We used the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study--Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) data to examine how important mathematics readiness levels are to subsequent achievement growth and the efficacy of instruction and engagement in producing such growth. The ECLS-K selected a nationally representative sample of kindergartners in fall 1998 and is following these children through the end of eighth grade. We employed the standardized mathematics assessments that were administered to the students by ECLS-K staff. Separately for students who began kindergarten with low, medium-low, medium-high, and high mathematics skill, we examined achievement growth through third grade and the effects of teacher-reported time on mathematics instruction and student engagement (as perceived by the teacher) on such growth. We found that students who began with the lowest achievement also showed the least growth over this period. Students in the two highest skills groups had similar growth, and the highest levels of growth. Students in the lowest group received the most time on instruction but had the lowest engagement with instruction. Time on instruction increased achievement for all students equally, but the effect of engagement was strongest among the lowest-performing group. The lower engagement of the lowest-performing group explained more than half of their lower achievement growth in grades K-3. If inequality in mathematics achievement is to be reduced, teachers must make greater efforts to improve the beginning knowledge and academic engagement of this group. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This study investigated the relation of teacher characteristics, including ratings of teacher quality, to classroom instructional variables and to bilingual students' literacy and oral language outcomes at the end of the kindergarten year. Teacher characteristics included observational measures of oral language proficiency, quality, and classroom activity structure, as well as surveys of knowledge of reading-related skills. Student outcomes in both languages included letter naming, word reading, and phonological awareness and oral language composites. The study involved 141 teachers from a multisite project who were observed up to 3 times at the beginning, middle, and end of the year during their reading/language arts block while teaching English language learners to read in their primary language (Spanish) and/or in English. Teacher quality, but not teacher knowledge, was related positively to student engagement and negatively to time spent in noninstructional activities. Initial student and classroom performance, language of instruction and of outcomes, and teacher oral language proficiency in both Spanish and English predicted outcomes, whereas teacher quality was less related, and teacher content knowledge was consistently not related to student outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
In this article Boocock's model of the social context of education is used to compare divergent climates for black students in 2 rural southern elementary schools. In one school, with 20% black enrollment, black students are dispersed throughout school groups and have equitable access to such school resources as remedial instruction, enrichment activities, advanced reading groups, and various privileges. In the second school, with 40% black enrollment, black students are tracked together into low and average academic groups and have restricted access to school resources. In both schools black and white teachers and students use an assumed color blindness (race makes no difference) and a preoccupation with subject matter to mask differential treatment of black students. The schools' interracial climates are also affected by students' ages, by the schools' and communities' histories, and by institutionalized responses to ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and broader social trends.
 
Article
The issue of whether to separate English language development (ELD) into a separate instructional block or whether to integrate it with reading/language arts instruction is an unanswered question with theoretical and practical implications. We addressed this question by observing instruction across the year in 85 kindergarten classrooms that varied in (a) whether ELD was a separate block and (b) whether the program was characterized as English immersion or bilingual. Observational data indicated that classrooms with separate ELD blocks had greater percentages of instructional time devoted to oral language and literacy activities for both types of programs. In comparison to English learners in classrooms without separate ELD blocks, English learners in classrooms with separate ELD blocks had modestly but significantly higher English oral language and literacy scores on the Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery, controlling for fall performance. Educational implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Means and Standard Deviations at Posttest and Delayed Posttest, by Condition
Breadth of Word Learning across Measures, by Condition
Article
The purpose of this study was to compare 2 methods for directly teaching word meanings to kindergarten students within storybook read-alouds that varied in instructional time and depth of instruction along with a control condition that provided students with incidental exposure to target words. Embedded instruction introduces target word meanings during storybook readings in a time-efficient manner. Extended instruction is more time intensive but provides multiple opportunities to interact with target words outside the context of the story. Participants included 42 kindergarten students who were taught 9 target words, 3 with each method. Target words were counterbalanced in a within-subjects design. Findings indicated that extended instruction resulted in more full and refined word knowledge, while embedded instruction resulted in partial knowledge of target vocabulary. Implications are discussed in relation to the strengths and limitations of different approaches to direct vocabulary instruction in kindergarten and the trade-offs between instruction that focuses on teaching for breadth versus depth. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses 4 alterable elements of classroom organization—use of time, incentive, and level and quality of instruction—and reviews research on the effects of these elements on student achievement, particularly in programmed instruction. Traditional approaches to instructional improvement are examined, and an alternative "component-building" technique is proposed that would permit testing of individual elements of instruction. Experimental designs for component-building research and the use of practitioner-originated research are discussed. (35 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Describes a program of play activities that emphasizes freedom of thought and action in the nurture of creative endeavors. Play activities circumvent in part the restraints of a "real" world that may inhibit creativity. Since play is usually self-reinforcing, a playful child is less likely to be bored with his environment and may discover relationships not evident to the nonplaying child. A small group of children met 2 afternoons a wk. for 6 wk. in a TV production studio. Ss were instructed to think about the problems of the school and suggest new ideas for its improvement. The playful attitudes were developed by the informal settings of the meetings. A questionnaire survey of the attitudes of 21 parents indicated a less enthusiastic feeling about the openness and feeling in the classroom than did the pupil participants. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
40 students (aged 9–11 yrs) predicted their spelling performance using a 3-point scale ("yes, I can"; "maybe I can"; or "no, I can't spell it") before spelling 18 medium-difficulty words. One-half hour later Ss looked at each word and judged its relative correctness on the 3-point scale they used to make predictions. In the 2nd phase of the study, 30 experimental Ss "looked" at their spellings under different conditions: silent pronunciation, out-loud pronunciation by student, or teacher pronunciation. 10 controls simply predicted and wrote spellings again. Ss' predictions were significantly correlated with their actual spelling accuracy. Ss developed metacognitive knowledge about words they were asked to spell. Results are discussed in terms of the kinds of spelling information spellers may have used to make predictions and self-evaluations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Describes the connections that should exist between the home and school in a developmentally appropriate early childhood program. The present author argues that programs that (1) are based on child development principles; (2) employ familial uses of space, time, and language; and (3) provide sharing of information about children's interests and abilities between the home and school are most appropriate for young children. Sources of continuity/discontinuity between home and school are identified. Suggestions are made for increasing continuity with appropriate environmental factors, while at the same time decreasing discontinuity between the home and school. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
26 3rd–6th graders who were social isolates characterized by a passive and complaint style of conduct were assessed through interviews, classroom observations, and measures (including the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking and Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control Scale for Children). The pattern of anxiety and withdrawal had characterized some Ss since infancy and others only since the beginning of school. Some Ss had previously shown aggressive behavior, and had only become withdrawn following these unsuccessful attempts at gaining attention. In many cases, isolation was related to moves associated with concurrent stressful events, such as parental death and divorce, during an age involving rapid developmental changes. Family troubles and academic failure deterred many Ss from forming relationships with peers. Although several sets of factors appeared to lead to withdrawal, the result in most cases was a similar pattern of low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, blocked creativity, extreme shyness, defensiveness, and discouragement. Guidelines for teachers to identify and assist withdrawn children are presented. (40 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Investigated the relationship between high absenteeism, peer acceptance, and mental adjustment of pupils and their scholastic achievement. The rate of progress of a pupil was expressed in terms of slopes in the graphs representing achievement. Ss totaled about 2500 pupils in 3 elementary school districts. The rs between achievement and absenteeism were negligible. Most Ss grouped on the basis of achievement test scores in Grade 1 followed a zigzag course of progress through the 1st 6 grades. When Ss were grouped in terms of absences in Grade 1, no zigzag appeared through Grade 6. Peer popularity seemed to have no relationship to achievement or to attendance. 247 mothers responded to the 57-item Resources Inventory (RI) which measured facets of their children's mental health. The RI correctly identified the mental health status of 84% of their children. Results indicate that high absenteeism, marginal achievement, and being friendless almost dooms a pupil to inadequate performance in high school and to maladjustment in adulthood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
In this article we briefly examine the meta-analysis of systematic phonics instruction published in Teaching Children to Read, the influential 2000 report by the National Reading Panel. A brief review of this study, and the ensuing reanalysis by Camlli, Vargas, and Yurecko, is given. Following this, we report new analyses that substantially alter previous interpretations of the effect of systematic phonics instruction. In the second part of the article, we examine how "knowledge" created through meta-analysis has entered the domain of public discussion. We conclude by considering how research studies consistent with the intent of the No Child Left Behind law can be designed to engender more effective reading instruction.
 
Article
Suggests that many children have difficulty in learning school mathematics because its abstract and informal nature is much different than the intuitive and informal mathematics they acquire from experience. A distinction between form and understanding is discussed in terms of the relation between conceptual knowledge and knowledge of symbols and rules, research on children's mathematics achievement, and instructional approaches that may correct some learning problems that now exist. (3 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Percentage and Mean Number of Words Known, by Grade and Instructional Condition 
Article
This article reports on 2 studies with kindergarten and first-grade children from a low-achieving elementary school that provided vocabulary instruction by the students' regular classroom teacher of sophisticated words (advanced vocabulary words) from children's trade books that are typically read aloud. Study 1 compared the number of sophisticated words learned between 52 children who were directly taught the words and 46 children who received no instruction. As expected, children in the experimental group learned significantly more words. Study 2, a within-subject design, examined 76 children's learning of words under 2 different amounts of instruction, either 3 days or 6 days. In Study 2, the vocabulary gains in kindergarten and first-grade children for words that received more instruction were twice as large. Student vocabulary was assessed by a picture test where students were presented with pictures that represented different words and were asked to identify which picture represented the word that the tester provided. The verbal test was similar but used a sentence description of a scenario instead of a picture. The instructional implications for which words to teach and how to teach them to young children are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Suggests techniques that teachers can use in working with a student with a terminal illness and how they can provide support to parents, siblings, and schoolmates in coping with the emotional crises surrounding a dying child. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined stability and variability in teaching styles for an effective and a less effective junior high English teacher selected on the basis of extreme differences in classroom management effectiveness and student achievement. A sample of 3–4 classroom lessons for each teacher was analyzed through sociolinguistic/ethnographic techniques. Comparisons revealed stability for both teachers in ways of eliciting student participation. Variations in the effective teacher's style were associated with variations in academic content and level of difficulty of content. In the less effective classroom, differences in style occurred when the teacher's procedural expectations for students were not clear. Teacher/student interactions and instructional sequences revealed differences in the ways teachers structured lessons and activities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
In this study we examined the relation between children's social competence and their first-grade classroom environment. Drawing from data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, we used cluster analysis to identify 4 types of typical classrooms based on observed classroom emotional and instructional supports. The 4 types of classrooms were marked by (1) overall high quality of both supports, including high-quality evaluative feedback; (2) high-quality emotional support, and low-quality evaluative feedback; (3) mediocre levels of both supports; and (4) low levels of both supports. Of the children participating in this study, 946 students from 820 classrooms fit the 4-cluster solution and were included in the data analysis. The association between classroom type and social competence (measured by teacher ratings and independent observations of behavior in and out of the classroom) was analyzed, and a moderating effect of the classroom on children displaying indicators of functional risk (attentional, academic, behavioral, and social) was considered. In classrooms marked by high-quality emotional supports and evaluative feedback, children displayed significantly better social competence than children in other classrooms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined the cognitive responses students make to teaching events and the cognitive processes students' teachers intend them to use in typical classroom lessons. Five 4th-, 5th-, and 7th-grade teachers from British Columbia and 113 of their students participated in the study. 50 25–45 min classroom lessons (10 for each teacher) were videotaped, varying across mathematics, science, language arts, and social studies. Teachers then viewed the tapes and were asked to stop at points where they intended students to think in particular ways in response to teaching. Students were interviewed using a structured interview schedule composed of 6 levels of questions designed to probe their thought processes during instruction. Results indicate that both students and teachers reported that teachers used instructional stimuli to try to manage a large variety of cognitive processes that they believed were related to students' learning. Findings demonstrate that students mediate instructional events with their cognitive processing. (12 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined the relation between the levels of moral development of 8 teachers and their understanding of 2 topics: classroom rules and teacher–student roles. Interviews and discussions of classroom videotapes with teachers showed that 4 Ss who had relatively high scores on the Defining Issues Test of moral development shared similar understandings that contrasted with those of 4 Ss with relatively low scores. Ss with high development had a more democratic view of teacher and student roles and saw rules as protecting individual and group rights. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
An analysis of enrollment data from 21 classes in an urban elementary school illustrated that, in a typical classroom, about 437 of 831 students were enrolled for the full school year and that there were patterns to the times they moved. Through structured interviews, teachers described how this mobility affected classroom instruction and management and the strategies they used to work with mobile students. Enrollment data and teacher reports suggest that student mobility may affect instruction, classroom management, and learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
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