BUILDING A DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF LITERATURE WITH MIDDLE-GRADE STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES.Abstract. State frameworks emphasize literacy goals such as understanding literary concepts and understanding how to read and compose com·pose
v. com·posed, com·pos·ing, com·pos·es
1. To make up the constituent parts of; constitute or form: texts with varied purposes. Students with learning disabilities need to engage in instruction that addresses these goals and takes into account the special literacy challenges these students face. This article describes a study of how middle-school teachers in general education classrooms implemented a Supported Literacy approach and how students with disabilities performed in relation to their peers. Supported Literacy engages students in integrated thematic the·mat·ic
1. Of, relating to, or being a theme: a scene of thematic importance.
2. units in which they read, discuss, and write about a shared, age-appropriate text. Findings indicate that teachers provided students with disabilities access to the full range of challenging reading and writing activities in the unit. Students with disabilities performed similarly to normally achieving and honors students An honors student is a student in elementary, middle, or high school recognized for achieving high grades.
Honors students are recognized on lists published periodically throughout the school year, known as "honor rolls". in one of the most challenging comprehension comprehension
Act of or capacity for grasping with the intellect. The term is most often used in connection with tests of reading skills and language abilities, though other abilities (e.g., mathematical reasoning) may also be examined. and writing activities, writing persuasively per·sua·sive
Tending or having the power to persuade: a persuasive argument.
per·sua about their interpretation of a text. Results also indicate that all students need a fuller understanding of the process of developing a persuasive argument and that teachers need more skill in assessing students' work to determine and respond to students' levels of understanding. The article discusses implications of these findings for studying complex literacy interventions.
LITERACY AND STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Middle-school students' ability to understand a variety of texts and express their understanding in writing is core to learning in every major content area and critical to their progress into high school. In language arts language arts
The subjects, including reading, spelling, and composition, aimed at developing reading and writing skills, usually taught in elementary and secondary school. , specifically, state and national frameworks emphasize substantive understanding goals such as understanding the purposes and features of different kinds of texts (narrative, informative, persuasive) and understanding the meaning of literary concepts such as imagery, metaphor, and point of view. State frameworks also include understanding goals related to the ways of knowing that are important to reading literary texts. Students are expected to understand how to make inferences about a character from descriptions of what that character is doing or thinking. Students are also expected to understand how to apply a theme to a literary text. In writing, students are expected to understand how to describe their own responses to a text and how to use reasons and evidence to argue for an interpretation of text (Marzano Marzano is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Pavia in the Italian region Lombardy, located about 25 km southeast of Milan and about 14 km northeast of Pavia. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 1,125 and an area of 9.2 km². & Kendall Ken·dall , Edward Calvin 1886-1972.
American biochemist. He shared a 1950 Nobel Prize for discoveries concerning the hormones of the adrenal cortex. , 1995).
Students with learning disabilities need to have access to instruction that addresses these understanding goals and provides the necessary support to achieve them. Instructional design Instructional design is the practice of arranging media (communication technology) and content to help learners and teachers transfer knowledge most effectively. The process consists broadly of determining the current state of learner understanding, defining the end goal of and individualized in·di·vid·u·al·ize
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.
2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.
3. support must take into account the literacy challenges many students with disabilities bring into the middle grades. For example, students with learning disabilities are less likely than their normally achieving peers to be strategic readers and writers. They are less likely to use the comprehension strategies that good readers use intuitively, such as self-questioning self-ques·tion·ing
Scrutiny of one's own feelings, actions, and motivations. , prediction, summarizing, and rereading, or to use composing com·pose
v. com·posed, com·pos·ing, com·pos·es
1. To make up the constituent parts of; constitute or form: strategies such as webbing, rereading their writing, and self-editing. Even when these students know about these strategies, they call on them less appropriately or flexibly (Graham, Harris Harris, Scotland: see Lewis and Harris. , MacArthur, & Schwartz Schwartz is a Canadian spices brand. It is also a common surname and may refer to:
Students with learning disabilities tend to bring to both reading and writing less knowledge of the special features and organization of different kinds of texts, such as arguments, personal histories, directions, or research reports (Englert & Hiebert, 1984; Englert, Raphael Raphael (răf`ēəl, rā`–), archangel. He is prominent in the book of Tobit, as the companion of Tobias, as the healer of Tobit, and as the rescuer of Sara from Asmodeus. Milton made him a featured character of Paradise Lost. , Anderson Anderson, river, Canada
Anderson, river, c.465 mi (750 km) long, rising in several lakes in N central Northwest Territories, Canada. It meanders north and west before receiving the Carnwath River and flowing north to Liverpool Bay, an arm of the Arctic , Gregg Gregg can refer to:
People with the surname Blenkinsop:
a. Able to express oneself readily and effortlessly: a fluent speaker; fluent in three languages.
b. , but their writing lacks focus and organization (Graham et al., 1991). In peer discussion, students with disabilities are more likely than their classmates Classmates can refer to either:
interpretation - an explanation that results from interpreting something; "the report included his interpretation of the forensic evidence" of the text rather than to share personal responses or evaluate the text. Further, they are less likely to contribute questions and ideas from their writing to the discussion (McMahon McMahon is the family name of the following persons:
The difficulties students with learning disabilities experience with literacy have been exacerbated by remedial REMEDIAL. That which affords a remedy; as, a remedial statute, or one which is made to supply some defects or abridge some superfluities of the common law. 1 131. Com. 86. The term remedial statute is also applied to those acts which give a new remedy. Esp. Pen. Act. 1. instruction that focuses on isolated reading skills or mechanics at the expense of opportunities for actual writing experiences (Graham et al., 1991; Graham, Harris, & MacArthur, 1995; Riley & Morocco Morocco, country, Africa
Morocco (mərŏk`ō), officially Kingdom of Morocco, kingdom (2005 est. pop. 32,726,000), 171,834 sq mi (445,050 sq km), NW Africa. , 1999). Calls for reforms in literacy instruction in general and for students with learning disabilities in particular stress the importance of providing meaningful learning experiences and opportunities to write for varied purposes and audiences (Dudley-Marling, 1994; Englert, Raphael, & Mirage, 1994).
A number of research groups have investigated literacy instruction that enables students to build a range of reading and writing competencies while working with challenging but age-appropriate texts. Developed and researched with elementary-school classrooms over many years, Taffy Taffy
Welshman who “stole a piece of beef.” [Nurs. Rhyme: Baring Gould, 72–73]
See : Thievery Raphael's Book Club program engages students in a wide repertoire Repertoire may mean Repertory but may also refer to:
Other researchers have found that integrated reading/writing projects that involve cooperative learning cooperative learning Education theory A student-centered teaching strategy in which heterogeneous groups of students work to achieve a common academic goal–eg, completing a case study or a evaluating a QC problem. See Problem-based learning, Socratic method. and opportunities for students to discuss their reading and their own writing with peers have resulted in strong outcomes for students with disabilities (Graham & Harris, 1997; Morocco & Zorfass, 1996; Zorfass & Copel, 1999). However, much of this research has taken place in special education settings, rather than in regular classroom settings where students with disabilities are increasingly being educated with normally achieving peers. In addition, little research has taken place in the middle grades or has integrated all the features of meaningful tasks, strategy learning, and cooperative learning that show promise for enabling students with disabilities to understand texts and express their understanding orally and in writing.
This article presents an analysis of how teachers in one urban middle school implemented a program called Supported Literacy in seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms and how students with disabilities performed in comparison with normally achieving and honors students. Described more fully under Methods, the approach engages students in literacy units of several weeks in length in which they read, write, and discuss challenging literature. Supported Literacy reflects the four principles of good instruction for understanding described in the introductory article on teaching for understanding with students with disabilities (see Morocco, this issue). Literacy tasks are authentic in addressing literacy outcomes identified by state and national language arts frameworks as critical for all students and they engage students in the interpretative in·ter·pre·ta·tive
Variant of interpretive.
in·terpre·ta and composing processes that good writers and readers use. Students grapple with themes that are important for them and for others beyond life in school, such as How do families survive crisis? Can adolescents survive on their own? How do individuals cope with adversity ad·ver·si·ty
n. pl. ad·ver·si·ties
1. A state of hardship or affliction; misfortune.
2. A calamitous event. ? What can you do when your friends do something you think is wrong? They construct interpretations with peers rather than learning a "correct" interpretation.
Cognitive strategies for reading and writing are embedded Inserted into. See embedded system. in the design of units and are explicitly taught through mini-lessons during community share sessions. For example, teachers model how to summarize sum·ma·rize
intr. & tr.v. sum·ma·rized, sum·ma·riz·ing, sum·ma·riz·es
To make a summary or make a summary of.
sum a section of text and how to organize an argument. In addition, the units are socially mediated me·di·ate
v. me·di·at·ed, me·di·at·ing, me·di·ates
1. To resolve or settle (differences) by working with all the conflicting parties: at several levels. The entire school reads the core novels and engages in related activities over a period of several weeks. In the classroom, students work together as a learning community to build an understanding of the text in terms of its overall themes and organizing questions. Peer discussion circles and whole-class discussions embed em·bed also im·bed
v. em·bed·ded, em·bed·ding, em·beds
1. To fix firmly in a surrounding mass: embed a post in concrete; fossils embedded in shale. constructive conversations about the texts into the daily life of the classroom, with the goal of shifting the center of discourse from "teacher telling" to student-led discussion.
This analysis includes data from the third instructional unit (Fall 2000) and describes implementation and outcomes at a specific point in time. The unit is designed around the theme of personal change in three short stories. The analysis focuses on a major understanding outcome in the unit--how to write persuasively about an interpretation of a story. Being able to write persuasively is a standard in several content areas in frameworks across the country (Marzano & Kendall, 1995) and a form of writing that the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP NAEP National Assessment of Educational Progress
NAEP National Association of Environmental Professionals
NAEP National Association of Educational Progress
NAEP National Agricultural Extension Policy
NAEP Native American Employment Program ) finds weakest in a national sample of nine-year-olds (Applebee, Langer Langer is a family name. For the etymology, meaning, and pronunciation of the name, and for the Hiberno-English slang word, see Wiktionary.
People with the family name Langer include:
American biochemist. He shared a 1993 Nobel Prize in chemistry for devising the polymerase chain reaction technique, which is used in genetic engineering studies to make trillions of copies of a single fragment of DNA , Latham Latham may refer to:
People with the surname Latham:
1. Of, relating to, or involving inference.
2. Derived or capable of being derived by inference.
in comprehension with composing persuasive text (National Assessment Governing Board Noun 1. governing board - a board that manages the affairs of an institution
board - a committee having supervisory powers; "the board has seven members" , 1999). The REACH literacy strand Strand, street in London, England, roughly parallel with the Thames River, running from the Temple to Trafalgar Square. It is a street of law courts, hotels, theaters, and office buildings and is the main artery between the City and the West End.
1. has stressed this form of writing, among others, throughout the four thematic units being implemented over a two-year period in our initial middle-school site. Our rationale rationale (rash´nal´),
n the fundamental reasons used as the basis for a decision or action. for focusing on this challenging understanding outcome is that if the Supported Literacy approach can help students understand this complex literacy process requiring several comprehension and composing abilities, the approach should also be helpful for less demanding tasks.
In this analysis, we were interested in learning whether students' persuasive writing Persuasive writing is used to convince the reader of the writer’s argument. This may involve persuading the reader to perform an action, or simply consist of an argument convincing the reader of the writer’s point of view. in a supported context, where they work closely with teachers and peers, is stronger than their writing in an independent context, where they engage in comprehension and composing tasks without teacher or peer support. The supported context to which we refer is the Supported Literacy classroom and, in particular, the activity of journal writing in response to persuasive prompts. Journal writing constitutes a supported instructional context in that students write before and after reading and discussion sessions with the teacher and with peers in small groups. In addition, the Supported Literacy approach is designed to provide extensive guidance and "safety" for students with learning disabilities to express and build ideas. The independent context is an assessment task in which students write a persuasive essay about an unfamiliar text without coaching or discussion.
This analysis enables us to determine whether students with disabilities were able to keep up with their normally achieving peers in the challenging literacy tasks in a unit. Further, we can observe how well teachers are implementing the instructional approach. Our premise is that full implementation of the unit is critical to student outcomes. The unit as a whole engages students in challenging texts, provides multiple pathways (reading, writing, listening, and discussing) for understanding text, and offers students numerous opportunities to express their understanding in writing. Taken together, these activities build on each other to address a full range of reading comprehension Reading comprehension can be defined as the level of understanding of a passage or text. For normal reading rates (around 200-220 words per minute) an acceptable level of comprehension is above 75%. and writing strategies that students need in order to become strategic readers and writers and more proficient pro·fi·cient
Having or marked by an advanced degree of competence, as in an art, vocation, profession, or branch of learning.
An expert; an adept. in writing persuasively about texts. We believe these results can be achieved only through a long-term Long-term
Three or more years. In the context of accounting, more than 1 year.
1. Of or relating to a gain or loss in the value of a security that has been held over a specific length of time. Compare short-term. , comprehensive, iterative it·er·a·tive
1. Characterized by or involving repetition, recurrence, reiteration, or repetitiousness.
2. Grammar Frequentative.
Noun 1. process. Therefore, intensive implementation is critical to achieving positive student results.
The following research questions reflect the importance of linking student outcomes to data on teacher implementation:
* How extensively are teachers implementing the Supported Literacy approach?
* How did students with disabilities perform on understanding tasks in a supported literacy context? How did their performance in that context compare with that of normally achieving students and honors students?
* How did students with disabilities perform in an independent literacy context? How did their performance in the independent context compare with that of the normally achieving and honors students?
* How did the performance of students with disabilities in the supported context compare with their performance in the independent context?
Supported Literacy reflects the view that students acquire deep understanding of literary texts and of interpretation processes when they have frequent opportunities to engage in authentic, meaningful reading and writing tasks supported by strategic thinking and constructive conversations with peers. The approach reflects several decades of research on reading and composing that view both as socially constructed, meaning-making processes (Anderson & Pearson Pear·son , Lester Bowles 1897-1972.
Canadian politician who served as prime minister (1963-1968). He won the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the negotiation of a solution to the Suez crisis (1956). , 1984; Purves The Purves family history can be traced back to 1066 A.D. During the Battle of Hastings, the Purves family gave significant military service to William the Conqueror (Duke William of Normandy). Because of their achievements, he awarded them lands in Suffolk in 1066 A.D. & Beach, 1972; Tierney Tierney is an Irish surname. It is an Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Tiarnaigh (male), Ní Tiarnaigh (female), also Tighearnaigh/Tighearnach. It is pronounced "tee + er + nee".
It originated in Co. & Pearson, 1983). The approach particularly draws on Raphael's work on book clubs, Daniel's work on literature circles, and Echevarria's application of instructional discourse research in multicultural mul·ti·cul·tur·al
1. Of, relating to, or including several cultures.
2. Of or relating to a social or educational theory that encourages interest in many cultures within a society rather than in only a mainstream culture. contexts (Daniels Daniels is a surname that may refer to:
Supported Literacy involves teachers in adapting, implementing, and assessing integrated thematic literature units with several features. First, each unit is organized around the kinds of compelling themes and questions for young adolescents described earlier. Second, each unit includes one or more core texts that all students read. The texts are complete short stories, novels, poems, or plays that are related to the theme, are age appropriate, and meet high standards for published literature. Third, each unit ranges from 4 to 10 weeks in length and embeds frequent opportunities for students to write about the texts and to use their writing as the basis for peer discussion.
Finally, instruction is organized around cycles of reading, writing, listening, and discussion that generally take place within a class period. A series of these cycles builds toward writing longer persuasive essays that draw on students' prior journal writing activities and discussions. Adapted from Raphael's Book Club cycle, the Supported Literacy cycle includes the following phases:
* Community share: Teachers engage students in a question related to the core text and may model a comprehension strategy or present a literacy concept that students will be using in their reading.
* Read, write, and prepare: Students read the text using one of many possible methods that keep them engaged in the story but also build reading practice. For example, the teachers may read one chapter aloud and then have students read the next chapter silently or read it aloud quietly in pairs. To prepare for literacy circles, students may write in their journals about their personal responses or their questions about the text, or respond to a prompt suggested by the teacher.
* Literacy circle: Students engage in independent conversations about the shared text or their own writing in groups of three to five students, using their written journal entry as a springboard for discussion.
* Community share: Students report to the whole class ideas or questions that were important in their small group literacy circle.
* Write and reflect: Students write further in their journals or work on a longer writing piece related to the theme.
Journal writing has an important place in this cycle. Some lessons incorporate journal responses into the opening community share by having students write about personal experiences related to the theme prior to reading. Setting out ideas prior to literacy circles gives students with disabilities material to contribute to the small group discussions. Those discussions, in turn, trigger new thinking that students with disabilities can incorporate into further writing. In journal writing, the emphasis on ideas rather than on correct form reduces the anxiety that many students with disabilities bring to writing tasks and frees them to write more (Riley & Morocco, 1999).
Indeed, the journal prompts in a Supported Literacy instructional unit embed a full range of comprehension strategies that have been found to contribute to understanding texts (Allan Allan can refer to:
See Boyd (surname)
The name Boyd has Irish roots that originally meant "blondheaded". Fictional characters
Figure 1. Comprehension strategies embedded in response journal prompts.
Comprehension Strategies Sample Journal Prompts Engage Activate background Think of a time when you knowledge had to make an important choice. What were your possible choices? What did you choose? What were the consequences of your choices? Predict what the story will Think about the title of be about War of the Wall. What do you think the story will be about? Literal Focus on literal Choose one character and comprehension describe the choices that character made. Generate questions What questions do you have about the story? Higher Make inferences, "read During the second dinner Level between the lines" party, why was Lensey horrified by Mrs. Gleason? Relate to a theme Predict whether you think Luella's advice and actions will change Roger's behavior. State your opinion clearly and give reasons to support your thoughts. Apply to a new context The narrator and her family worked hard to become Americanized. In what ways do you think people should change when they move to a different country? Which things should they try not to change?
Several higher-level journal prompts support students in learning how to write a persuasive essay by prompting them to develop an argument to support an interpretation of the text. Journal prompts constitute an implicit instructional approach, which is complemented by explicit instruction in persuasive writing. As examples of the latter, teachers prepare students for persuasive journal entries by providing organizing formats that call attention to different requirements of the argument (e.g., include reasons for and against, use details to support an argument).
Professional Development Support for Teachers
Teachers become accomplished in Supported Literacy instruction through a combination of professional development opportunities that support them in working collaboratively to improve their students' literacy (Morocco & Solomon Solomon, d. c.930 B.C., king of the ancient Hebrews (c.970–c.930 B.C.), son and successor of David. His mother was Bath-sheba. His accession has been dated to c.970 B.C. According to the Bible. , 1999). All participating teachers attended a three-day summer institute prior to the first and second years of the program. In addition, they participated in meetings during the summer and the academic year where they worked with researchers on ways to adapt and design instructional units that reflect the four principles of teaching for understanding. By the third unit, the focus of this analysis, teachers were taking a particularly active role in instructional design. They considered themselves co-authors of the short story unit and expressed a strong sense of ownership of the instructional materials and activity sequences. REACH researchers assisted teachers in the design process by organizing teachers' ideas into a draft of the instructional guide and incorporating teachers' feedback into a final version for classroom use.
During the teaching of a unit, teachers met with research staff almost every other week to discuss how students were working with the texts and activities and to examine examples of student work. Teachers also received ongoing support through informal contacts with REACH research staff. The school principal supported the work through occasional visits to meetings, timely communications with teachers and researchers about issues requiring attention, and by identifying the REACH project as a core part of his required action plan to the district for improving student literacy. We documented all professional development activities by scripting meetings, recording formal and informal contacts, collecting draft materials from instructional design sessions, and observing in teachers' classrooms. Consistent with our iterative research approach, the professional development data collected during the design, implementation, and evaluation of one unit were used to identify and respond to teacher support needs in subsequent units. The long-term professional growth of teachers over the two years of study and the challenges of providing teacher support in this school are the subject of a forthcoming analysis.
Middle school. East Hollins Hollins can refer to: People
Of or relating to individuals or households supported by an income that is below average. households was 61 percent, based on the number of students who applied for and received free and reduced-cost lunch. When we began our relationship with EHMS, the school had the lowest reading scores on the district's standardized test A standardized test is a test administered and scored in a standard manner. The tests are designed in such a way that the "questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent"  . On the most recent (Spring 1999) Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System commonly called the MCAS (pronounced [mː kǣs], is the Commonwealth's statewide standards-based assessment program developed in response to the lack of stress in (MCAS McCune-Albright syndrome (MCAS)
A genetic syndrome characterized in girls by the development of ovarian cysts and puberty before the age of 8, together with abnormalities of bone structure and skin pigmentation.
Mentioned in: Ovarian Cysts ) Language Arts test, 23 percent of students at this school failed the test and 41 percent needed improvement. Of the students with disabilities who took this test, 53 percent failed the test and 41 percent needed improvement.
The school is organized around teams of teachers from each discipline, who educate a common group of students. There are three seventh-grade teams and three eighth-grade teams. Language arts teachers typically have five classes. Of these classes, one is called the "inclusion" class, and is comprised of students with disabilities and low-performing students. Three classes are comprised of normally achieving students and one class is comprised of honors students. In addition, the school has three substantially separate classrooms, one for severely emotionally disturbed students, one for students with severe behavior disorders behavior disorder
1. Any of various forms of behavior that are considered inappropriate by members of the social group to which an individual belongs.
2. A functional disorder or abnormality. , and one for students with a variety of severe learning difficulties.
Teachers. All the language arts, reading, and special education teachers at EHMS elected to participate in the first year of the REACH project. These teachers included some individuals whom the principal had predicted would not become involved. Between the first (1998-99) and second (1999-00) implementation years, two language arts teachers left the school, and their replacements joined the project in fall of 1999. The total number of teachers involved in the analysis discussed here includes five language arts teachers, two special education teachers, and four reading teachers. These teachers represent all of the eighth-grade teams and two of the seventh-grade teams. One seventh-grade team was not included in the analysis because students with disabilities on this team were educated in a substantially separate classroom rather than in a classroom that included students with and without disabilities.
Teachers included in this analysis have been teaching at this school for between .8 and 22 years with an average of 6.6 years. Their years of teaching experience average 14.3 years. Four of the teachers are certified See certification. to teach both elementary and middle-school children, and of these, two are certified to teach special education. Five teachers are certified to teach English 1. English - (Obsolete) The source code for a program, which may be in any language, as opposed to the linkable or executable binary produced from it by a compiler. The idea behind the term is that to a real hacker, a program written in his favourite programming language is , and two teachers are certified to teach reading. Nine teachers have received a master's degree master's degree
An academic degree conferred by a college or university upon those who complete at least one year of prescribed study beyond the bachelor's degree.
Noun 1. , and three teachers have received a bachelor's bach·e·lor's
A bachelor's degree. degree. One of the teachers is taking classes towards her master's degree.
In the spring of 1998, when we began visiting classrooms and talking with teachers about REACH, we observed a well-ordered Adj. 1. well-ordered - ordered well; "well-ordered work habits"
regular - in accordance with fixed order or procedure or principle; "his regular calls on his customers"; "regular meals"; "regular duties" school but one where students were taking largely passive roles in learning. Desks were invariably in·var·i·a·ble
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil arranged in rows and teachers were directing discussion from the front of the room. Literature discussions usually began with learning rote rote 1
1. A memorizing process using routine or repetition, often without full attention or comprehension: learn by rote.
2. Mechanical routine. definitions of vocabulary words that teachers anticipated might be difficult for students. Talk about reading was generally teacher-directed with limited student participation, and the discussion focused mainly on literal comprehension. We observed many students sitting passively and without animation. Teachers were using a combination of literature anthologies and trade books included on a list of books and authors approved by the district. Teachers had few resources to expand their collections. Because the pilot MCAS tests included open-ended o·pen-end·ed
1. Not restrained by definite limits, restrictions, or structure.
2. Allowing for or adaptable to change.
3. written questions in almost every subject area, the principal had begun dictating a writing prompt each morning over the loudspeaker loudspeaker or speaker, device used to convert electrical energy into sound. It consists essentially of a thin flexible sheet called a diaphragm that is made to vibrate by an electric signal from an amplifier. . Those prompts were viewed as preparation for statewide testing and were not integrated with the content of instruction.
Students. The student sample for the analysis of teacher implementation included students from the three eighth-grade and two seventh-grade teams described above. Participants included all five of the inclusion and honors classes and one of the three normally achieving classes for each team. Of the total of 278 students selected, 120 students were in inclusion classrooms, 139 were in normally achieving classrooms, and 80 were in honors classrooms. Of these students, 56 have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for language arts and other subjects. Most students with disabilities had recently been placed in inclusion classrooms with a content area teacher, special education teacher, and an educational aide. Special education students included mainly students with learning disabilities; however, Massachusetts Massachusetts (măsəch`sĭts), most populous of the New England states of the NE United States. is a noncategorical state, and therefore students are not diagnosed with a specific disability. Rather, their IEPs specify the types and areas of support that are required. As a result, the special education students included in this analysis are a heterogeneous Not the same. Contrast with homogeneous.
heterogeneous - Composed of unrelated parts, different in kind.
Often used in the context of distributed systems that may be running different operating systems or network protocols (a heterogeneous network). group.
The total number of students included in the outcomes analysis was 163, 35 students with disabilities, 76 normally achieving students, and 52 honors students. This number reflects a subset A group of commands or functions that do not include all the capabilities of the original specification. Software or hardware components designed for the subset will also work with the original. of the participants in the implementation sample based on students who completed the tasks used for the analysis of student outcomes.
Teacher implementation. Data on teachers' implementation of the third thematic unit were collected from two sources. First, teachers completed a survey in which they provided detailed self-reports of the particular parts of the lessons that they used. These surveys included open-ended prompts as well as scaled questions that asked teachers to describe their implementation and rate the effectiveness of certain activities in the instructional unit. Second, we examined teacher implementation by analyzing the content of student journals. Student journals are integrally connected with community share discussions, reading activities, and literacy circles and are therefore good indicators of what teachers are actually doing during the class period. We wanted to know the number of journal writing opportunities teachers gave students and the range of comprehension tasks represented by those writings. Furthermore, we wanted to uncover any differences in teacher implementation of the journal activities across their inclusion, normally achieving, and honors classes.
In addition, we conducted two observations in each of the inclusion classrooms to verify (1) To prove the correctness of data.
(2) In data entry operations, to compare the keystrokes of a second operator with the data entered by the first operator to ensure that the data were typed in accurately. See validate. teachers' self-reports about the extent to which they were implementing the full literacy cycle. While a detailed analysis of classroom transcripts is not included in this analysis, we can verify that in the classes we observed, teachers were using the activity sequences we had designed together.
To assess implementation based on journal entries, we collected journals from the five teams of teachers following implementation of the third instructional unit. We also collected journals from the inclusion and honors class and one normally achieving class for each of the five teams. All journals were photocopied and returned to the teachers so students could continue to use them in the spring 2000 unit. After examining the students' journals from the three types of classes for each of the five teams, we developed a list of prompts to be used in each class. This list of journal prompts was coded according the categories in Figure 1. We compared the journal opportunities in the instructional unit with the list of prompts actually implemented in each class and derived a percentage of each type of prompt used in each of the 15 classes. We then aggregated the data by type of class to represent the percentage of journal prompts used by all teachers in inclusion, normally achieving, and honors classes.
Student outcomes. We examined student work in the supported literacy context and the independent literacy context, conducting the same analysis of student work in both contexts. Writing fluency flu·ent
a. Able to express oneself readily and effortlessly: a fluent speaker; fluent in three languages.
b. was measured based on word counts and writing quality based on the rubric RUBRIC, civil law. The title or inscription of any law or statute, because the copyists formerly drew and painted the title of laws and statutes rubro colore, in red letters. Ayl. Pand. B. 1, t. 8; Diet. do Juris. h.t. described below. Our rationale for examining writing quality and writing fluency stemmed stemmed
1. Having the stems removed.
2. Provided with a stem or a specific type of stem. Often used in combination: stemmed goblets; long-stemmed roses. from the finding that students with disabilities tend to underperform Underperform
An analyst recommendation that means a stock is expected to do slightly worse than the market return.
Also known as market underperform, moderate sell, or weak hold. their peers in both (for example, see Wong, Wong, & Blenkinshop, 1989), and that a moderate level of fluency is required to produce a persuasive text.
To analyze students' performance in a supported context, we selected journal entries that were categorized cat·e·go·rize
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.
cat as thematic journal prompts (relate the text to a theme; see Figure 1) and that specifically required persuasive writing. We photocopied persuasive writing entries for all students in the outcomes sample. The entries were generated from these prompts:
* Predict whether you think Luella's advice and actions will change Roger's behavior. State your opinion clearly and give reasons to support your thoughts.
* Do you think that the events in the story will really change the children's future actions? Be sure to provide details from the text to support your opinion.
* Will Squeaky squeak·y
adj. squeak·i·er, squeak·i·est
1. Characterized by squeaking tones: a squeaky voice.
2. Tending to squeak: squeaky shoes. make a good coach? Why or why not?
To assess students' performance in an independent instructional context, we gathered data from the MCAS-like assessment, which includes two parts. One is a set of 10 to 11 multiple-choice mul·ti·ple-choice
1. Offering several answers from which the correct one is to be chosen: a multiple-choice question.
2. questions that address vocabulary knowledge, literal comprehension, and inferential comprehension; the other is an open-ended question A closed-ended question is a form of question, which normally can be answered with a simple "yes/no" dichotomous question, a specific simple piece of information, or a selection from multiple choices (multiple-choice question), if one excludes such non-answer responses as dodging a requiring persuasive writing about a text excerpt ex·cerpt
A passage or segment taken from a longer work, such as a literary or musical composition, a document, or a film.
tr.v. ex·cerpt·ed, ex·cerpt·ing, ex·cerpts
1. . Students are given 45 minutes to complete both parts of this assessment. For this analysis, we examined only the open-ended responses since there is no comparable measure in the supported context. For both the MCAS-like assessment and the journal data, we imputed Attributed vicariously.
In the legal sense, the term imputed is used to describe an action, fact, or quality, the knowledge of which is charged to an individual based upon the actions of another for whom the individual is responsible rather than on the individual's scores for students who did not complete either a persuasive writing prompt or the MCAS-like assessment based on a number of other assessment tasks.
Scoring rubric. In selecting and adapting a scoring rubric for the persuasive journal entries and assessment essays, we took into account both the scoring rubrics currently being used in our research district and the features of the writing we were scoring. The students participating in this study are required to take a statewide assessment (MCAS) and a persuasive writing assessment based on National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) stimuli. The NAEP requires students to take a position but does not involve the use of text analysis. The MCAS requires students to support an interpretation based on text but uses a fairly general rubric that does not address the persuasive features of presenting arguments and evidence in support of an interpretation. Further, the MCAS uses a four-point rubric, which is not likely to capture small increments of change in students with disabilities. As a result, we drew on both rubrics in developing a rubric with a zero-to-five scale that closely fit with the particular features of persuasive writing about a literacy text. A pilot analysis was used to refine the rubric. The scoring team for the current analysis included three education researchers who were not members of the REACH research team. All identifying information was removed from the writing samples and samples were scored in a random order. Two researchers scored each piece of student writing and differing scores were adjudicated in terms of the rubric until scorers reached consensus. Figure 2 presents the rubric.
Figure 2. Scoring rubric. Score Explanation 5 Includes: * A statement of opinion * Several pieces of evidence from the text that are detailed, elaborated, interrelated, accurate and relate to the opinion * Explanations for how the text supports the opinion that are consistent and clear throughout * Explanations that are well developed, may contain a summary and refutation of the opposite point of view, and demonstrate an awareness of audience The author's reasoning can be exemplified by using any of the following devices: personal experience, exemplification of an overarching idea, cause and effect, comparison/ contrast, point of view, drawing conclusions. 4 Includes: * A statement of opinion * Several pieces of evidence from the text that are accurate and relate to the opinion * At least one explanation for how the text supports the opinion Either the evidence or the elaboration is not well developed or consistent. The author's reasoning can be exemplified by using any of the following devices: personal experience, exemplification of an overarching idea, cause and effect, comparison/contrast, point of view, drawing conclusions. 3 Includes: * A statement of opinion * At least one piece of evidence from the text that is accurate and relates to the opinion * At least one explanation that makes sense and shows how the text supports the opinion 2 Includes: * A statement of opinion * At least one piece of evidence from the text that is accurate and relates to the opinion Even if the evidence is somewhat elaborated, explanations for how the text supports the opinion are absent or weak. 1 Includes a statement of an opinion Either there is no evidence from the text or the evidence from the text is not accurate or does not relate to the opinion. 0 There is no opinion or the author does not choose one point of view.
Teacher Implementation of the Instructional Unit Self-report and observation data. Teachers reported that they used between 70 and 99 percent of the instructional activities included in the short story unit. The average percentage across teachers was 84.6 percent. Teachers rated student journal writing as one of their most frequently and successfully used strategies for engaging students and building their comprehension. On a five-point scale (1 = least effective 5 = most effective), teachers rated student response journals at 3.4 to 3.5. As mentioned previously, classroom observations confirmed that teachers were using a majority of the activities in the instructional materials and students were actively engaged in reading, writing, and discussion activities throughout the lessons. The exception to this pattern is that teachers did not implement many of the small-group literacy circles that were included in the lessons, activities that they themselves planned for the unit. We observed teachers breaking the class into two or three discussion groups, which teachers reported was a more manageable grouping method than peer circles of five to seven students, the number recommended for a literacy circle.
In one inclusion classroom, we observed the special education teacher and the language arts teacher each facilitating one of these groups. This team found that their students were much more willing to read aloud from their journals and to voice their opinions about the reading than they were in whole-class discussions. While this represents a step forward from the teacher-directed discussions we observed in our baseline The horizontal line to which the bottoms of lowercase characters (without descenders) are aligned. See typeface.
baseline - released version observations, the Supported Literacy approach does emphasize teaching students to conduct their own discussions. The previous summer institute focused substantially on the management of peer discussion, and teachers expressed greater confidence in their ability to engage students in independent, constructive conversation. Nevertheless, teachers remained most comfortable with a "middle step" --dividing the classroom into two or three groups.
Journal analysis. The journal analysis produced three findings related to teachers' implementation of the third Supported Literacy instructional unit (see Table 1). First, teachers used all three types of journal prompts (see Figure 1). Overall, teachers used 57 percent of the journal prompts that were provided in the unit with their inclusion and normally achieving classes and 61 percent with their honors classes. Second, the classes with students with disabilities and low-achieving students received the same percentage of thematic and applicative ap·pli·ca·tive
1. Characterized by actual application; applied.
2. Practical; applicatory.
ap prompts as the honors classes. Both used 60 percent of the thematic prompts and 40 percent of the applicative prompts. The honors classes and normally achieving classes tended to receive more inferential prompts (87.5 percent in honors classes, 94 percent in normally achieving classes, and 68 percent in inclusion classes).
Table 1 Implementation of the Instructional Unit
Percent of Prompts Used Normally Inclusion Achieving Honors Class Class Students Background knowledge 72% 68% 80% Prediction 43% 28.5% 43% Response 80% 40% 80% Literal comprehension 58% 58% 42% Generating questions 12.5% 0% 12.5% Inferential questions 68% 94% 87.5% Thematic questions 60% 60% 60% Applicative 43% 28.5% 43% Total Prompts Used 57% 57% 61%
Although teachers did not use all the prompts that were provided to students in the instructional unit, they clearly provided opportunities for students to respond to both literal and higher-order comprehension questions. In most cases, teachers provided more questions to the inclusion and honors classes than to the normally achieving class. The only exception was inferential questions, which teachers assigned as·sign
tr.v. as·signed, as·sign·ing, as·signs
1. To set apart for a particular purpose; designate: assigned a day for the inspection.
2. more extensively in the normally achieving classes. Teachers administered 94 percent of these questions to the normally achieving class. Finally, all but one team added questions that were not a part of the instructional unit; and these questions represented all three levels of comprehension strategies.
Student outcomes will be reported in three parts: findings for students in the supported instructional context, findings for students in the independent context, and findings comparing the quality of writing in the supported instructional context to the quality of writing in the independent context.
Supported instructional context. Fluency for students with disabilities, normally achieving students, and honors students was measured with a word count of the journal entries. Honors students had the highest fluency scores, with a mean of 74 words. Normally achieving students had a mean fluency score of 64 words, and students with disabilities had a mean score of 47 words. Although these results reflect a strong trend toward greater fluency in the honors students, a one-way one-way
1. Moving or permitting movement in one direction only: a one-way street.
2. Providing for travel in one direction only: a one-way ticket. ANOVA anova
see analysis of variance.
ANOVA Analysis of variance, see there revealed no significant difference among groups ([F.sub.(2,116)] = 2.21, p = .11).
Quality of writing was based on the rubric scores for each journal prompt. Mean scores on the quality of writing for the inclusion class, normally performing class, and honors class were 1.64, 1.71, and 1.79, respectively. Results from a one-way ANOVA indicated no significant difference among groups ([F.sub.(12,160)], = 91, p = .40).
Independent context. Writing fluency was measured with a word count of the open-ended essays from the MCAS-like assessment. Mean counts for the inclusion class, normally performing class, and honors class were 85, 108, and 179, respectively. A one-way ANOVA indicated significant differences among the groups ([F.sub.(2,160)] = 34.6, p = .0001). A Duncan's multiple-range test revealed that honors students' scores were significantly higher than those of normally achieving students and students with disabilities. The scores of normally achieving students and students with disabilities did not differ significantly from one another.
Mean quality of writing scores for the inclusion class, normally achieving class, and honors class were 1.13, 1.56, and 2.24, respectively. Results from a one-way ANOVA indicated significant differences among groups ([F.sub.(2, 160)] =13, p = .0001). A Duncan's multiple-range test (p = .05) revealed that honors students' writing quality was significantly higher than that of normally achieving students and students with disabilities. This finding shows the positive impact of a supported instructional context. In that context, students with disabilities perform comparably to the other students. In the independent context, honors students surpass normally achieving students and students with disabilities. Again, no significant differences were found between special needs and normally achieving students.
Comparison of two contexts. Differences in findings across groups on the quality of writing measure in the supported and independent contexts prompted us to conduct another analysis to learn whether students with disabilities and honors students performed differently in the two contexts. Quality of writing scores for students with disabilities in the supported and independent contexts were compared with paired t-tests. The same procedure was used for honors students. Results from this analysis led to the third finding: Students with disabilities performed significantly better on the supported interpretation prompt than on the MCAS-like test (p = .0056). Honors students performed significantly better on the independent assessment than the supported assessment (p = .0001).
The results of this study provide encouraging evidence that teachers are implementing a challenging and also highly supportive literacy approach with students with disabilities. We are also encouraged that students with disabilities, given access to this approach, were able to perform similarly to their peers on one of the most challenging writing tasks, arguing a position on an open-ended question about a story.
One of our original questions was whether teachers would provide students with disabilities a full range of opportunities to build complex understandings of a text. Along with other special educators (Englert et al., 1989), we were concerned that teachers may focus on writing opportunities that engage students with disabilities mainly in literal comprehension activities (e.g., summarizing, tracing plot events) without building in inferential comprehension tasks that encourage students to think about the meaning of the story as a whole. In fact, while teachers did not use identical prompts across all of their classes, they engaged all of their students in a full range of writing challenges. Thus, students with disabilities were given "equal access" to the most challenging analytic an·a·lyt·ic or an·a·lyt·i·cal
1. Of or relating to analysis or analytics.
2. Expert in or using analysis, especially one who thinks in a logical manner.
3. Psychoanalytic. form of writing--developing an argument.
The thematic units are designed so that journal prompts are tightly woven A woven is a cloth formed by weaving. It only stretches in the Bias directions (between the warp and weft directions), unless the threads are elastic. Woven cloth usually frays at the edges, unless measures are taken to counter this, such as the use of pinking shears or hemming. into the full cycle of community sharing, reading, discussion, and writing. Thus, the consistency with which teachers engaged students in journal writing activities throughout this unit is evidence that across all five teams, teachers were implementing the supported literacy cycles as a whole. Our classroom observations further verified ver·i·fy
tr.v. ver·i·fied, ver·i·fy·ing, ver·i·fies
1. To prove the truth of by presentation of evidence or testimony; substantiate.
2. that teachers were embedding 1. (mathematics) embedding - One instance of some mathematical object contained with in another instance, e.g. a group which is a subgroup.
2. (theory) embedding - (domain theory) A complete partial order F in [X -> Y] is an embedding if the journal in the full range of literacy activities, thereby providing students opportunities to gain access to the reading and to prepare for writing and class discussions. The more widely and consistently teachers implement the approach, the more likely it is to be sustained beyond the funded research period.
An important exception to this positive implementation result is our observation that students in general did not have access to frequent, independent peer discussions. This component of the approach, which could provide additional opportunities for students with disabilities to learn from and with peers, remained difficult for EHMS teachers to implement, despite teachers' success in other programs (Raphael & Boyd, 1997). An analysis of the special challenges of independent peer discussion circles for the teachers in this urban school is discussed in another paper (Morocco, Clark-Chiarelli, & Aguilar Aguilar refers to: People
An important question for further analysis is whether the character of the whole-class and divided-class discussions changed over time to become more inclusive of inclusive of
Taking into consideration or account; including. students' ideas than the discussions we observed in our initial observations in the school, Members of the research staff share the impression that conversations elicited e·lic·it
tr.v. e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe.
b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic.
2. a broader range of student ideas over the two-year implementation. Classroom observation data do not include a verbatim ver·ba·tim
Using exactly the same words; corresponding word for word: a verbatim report of the conversation.
adv. record of teacher-student conversations and therefore do not lend themselves to a formal discourse analysis Discourse analysis (DA), or discourse studies, is a general term for a number of approaches to analyzing written, spoken or signed language use.
The objects of discourse analysis—discourse, writing, , conversation, communicative event, etc. . Nevertheless, we anticipate that the observations will provide some insights into this question.
We are also encouraged by the performance of students with disabilities in the supported literacy context. A comparison of the performance of students with disabilities in the supported and independent writing contexts resulted in the finding that writing tasks embedded in the supported literacy cycle allowed students with disabilities to perform like normally achieving and honors students. The second analysis of student outcomes, which compared the quality scores of students with disabilities in the supported and independent contexts, provides additional evidence that students with disabilities were benefiting from the instructional unit. While students with disabilities benefited from the supported literacy context, honors students performed better on the independent assessment. It is possible that honors students were able to take better advantage of the increased time allotted al·lot
tr.v. al·lot·ted, al·lot·ting, al·lots
1. To parcel out; distribute or apportion: allotting land to homesteaders; allot blame.
2. for the independent task or that honors students were somehow constrained con·strain
tr.v. con·strained, con·strain·ing, con·strains
1. To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object. See Synonyms at force.
2. by the journal prompt. We will pursue this difference in an analysis of the fourth instructional unit.
Despite these encouraging findings for students with disabilities, the mean rubric scores for all students were lower than we would like. We did not expect students to achieve rubric scores of five, which is a goal for high school students; nevertheless, all the students' scores need to improve. One reason for the overall low performance on the supported interpretation writing is the inherent complexity of persuasive writing (National Assessment Governing Board, 1999). Students with disabilities and normally achieving students evidenced similar strengths in their writing in that both groups were able to state a position and support it with a number of arguments. They also evidenced similar weaknesses in their writing in that they tended not to refer back to specific events and language in the text in giving reasons for their position. Further analysis of students' work across multiple writing samples is needed in order to determine whether this weakness in students' writing reflects a lack of detailed attention to and/or comprehension of the reading, a lack of understanding of how to draw on the text to build an argument, or a combination of these factors (Englert & Hiebert, 1984).
The findings from this analysis provided direction for the instructional design of the fourth supported literacy cycle, which was implemented in the spring of 2000. The instructional design process with teachers has focused on strengthening the next unit to build students' understanding of how to plan a persuasive essay about a text. In addition to more explicit approaches to building this metacognitive awareness of persuasion PERSUASION. The act of influencing by expostulation or request. While the persuasion is confined within those limits which leave the mind free, it may be used to induce another to make his will, or even to make it in his own favor; but if such persuasion should so far operate on the mind , the unit provides more guidance for students in referring back to the text for supportive details during class discussions and in writing.
The results of the short story unit have also guided the REACH team in planning professional support for the fourth unit. Teachers need to bring stronger writing assessment skills to looking at their students' work if they are to strengthen their instruction in persuasive writing. To meet this professional development need, the research team designed after-school meetings for the fourth cycle, which engaged teachers in systematically examining student work for evidence of student understanding of how to write a persuasive essay about a text.
This analysis of the implementation and outcomes for the third unit supports the potential of Supported Literacy as a schoolwide approach. The level of success achieved thus far can be attributed to both the strength of the instructional model itself and to a number of contextual factors. The first is the depth and persistence (1) In a CRT, the time a phosphor dot remains illuminated after being energized. Long-persistence phosphors reduce flicker, but generate ghost-like images that linger on screen for a fraction of a second. of the professional development support provided by EDC EDC
See: Export Development Corp. staff during the unit and the year that proceeded it. Extensive staff planning contributed to the design of summer institutes and after-school support meetings. We have documented (audiotaped and transcribed verbatim) our own periodic analysis of implementation and professional support challenges; at times we drew on consultation from other EDC staff engaged in school reform. We cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of ongoing analysis and responsive support on the part of EDC staff in building teacher acceptance, collaboration Working together on a project. See collaborative software. , and ownership of the approach.
Another area of importance is the readiness of this middle school for a long-term, committed reform partnership. The EHMS school principal was the most eager of district school leaders to whom we presented the program. He made the program a cornerstone cornerstone
Ceremonial building block, dated or otherwise inscribed, usually placed in an outer wall of a building to commemorate its dedication. Often the stone is hollowed out to contain newspapers, photographs, or other documents reflecting current customs, with a view to of his reform action plan and actively engaged in problem solving problem solving
Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error. with EDC staff as concerns arose. Finally, an important part was played by the director of research for the district, who became the superintendent of schools during the first year of implementation. By the second year, he arranged for all teacher stipends to be provided by the school and district rather than by research funds. We believe that this financial support had symbolic importance for teachers, indicating the centrality of the work in the eyes of school and district leadership.
This study of teacher implementation and student performance in one instructional unit across a middle school points to the importance of an iterative approach to studying complex instructional interventions. Cycles of research designed around instructional units allow teachers to fold into the next teaching and learning cycle knowledge that can contribute to improved learning for students with learning disabilities. The approach is particularly important for school-based research in a reform context, where teachers are developing many new kinds of expertise related to achieving higher standards with all of their students, and particularly those with disabilities.
The growth analysis to be undertaken next will return to the broader research question of the literacy strand: How can we support the growth of students with disabilities in achieving literacy understanding goals? That growth analysis will draw on several kinds of data gathered three times during the year, including persuasive writing samples, comprehension assessments, and surveys on motivation to read. That analysis will determine whether a full year of Supported Literacy instruction leads to improved outcomes for students with disabilities in comparison with other groups of students. We will determine whether students with disabilities and normally achieving students benefit equally from additional explicit instruction in persuasive writing during the fourth unit cycle. The growth analysis will broaden beyond persuasive writing to narrative texts, in which students connect their own experiences to a text and theme. Additional implementation data, including classroom observations and teacher questionnaires, will be used to help determine differences in student results across teachers and grade levels. The results of these analyses will be forthcoming in 2000-2001.
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Institution established by firms engaged in similar activities to enable them to offset transactions with one another in order to limit payment settlements to net balances. on Assessment and Evaluation. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED404408)
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tr.v. re·vi·tal·ized, re·vi·tal·iz·ing, re·vi·tal·iz·es
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Requests for reprints should be addressed to: Catherine Cobb Morocco, Education Development Center, 55 Chapel St., Newton, MA 02458.
CATHERINE COBB MOROCCO, Ed.D., is a senior scientist, Education Development Center, Inc., Newton, MA.
ALISA HINDIN, advanced doctoral student, is a research associate, Education Development Center, Inc., Newton, MA.
CYNTHIA MATA-AGUILAR, M.A., is a senior professional development associate, Education Development Center, Inc., Newton, MA.
NANCY CLARK-CHIARELLI, Ed.D., is a senior research associate, Education Development Center, Inc., Newton, MA.