Addressing growth in reading comprehension for high capacity students
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2019 Dr Nives Nibali
The aim of this study was to explore reason for the decline in growth in reading comprehension for high capacity students (i.e. students in the top 25%). The reading comprehension and self-regulated learning performances of Year 5/6 students were assessed, and individual weighted likelihood estimates were calculated using Rasch modeling and item response theory. Statistical analysis confirmed that high capacity students made less progress in reading comprehension than other students. A correlation was found between self-regulated learning and reading comprehension performance for all students. The assessment for reading comprehension was administered to teachers who also responded to questionnaires about classroom practices. Examination of teacher reading performance relative to that of their high capacity students found further decline in growth among students who out-performed their teacher; however, this decline was ameliorated by greater ability to self-regulate learning. High capacity students in Year 5 progressed at a greater rate than those in Year 6, to the extent that they performed as well as Year 6 students after six months; that is, the Year 5 students continued to develop their reading skills, while the Year 6 students did not. Targeted teaching practices, collaboration between teachers, and the inclusion of higher-order thinking skills were associated with greater progress in reading comprehension for high capacity students in both year levels. The study recommends providing resources to teachers to improve their use of assessment to target the teaching of reading comprehension toward student zones of proximal development. It also highlights the importance of monitoring and improving teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge for teaching higher-order skills. Such resources should include professional development such as online, evidence-based modules that include examples and practical resources, monitoring and development of teacher content knowledge and building professional networks within and across schools.
KeywordsHigh capacity students; quartile; reading comprehension; self-regulated learning; targeted teaching; opportunity to learn
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