Topic: Literacy Statement of the Problem: An investigation into how the level of literacy affects form two pupils’ progress in content literacy at Coryal High School. Background to the Problem This problem began at the primary level where students missed out on basic concepts. These basic concepts were taught at the infant level at primary school. These students operating at the frustration level of reading never understood those concepts. These students proceeded from the infant level to standard five, without having a basic understanding of reading concepts.
Since this problem was never resolved at primary level, it is now being transferred to secondary level. Moreover, since the removal of the Post Primary Centres, and all students are now being admitted into secondary schools, the extent of the level of illiteracy in this country is now being revealed. There are many secondary schools now with students who are illiterate and unable to cope with the level of work being done at secondary level. Purpose of the Study:
It is hoped to achieve added assistance for students at frustration level of reading and aims to find effective strategies of moving students from frustration level to an independent level of reading, thereby placing students in a state of readiness for the level of work at secondary school. Significance of the Study: This study will be significant to English teachers as well as all other teachers and principals. It will also be significant to curriculum officers as well as parents.
It will be significant to these stakeholders because it would provide them with a more literate and educated community thus adding to the value of the human resources of the community as well as the nation. This will create a more purposeful, disciplined and productive society, thereby cutting down on crime, idlers, and giving room for meaningful living. This will in turn lead to a higher level of success in all subject areas by students. Rationale: This paper has to do with the students at secondary school who are not showing any progress at the academic level due to their frustration level of reading.
This results in drug abuse, low self confidence, teenage pregnancies, drop outs, or students being totally frustrated because of their inability to cope with the standard of work in secondary school. It creates a society that is academically starved and functionally illiterate. In an effort to remedy this problem, the paper seeks to provide a more literate society whereby students can develop themselves holistically. It will benefit the community because it will seek to relieve students from the stress, frustration and humiliation of being illiterate and make provisions for engaging pupils in remediation programmes to combat illiteracy.
Hypothesis: Statement: Illiterate students are unable to function effectively at secondary level. Question: Are illiterate students unable to function effectively at secondary level? Research Questions: 1. Is the standard of work at this school suited to all students? 2. At what level of literacy do students enter secondary school? 3. Do students with literacy problems show meaningful progress in content areas? 4. Is sufficient time devoted to literacy in this school? Definition of Terms: Literacy: the ability to read and write. Today the definition has been expanded.
Many now consider literacy to be the ability to locate, evaluate, use, and communicate using a wide range of resources including text, visual, audio, and video sources. Illiteracy: the condition of being unable to read and write. Functional illiteracy: refers to the inability of an individual to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills in everyday life situations. Metacognition: A turning inward, purposely at first and automatically thereafter, to reexamine our processes of comprehending, changing interpretations of the text and our reflections in order to elaborate and deepen our own understanding of a text.
Performance Literacy: The process of teaching students to write and perform stories. Think Aloud:An instructional procedure used to aid comprehension by demonstrating the active thinking process of the reader’s mind. Content Literacy: The ability to use reading and writing for the acquisition of new content in a given discipline. Thoughtful Literacy: To ponder deeper meanings, wrapping themselves around the ideas and critiquing the author. Emergent Literacy:a continuum of understandings that lead to a student’s ability to associate letter sounds and meanings to printed words and to read and write successfully.
Instructional Level:Teaching Level Frustration level:This level is to be avoided. It is the lowest level of readability. Independent Level: Students read on their own without any difficulty Reciprocal teaching: The investigation of metacognitive and cognitive strategies in the context of dialogue among teachers and students. Delimitation of the Study: The study focuses on students of Coryal High School both boys and girls in form two between the ages of thirteen to sixteen. Basic Assumptions:
The researcher assumes that students entering secondary school would be at an independent level of reading and not at instructional level, or even worse frustration level. The student should have attained basic reading, writing, listening and speaking skills at the primary level. This is the solid foundation that students should enter secondary level with. When students possess these reading skills teachers can build on this foundation and proceed to lead students to a higher level of education. Organization of the Paper: Chapter One: The Introduction Firstly the statement of the problem (literacy) was identified. A brief history of the problem and where it all began was discussed under the background of the problem. The purpose of the study was also described as well as the significance of the study. The significance of the study identified the relevant stakeholders who will be affected and how it would be beneficial to them. The rationale for the study also gave a clearer insight into the reason for the study and justified the entire purpose of the study.
The researcher then introduced a hypothesis in the form of a question and statement. This was then followed by a list of research questions pertaining to the statement of the problem. A glossary of the definition of terms used in the study was also included. The limitations of the study were also highlighted to pinpoint the sample of students that would be researched, their age groups and the name of the school they attend. Also included were the basic assumptions. This emphasized the assumptions the researcher would have about the literacy level of students entering secondary school.
Review of Literature The definition of the word literacy has been thoroughly examined by experts and it is continuously being altered to fit the needs of a modern society. Why has this become necessary? Who exactly is considered an illiterate person? How do illiterate students cope with the content areas? The literature covers varying definitions of literacy, as well as the types of literacy and levels of literacy. Equally important are themes that involve content area literacy instruction, models in reading and programs that address literacy needs.
Although the literature presents these themes in a variety of contexts, the paper will primarily focus on employing strategies to help students at different reading levels cope effectively in content areas. What does it mean to be literate? The following experts share the view that literacy is much more than reading and writing. Eisner (1991) argues that “literacy is not limited to text, instead it relates to the ability to construe meaning in any of the forms used in the culture to create and convey meaning. ” (p. 125) (as cited in Alverman & Phelps 1984 p. 3). Similarly Brown (1991) as cited in (Alverman & Phelps 1984 p. 43). also argues that: The traditional notion of literacy and its association with written text is being replaced by the concept of multiple literacies – cultural, civic, computer, scientific and technological literacies. These new literacies assume that reading and writing are only part of the skills required and that competencies that extend beyond print literacy, such as understanding how different people know what they know, communicate, think, and attack problems” (p. 42)—-are needed. Indeed the definition of literacy has developed, over the years researchers have added to this definition to make literacy ‘crystal clear’ to everyone. How else is literacy defined by researchers? Mikulecky, 1990 (as cited in McKenna &Robinson, 1997) asserts that the “literate are defined not simply as those who have attained a certain level of proficiency in language ability but rather as those who are able to use written materials effectively in the environment in which they live and work. ” “For the oncept of literacy to be meaningful, you must think of it in relation to the unique requirements of the context in which it is to be used (Barton, 1994;Langer, 1986a, 1986b as cited in McKenna &Robinson, 1997). Literacy has also come to mean a person’s performance in relation to the need to use literacy skills in a particular social setting (Beaudin, 1993; Robinson & Good, 1987; Searfoss & Readence, 1994 as cited in McKenna & Robinson, 1997). These definitions shift from the traditional concept of literacy to demonstrate meaningful learning in different environments as an active component of literacy.
Equally important are Langer’s reports about her perspective on literate thinking. Langer’s (1989, p. 2) (as cited in Alverman & Phelps 1984 p. 43). perspective states that “reading and writing are tools that enable but do not ensure, literate thinking. She argues vigorously against the tendency to equate literate thinking with the ability to analyze or synthesize large chunks of print. ” An essential part of assessment is to determine the reading level of each student. Rubin, 1993, p. 45, claims that when content area teachers give their students a group informal reading inventory, they are interested in determining at what level their students are able to read their textbooks. She further states that the teacher’s method of instruction will vary based on whether the students’ textbooks are at their independent, instructional, or frustration reading levels. The informal reading inventory (IRI) which originated from the work of Emmett A. Betts, and his doctoral student, Patsy A. Killgallon is used to determine three reading levels.
Betts Reading Levels |Independent Level |Students read on their own without any |Comprehension – 90% or above. | | |difficulty | | |Instructional Level |Teaching Level |Comprehension: 75% or above | |Frustration Level |This level is to be avoided. It is the lowest |Comprehension – 50% or less. | |level of readability. | | The challenge for the content teacher is to meet each child at their reading level. In content area classes, it is essential that teachers match their students’ textbooks at their appropriate reading ability levels. Teachers at the high schools have many students in their content classes who are not reading at grade level. This can cause many difficulties for such students, and it may be that a student’s dislike of a course is because he or she cannot read the text book.
A student who is not reading at grade level would probably have difficulty reading a social studies, science, or mathematics textbook whose readability is at the same grade level. Some of these students may need guidance and help beyond that which the content-area teacher can provide; these students would need to be referred for special help. (Rubin, 1993, p. 343-344). The question is, what aspect of literacy is the student lacking? Studies have also attempted to classify literacy into different aspects.
Literacy has now been grouped under a number of categories such as, emergent literacy, functional literacy, content literacy, performance literacy, and thoughtful literacy. Results from studies by Teale and Sulzby (1989; as cited in McKenna & Robinson, 1997) have found that children who grow up in reading and writing situations exhibit literate behaviours. Such findings have resulted in new insights into young children’s literacy development. This new perspective which has developed has come to be known as ‘emergent literacy. ’ Another aspect of literacy is functional literacy.
This term denotes the ability to use reading and writing to function adequately in one’s environment (McKenna & Robinson, 1997, p. 6). Additionally, Hunter and Harman (1979, as cited in McKenna & Robinson, 1997 ) described functional literacy as: The possession of skills perceived as necessary by particular persons and groups to fulfill their own self-determined objectives as family and community members, citizens, consumers, job holders, and members of social, religious, or other associations of their choosing. The above definition describes active eaningful learning as a part of functional literacy. Performance literacy also reflects active meaningful learning. Performance literacy can be used by content teachers to motivate and improve pupils’ literacy. Recent studies outlined by Dillingham (2005) suggest that performance literacy is emerging as an important pedagogical tool. He further states that, performance literacy is the process of teaching students to write and perform stories. He reports on five major components of performance literacy skills: (1) story creation using story mapping. 2) writing and drawing to help describe the story; (3) oral story delivery (4) rehearsal, including evaluation and retelling: and (5) performance within the school and community. Why use performance literacy? Dillingham (2005) asserts that it is meant to provide an accessible way for students to create, write, practice, and tell their own story appropriate to your curriculum and audience. This form of literacy demonstrates an exciting way to teach literacy. Another aspect of literacy is thoughtful literacy.
Keene and Zimmerman (1997; as cited in Diehl, 2005) discussed the thoughtful reader and ascertained that metacognition is vital to people who read deeply. Diehl, 2005 claims that metacognition – thinking about our own thinking – appears to be the key for thoughtful, active reading. He also referred to reading as thinking. He further stated that once students become aware of the thoughts in their heads, they could then develop command over those thoughts. Tovani (2000; as cited in Diehl, 2005) offered a concrete idea to introduce the notion of reading as thinking. Listen to your voices.
The journey to thoughtful literacy is supported by a major comprehension strategy, reciprocal teaching. Brown et al. , 1994; Palinesar & Brown,1984; as cited in Diehl, 2005) suggest that reciprocal teaching is a powerful means to support our students in their journey to thoughtful literacy. Studies outlined by (Palinesar & Brown, 1984; as cited in Diehl, 2005) include four practical strategies to the process of reciprocal teaching: predicting, questioning, seeking clarification, and summarizing. He further stated the vehicle for instruction was in the form of dialogue between the teacher and the learners.
Indeed thoughtful literacy strongly supports the ideas of content literacy. Content literacy is defined as the ability to use reading and writing for the acquisition of new content in a given discipline. (McKenna & Robinson, 1990; as cited in 1997). Moss, 2005 found that the term content area literacy has come to mean more than simply reading and writing to learn with textbooks. It refers to all the literacies in students’ lives. Alexander, (1997; as cited in Moss, 2005) argued that knowledge seeking through expository text may be just as motivating as the “lived through” story experience.
Moss, 2005 asserts that the ability to gain knowledge from text is a critical one in this information age. She further states that students need to develop the ability to understand the languages of disciplines like mathematics, history, and sciences, and to develop critical reading abilities associated with thinking like a mathematician, historian, or scientist. These studies reveal that content teachers need to expose students to expository texts. But, are all teachers willing to assume this responsibility?
Research shows that content teachers give a host of reasons why it is an impossible task to teach reading in the content areas. (Herber, 1970 p. 6). argues that an emphasis on reading instruction, they believe, would jeopardize students’ understanding of the subject because the time available for learning content would be diminished. Further, as long as teachers feel pressed by administration to “cover” a subject, they will continue to view related reading instruction as an intrusion and will resist devoting curriculum time to reading skills instruction. (Herber, 1970 p. ). He further asserts the error that underlies these problems, is the assumption that teaching the content of a subject and teaching the skills that are related to the subject are somehow separate entities. But, is that really the problem content teachers are experiencing? Austin and Morrison, as cited in Herber, 1970) claims teachers “reportedly do not have sufficient time to ‘teach everything’ and, unaware that a dichotomy need not exist, feel it more important to cover the content than to teach the reading skills in the content areas. Herber, 1970, p. , reports that research evidence shows that reading and study skills related to a course need not be taught in isolation, as an appendage to the curriculum. Skills can be taught simultaneously with the course content; content and process need not be separated. He further reports that surveys rarely reveal this kind of instruction being practiced. However, over the years researchers have introduced teachers to a number of strategies that make it possible to teach reading in content areas. Duthie (1996; as cited in Moss, 2005) suggest that it is possible to combine instruction in learning to read with expository text comprehension instruction.
In addition, teaching common expository text structures, such as description, sequence, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, and problem and solution, facilitates reading and writing of exposition (Block, 1993; Goldman & Rakestraw, 2000; McGee & Richgels, 1985; Raphael, Kirschner, & Englert, 1988; as cited in Moss 2005). Students who learn to use the organization and structure of informational texts are better able to comprehend and retain the information found in them (Goldman & Rakestraw; Pearson & Duke, 2002; as cited in Moss 2005).
These studies suggest that the teaching of reading is possible in content areas. In conclusion, literacy involves the ability to listen, speak, think, read and write in all content areas. This is what makes a person literate. It is an active process that can be nurtured by employing a number of strategies to improve and enhance the student’s level of literacy. Methodology Introduction This study is designed to examine how the level of literacy affects form two pupils’ progress in content literacy at Coryal High School.
To describe the research design, this chapter has been organized into the following sections: 1. Describing the type of research of the study. 2. Explanation of the sample selection. 3. Instrumentation 4. Explanation of the procedures used to analyse the data. 5. Procedure 6. Summary Type of Research A descriptive research methodology will be used for this study. Questionnaires will be conducted with teachers and direct observation of pupils to investigate the level of literacy of pupils and how they progress in content areas.
Pupils will be given informal reading inventory tests to further diagnose their level of literacy. A variety of methods will be used to achieve triangulation (confirmation of the same information by different methods or sources) and to increase the validity of the results. Population and Sample Population: The researcher is interested in all students attending Coryal High School presently. In addition the researcher is interested in all teachers responses to literacy problems at the school. The results of the study should apply to students of Coryal High School.
Sampling: Convenience Sampling : Form two pupils who are conveniently available for study (that is students who are not absent) will be selected from Coryal High School in Trinidad and Tobago, to determine how the level of literacy affects pupils’ progress in content areas. Pupils’ age will range from thirteen to sixteen. The researcher selects teachers who are conveniently available to participate in informal interviews and the questionnaire. Additionally seventeen teachers will be interviewed and given questionnaires. Research Instruments
A number of instruments will be utilized to collect the various types of data needed for this research. The instruments will be utilized to gather information on the following: (1) Questionnaires and Informal Interviews with teachers to determine how pupils’ level of literacy affect their performance in content areas. (2) Direct Observation based on regularity, punctuality at classes and pupils interest and participation in content areas. (3) Informal Reading Inventory Tests and Readability Graph to reveal the readability level of pupils and what grade they are at. 4) End of Term Examinations in four different subject areas to determine pupils’ progress in content areas. All of the instruments shall utilize a coding system (nominal scale) for the purpose of organization and classification of data during the statistical analysis. Analysis The data will be analysed using both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Quantitative analysis data will be meaningfully described (qualitative analysis) from using data represented by bar charts, pie charts and scattered plots. Observation of students will be revealed through qualitative analysis.
Data gathered during teachers’ questionnaire and interviews will employ qualitative analysis. Procedure The researcher will seek permission from the principal and colleagues to conduct the investigation. This researcher will conduct her investigation by acquiring the following information to determine how the level of literacy affects pupils’ progress in content areas. This investigation will be conducted over a six week period. Step I: Determine the required Readability level of pupils for entering secondary school. This will be done by means of a graph for estimating readability.
This graph will reveal the grade of the reading passage. A Standard Five (Grade 6) reading book will be used. Three reading passages will be chosen, one at the beginning, middle and end of the book. Step II: Collect Secondary Entrance Assessment Results of Form Two students. Collect results from Informal Reading Inventory of Form Two Special students. Step III: Collect results from the following end of term examinations: Mathematics, English Language, Spanish, and Social Studies. Compare the test scores of form two special class with the form two regular class.
Collect copies of end of term examination in Mathematics, English Language, Spanish, and Social Studies of both form two classes, to compare the standard of work each class is doing. Step IV: Collect timetable to check the number of periods Remedial English is taught to the Form Two Special Class. Summary The purpose of this chapter was to describe the research methodology of this study, explain the sample selection, describe the procedure used in designing the instrument and collecting the data, and provide an explanation of the statistical procedures used to analyze the data. END OF TERM EXAM
SPANISH TERM 1 Ending – December 2005 FORM TWO TEST SCORES MAXIMUM MARK: 40 Form Two Special Test Scores Raw Scores 00000203060606 080911151819 Mean Score:7. 9Lowest Score: 0 Mode Score:6Highest Score: 19 Median:6 Standard Deviation = 6. 33 [pic] Figure I: Form Two Special Spanish Test Scores Maximum Mark: 40 Explanation: Figure I shows the test scores of thirteen pupils in the form two special Spanish class. As can be seen from the graph, the lowest score was zero, by two pupils of the class, and the highest score nineteen. The score occurring most times was 6. The mean score was 8. The standard eviation indicates that students are deviating about 6 from the mean. The scores show that all pupils scored below 50% on the Spanish test. END OF TERM EXAM SPANISH TERM 1 Ending – December 2005 FORM TWO TEST SCORES MAXIMUM MARK: 40 Form Two Regular Test Scores Raw Scores 134455671010 12171818192325323239 Mean Score:14. 5Lowest Score: 1 Mode Score:4, 5, 10, 18, 32 (13. 8) Median:11Highest Score: 39 Standard Deviation = 11. 1 [pic] Figure 2: Form Two Regular Spanish Test Scores Maximum Mark: 40 Explanation: These test scores show at what level the form two regular class is performing in Spanish.
There are twenty pupils in the class. It can be seen in Figure two that the lowest score was one and the highest score thirty nine. There are a number of scores occurring more than once, thus the mode is multimodal. The mean score is 14. 5. The class is deviating about 11 from the mean. It can be seen that the majority of the class (15 pupils) scored below 50% on the test. The rest of the class (5 pupils) scored above 50% on the test. | Statistics |Form Two Regular |Form Two Special | |Mean |14. |7. 9 | |Median |11 |6 | |Highest Score |39 |19 | |Lowest Score |1 |0 | [pic] Figure 3:Comparison between form two Spanish test scores Explanation: Figure three compares the form two special Spanish test scores with the form two regular Spanish test scores.
The form two regular received a test at the level of form two, but the form two special class received a specialised test for their literacy needs. Figure three shows that the highest score made in the form two special class was 19, while the highest score made in the form two regular class was 39. The chart also reveals that the mean score of the form two regular class is higher than the form two special class. However, the lowest scores in the two classes, did not differ much, since the lowest score in the form two regular class was one, and the lowest score in the form two special class was zero.
It is quite possible that there are pupils in the form two regular class in addition to the form two special class who are not functioning at the desired secondary education level. END OF TERM EXAM SOCIAL STUDIES TERM 1 Ending – December 2005 FORM TWO TEST SCORES MAXIMUM MARK: 40 Form Two Special Test Scores Raw Scores 11111314192020 202121252727 Mean Score:19Lowest Score: 11 Mode Score:20 Median:20Highest Score: 27 Standard Deviation = 5. 51 [pic] Figure 4: Form Two Special Social Studies Test Scores Maximum Mark: 40 Explanation: The above figure shows the test scores of thirteen pupils in the form two special class social studies.
As can be seen from the graph, the lowest score was 11. This score was made by two pupils. The score occurring most was 20, which was made by 3 pupils. The average score was 19. Students are deviating about 5 from the mean. The majority of pupils (8 pupils) made 20 and over, the highest score being 27. The remaining 5 pupils scored below 20. END OF TERM EXAM SOCIAL STUDIES TERM 1 Ending – December 2005 FORM TWO TEST SCORES MAXIMUM MARK: 40 Form Two Regular Test Scores Raw Scores 791113151515192124 24252531353638394040 Mean Score:24Lowest Score: 07 Mode Score:15
Median:24Highest Score: 40 Standard Deviation = 11. 1 [pic] Figure 5: Form Two Regular Social Studies Test Scores Maximum Mark: 40 Explanation: The above figure shows the test scores of twenty pupils in the form two regular social studies class. It can be seen from the graph that the lowest score was 7 and the highest score 40 (total mark). The score occurring the most amount of times was 15, while the mean score was 24. Students deviated from the mean by 11. Most of the class (12 pupils) scored above twenty, while the rest of the class (8 pupils) scored below twenty (50%). Statistics |Form Two Regular |Form Two Special | |Mean |24 |19 | |Median |24 |20 | |Mode |15 |20 | |Highest Score |40 |27 | |Lowest Score |7 |11 | [pic] Figure 6: Statistical Comparison of Social Studies Test Scores Explanation: The statistical comparison of test scores in Social Studies between form two special and the form two regular class shows that the form two regular class had higher test scores, higher mean and median than the special class. However, the Form Two Special also had a higher mode than the form two regular class.
The lowest score in the regular form two was lower than the form two special class. The test scores of the form two regular class show that there are a few pupils who are not operating at the standard of the class. N. B: The tests for the form two special class and regular class are at two different levels. END OF TERM EXAM ENGLISH LANGUAGE FORM TWO TEST SCORES MAXIMUM MARK: 40 Form Two Regular Test Scores Raw Scores 040913131516182324 2425272929323334 Mean Score:21. 6Lowest Score: 04 Mode Score:13, 24, 29 (22) Median:24Highest Score: 34 Standard Deviation = 8. 87 [pic] Figure 7: Form Two Regular English Language Test Scores Maximum Mark: 40
Explanation: Figure 7 shows the form two regular English language test scores of 17 pupils. As can be seen from Figure 7 the lowest score is 04 and the highest score is 34. The mean score was 22, while the standard deviation indicates that the raw scores are far from the mean by 9. The majority of pupils (10) scored above 20 on the English Language Test, while the rest of pupils (7) scored below 20. END OF TERM EXAM ENGLISH LANGUAGE FORM TWO TEST SCORES MAXIMUM MARK: 40 Form Two Special Test Scores Raw Scores 101111151616 181822272834 Mean Score:18. 8Lowest Score: 10 Mode Score:11, 16, 18 Median:17. 5Highest Score: 34 Standard Deviation = 7. 53 [pic] Figure 8: Form Two Special English Language Test Scores
Maximum Mark: 40 Explanation: Figure 8 shows form two special English language test scores for 12 pupils. The mean score is 19 and the mode is multimodal. The class is deviating about 8 from the mean. The majority of pupils (8) had test scores below 20, while only 4 pupils scored above 20. The highest score was 34 and the lowest 10. ENGLISH LANGUAGE FORM TWO TEST SCORES |Statistics |Form Two Regular |Form Two Special | |Mean |21. 6 |18. 8 | |Median |24 |17. | |Highest Score |34 |34 | |Lowest Score |4 |10 | [pic] Figure 9: Statistical Comparison of Form Two English Language Test Scores Explanation: The statistical comparison of test scores in English language between form two special and form two regular reveals that the mean of the form two regular class is slightly higher (by 3 marks) than the form two special class. The two classes share the same figure for the highest score. Also the lowest score made by the regular class is lower than that of the special class, (by 6marks).
These scores indicate that there are pupils in the special class as well as the regular class experiencing difficulty with the level of work. END OF TERM EXAM MATHEMATICS FORM TWO TEST SCORES MAXIMUM MARK: 40 Form Two Regular Test Scores Raw Scores 3456101114151616 16192223263034353840 Mean Score:19Lowest Score: 03 Mode Score:16 Median:16Highest Score: 40 Standard Deviation = 11. 6 [pic] Figure 13: Form Two Regular Mathematics Test Scores Maximum Mark: 40 Explanation: Figure 13 shows the form two regular mathematics test scores for 20 pupils. Most students (12) got scores less than 20, with the lowest score being 3. The rest of the pupils (8) got scores above 20, with the highest score being 40.
The score occurring the most times is 16. The mean score is 19, the class deviated from the mean by12. END OF TERM EXAM MATHEMATICS FORM TWO TEST SCORES MAXIMUM MARK: 40 Form Two Special Test Scores Raw Scores 441010111115 152426272831 Mean Score:16. 6Lowest Score: 04 Mode Score:4, 10, 11, 15 (10) Median:15Highest Score: 31 Standard Deviation = 9. 40 [pic] Figure 14: Form Two Special Mathematics Test Scores Maximum Mark: 40 Explanation: Figure 14 shows the form two Special Mathematics Test Scores for 13 pupils. The majority of pupils (8) scored less than 20, with the lowest score being 04. The remaining pupils (5) scored above 20, with the highest score being 31.
The mean score was 17, the class deviated from the mean by 9. Mathematics Statistical Comparison |Statistics |Form Two Regular |Form Two Special | |Mean |19 |16. 6 | |Median |16 |15 | |Highest Score |40 |31 | |Lowest Score |3 |4 | [pic]
Figure 15: Statistical Comparison of Form Two Mathematics Scores Explanation: From the bar chart it can be seen that the form two regular test scores (mean and median) are slightly higher than the form two special class. The most significant difference is the comparison of the two highest scores. In the form two regular class one student had a top score of 40, while in the form two special class, one student had a score of 31. This bar chart indicates that the both classes are experiencing some level of difficulty with the standard of work. INFORMAL READING INVENTORY RESULTS TAKEN AT THE BEGINNING OF FORM ONE FOR FORM ONE SPECIAL GRADE ONE: 2ND YEAR INFANTS PASSAGE [pic]
Figure 16: Pie chart showing the different levels of reading for form one special Explanation: Figure 16 indicates that 46% of pupils are at frustration level of reading, while 31% are at an instructional level and 23% at an independent level of reading with a Grade One reading passage. INFORMAL READING INVENTORY RESULTS FOR FORM TWO SPECIAL Term Ending 7th April 2006 Figure 17: Pie chart showing the frustration reading levels of pupils. As can be seen from the pie chart, students are at frustration reading levels at different grades. The entire class is below standard five level (Grade 6). The highest percentage of students (33%) was frustrated at standard three reading level.
The second highest percentage of students (17%) was frustrated at Pre School, Second Year (Grade One) and Standard Two (Grade 3) levels. The least percentage of students (8%) were frustrated at Standard Four (Grade 5) and Standard One (Grade 2) levels. Results of Graph for estimating readability to determine required grade for entering secondary school. A Standard Five(Grade 6) reading book was used. Three passages were selected, one from the beginning, middle and end. Title of Book: Basic English Course Book 5 |Unit I Passage: |Grade 5 (Standard Four) | |Unit 11Passage: |Grade 5 (Standard Four) | |Unit 24Passage: |Grade 7 (Form One) |
Figure 18: Table showing the grades for Book Five passages Explanation: The table shows the highest grade (Grade 7) Form one level in the final passage of the text book. This is the actual Grade that students should be at when entering secondary school. The two other passages in the beginning and middle of the book are at (Grade 5) Standard Four level. SECONDARY ENTRANCE ASSESSMENT ENGLISH SCORES 2004 |FORM ONE SPECIAL |FORM ONE LEVEL | |148 |219 | |142 |167 | |159 |184 | |128 |166 | |153 |222 | 138 |193 | |129 |215 | |146 |214 | |159 |161 | |158 |207 | |150 |185 | |142 |167 | |151 |189 | | |185 | | |161 | | |181 | | |171 | Average Mark; Form two special; 146 Standard Deviation = 10. 3 Median = 148. Highest Score: 159 Lowest Score: 128 Average Mark: Regular Form Two; 187
Standard Deviation = 21. 1 Median = 185. Highest Score: 222 Lowest Score: 161 Figure 19: Table showing S. E. A. English Scores [pic] Figure 20: Graph shows S. E. A. English scores for two classes. Explanation: The average S. E. A. score for form two special was 146, with the lowest score being 128 and the highest score being 159. Whereas, the average score for form two regular was 187, with the highest score being 222 and the lowest score being 161. Students who scored less than 160 were considered for the special class, and after an informal reading inventory was done their places in the special class were confirmed. FORM TWO ATTENDANCE TERM II 2006
RECORD OF ATTENDANCES LOST FOR FORM TWO CLASSES Form two special; Average Percentage of students absent for term: 30 % Standard Deviation = 23. 2 Median = 39. 0 Regular Form Two; Average Percentage of students absent for term: 22 % Standard Deviation = 20. 9 Median = 25. 0 |Attendance |Regular |Special | |Average Lost |29 |39 | |Highest Lost |82 |72 | |Least Lost |4 |0 | [pic] Figure 21: Attendance for Form Two Special and Regular Explanation: The above bar chart describes the attendance for form two special and form two regular.
It shows the highest number of attendances (82) lost by pupils in form two regular class, and the highest number of attendances (72) lost by pupils in the form two special class. It also shows the average attendances (39) lost by form two special was greater than the average attendances lost by form two regular (29). The form two special class had zero for the least amount of attendances lost, and the regular form two class least amount of attendances lost was four. GENDER COMPARISON FORM TWO CLASSES |Form Two Special |Form Two Special |Form Two Regular |Form Two Regular | |No. of Boys |No. of Girls |No. of Boys |No. f Girls | |11 |04 |10 |12 | |73% |29% |45% |55% | Figure 22: Table showing the gender comparison of form two classes Explanation: From the table it can be seen that the majority of pupils in the form two special class are males. 73% of pupils in the special class are males, while only 29% of pupils are females. In the form two regular class, there is a larger percentage of female students(55%) than male students (45%). TIME TABLE FOR FORM TWO SPECIAL REMEDIAL ENGLISH Period |Time |Mon |Tues |Wed |Thurs |Fri | |1 |8:30-9:05 | |2c1 | |2c1 | | |2 |9:05-9:40 | |2c1 | |2c1 | | |3 |9:55-10:30 | | | | |2c1 | |4 |10:30-11:05 | | | | |2c1 | |5 |11:05-11:40 | | | | | | |6 |12:45 |2c1 | | | | | | |1:20 | | | | | | |7 |1:20-1:55 | | | | |2c1 | |8 |1:55-2:30 | | | | |2c1 | Figure 23: Time table for Form Two Special Remedial English Explanation: The above table shows the number of remedial english classes that pupils receive every week (9 periods). Students receive 23% of remedial English per week. Results from Teachers’ Questionnaire. Seventeen teachers received questionnaires and all returned it. [pic] Figure 24 Pie-chart: Is the standard of work at this school appropriate for all students?
Explanation: A significant 70% of teachers at Coryal High School disagreed the standard of work at this school was appropriate for all students, while 12% strongly disagreed. Only 18% of teachers agreed that the standard of work was appropriate for all students. [pic] Figure 25: Do you feel competent to teach literacy? Explanation: It can be seen that 59% of teachers felt competent to teach literacy, while 41% did not. [pic] Figure 26: Do you feel stressed or experience great difficulty teaching students with literacy problems? Explanation: The majority of teachers (82%) claimed that they feel stressed and experience great difficulty teaching students with literacy problems, while 18% of teachers indicated they did not feel stressed when teaching students with literacy problems. [pic]
Figure 27: Have you attended a workshop that addressed integrating literacy in content areas? Explanation: It can be seen that 53% of teachers have attended a workshop that addressed integrating literacy in content areas, while 47% of teachers did not attend a workshop of that nature. [pic] Figure 28: Do you think sufficient time is devoted to literacy in this school? Explanation: It was agreed by 100% of the teachers at Coryal High School, that there was not sufficient time devoted to literacy in this school. [pic] Figure 29: Do you think it is possible for these students to make significant progress in all content areas within the five year period?
Explanation: A significant 71% of teachers claimed that it is not possible for these students to make significant progress in all content areas within the five year period, while 29% of teachers agreed that it is possible. [pic] Figure 30: Do you think enough is being done to alleviate the literacy problem? Explanation: It was agreed by 100% of teachers at Coryal High that enough is not being done to alleviate the literacy problem. [pic] Figure 31: Do you believe that students who have literacy problems should not be automatically promoted until they reach the required level of the class? Explanation: From the pie chart, it can be seen that 55% of teachers agreed hat students who have literacy problems should not be automatically promoted until they reach the required level of the class, while 34% of teachers disagreed, and 11% of teachers strongly disagreed. Qualitative Analysis General Findings Answers to the Research Questions 1. Is the standard of work at this school appropriate for all students? A significant 70% of teachers disagreed that the standard of work at this school is appropriate for all students, while 12% of teachers strongly disagreed. According to the graph for estimating readability, students should be at least at Grade Six (Standard Five) when entering secondary school. The required grade for form one is Grade Seven. However, as seen in Figures 16 and 17, all pupils in the Form Two Special Class are below the level of Grade 5.
The entire class is frustrated at different Grades. Pupils are entering secondary school at Pre School Level, Infant Level, Standard One, Two, Three and Four Levels. This proves that the standard of work at Coryal High that is required by the syllabus, when a student enters form one, is not appropriate for all students. 2. At what level of literacy do students enter secondary school? The Secondary Entrance Examination results (Figures 19 and 20) of both form two classes were collected. The focus was on the English results. Results revealed that there are students with literacy problems. Students scoring below 160 were given an Informal Reading Inventory Test (see Figure 16).
The results of the test confirmed our findings in the Secondary Entrance Examination. It revealed that 46% of pupils were at frustration reading level with a Second Year (Grade One) Infants Passage at the beginning of form one. This emphasises that students enter secondary below the level of Form One, below the level of Standard Five, below the level of Standard Four, and even below the level of Infants. 3. Do students with literacy problems show meaningful progress in content areas? As seen in Figure 29, 71% of teachers claimed that it is not possible for students to show significant progress in all content areas within the five year period.
Results from the end of term examinations of four subject areas, Mathematics, Social Studies, English Language and Spanish were collected to determine pupils’ progress in content areas. Generally the results of the test scores from the form two special class revealed that even though the level of the test is lowered to accommodate pupils’ literacy needs, students are still experiencing difficulty in content areas. It was revealed (see Figure I) that students of the special class had the lowest test scores in Spanish, as compared to test scores in three other subject areas. Test scores by the majority of pupils in English Language were also poor (see Figure 8) despite the adjusted test to suit the literacy level of the pupils. The test scores by the majority of pupils in Mathematics were similarly poor (see Figure 14).
The best test scores by the special class were in Social Studies (see Figure four). Even in instances where students of the special class performed well in content areas, it was because the test was at a lower level, and in most cases teachers were asked to read the test questions for pupils. It must be noted though, that there are students who showed no progress in any content areas, even the subject area with the best test scores. Social studies appears to be the subject with less difficulty, since the best test scores by the regular class were also in Social Studies (see Figure 5). This subject has given both classes an opportunity to show progress.
The majority of pupils in the regular class showed progress in Mathematics (see Figure 13) and English Language (see Figure 7). However, there are a few students in the regular class who performed poorly in all the content areas. Students of the regular class had the lowest test scores in Spanish (see Figure 2). This was also the case of the special class. This shows that both classes are experiencing great difficulty with Spanish. Based on the findings in the end of term examinations of both classes, there are pupils in both classes who are not showing meaningful progress in content areas. As seen in Figure 17 all the students in form two special are below the level of Grade 5 (standard four).
These students are functioning at elementary school level, and not at secondary school level. During direct observation of form two special pupils it was noted that pupils took a very long time (20minutes) to copy a note of about 5 lines. In particular, there were four pupils who took 30 minutes to write the note. It was also observed that the Remedial English Teacher uses a lot of pictorials, charts, concrete objects, word games, when teaching pupils. A lot of phonics was also done, but this had to be done repeatedly and reinforced all the time for pupils to grasp the concept. Pupils displayed a lot of enthusiasm during oral work and physical activity, they were more responsive. They were also very chatty.
They enjoy oral lessons thoroughly, they feel more relaxed and less intimidated. The pupils themselves, do not display behavioural problems during class, they show a willingness and interest to learn. These pupils are very warm, loving and friendly. When pupils were administered a test, special instructions was given to read the entire test for pupils. Pupils would keep calling on the teacher to read a particular question for them to answer it. Each time they wrote a letter, they would have to look on the board again to write the next one. The form two regular class is the opposite. Students do not take long to copy work from the board. They finish very quickly.
There are less pictorials, charts, concrete objects, and word games used with pupils. Pupils are taught more in the abstract than in the concrete. Pupils are given longer passages to read and comprehend. When given a test, the teacher never reads the questions for pupils. These pupils operate at an instructional level during class time and an independent level during examination time. Therefore the results confirm that students with literacy problems do not show meaningful progress in content areas. 4. Is sufficient time devoted to literacy at this school? As seen in Figure 28, it was agreed by 100% of teachers that sufficient time is not devoted to literacy at Coryal High.
Figure 23 shows the timetable of the Form Two Special Class for Remedial English. Pupils receive 23% (9 out of 40 periods) of Remedial English for the week. Each period is 35 minutes. Based on the results the amount of periods is insufficient to remedy the literacy problem, and for students to show significant progress in content areas. HYPOTHESIS: Statement: Illiterate students are unable to function effectively at secondary level. Question: Are illiterate students unable to function effectively at secondary level? Based on the results of the research questions the hypothesis is accepted. Illiterate students are unable to function effectively at secondary level.
The findings revealed that a level of literacy lower than the required standard for the class does hamper students’ progress in content areas. SUMMARY Literacy means much more than the ability to read and write. It is the ability to locate, evaluate, use, and communicate using a wide range of resources including text, visual, audio, and video sources. It is crucial to identify the reading level of each pupil. An essential form of assessment is the informal reading inventory. This can be used by content area teachers to determine at what level their students are able to read their textbooks. The challenge for the content teacher is to meet each child at their reading level.
Content literacy is defined as the ability to use reading and writing for the acquisition of new content in a given discipline. In content area classes, it is essential that teachers match their students’ textbooks at their appropriate reading ability levels. Teachers at the high schools have many students in their content classes who are not reading at grade level. This can cause many difficulties for such students, and it may be that a student’s dislike of a course is because he or she cannot read the text book. The grade level of the pupils of the form two special class were identified as well as the Secondary Entrance Assessment scores, the end of term test scores and copies of the end of term examinations.
Scores and copies of the end of term examination, including the scores of the Secondary Entrance Assessment were also collected to answer the research questions and thus determine how the level of literacy affects pupils’ progress in content areas. The answers to the research questions advocate that the standard of work is not appropriate for all students. It also reveals that there are students entering secondary school below the level of Standard Five, below the level of standard four, and some even below the level of Infants. Based on the scores in the end of term examination, the pupils with literacy problems did not show meaningful progress in content areas.
It was also agreed by all teachers that there is not sufficient time on the timetable for Remedial English classes. Therefore to reiterate the research problem: An investigation into how the level of literacy affects form two pupils’ progress in content literacy at Coryal High School. Clearly results revealed that pupils with a grade level lower than the required standard do not show progress in content areas. CONCLUSION In order for students to show meaningful progress in content areas, each teacher needs to be a competent teacher of reading. Moreover, each teacher needs to see himself as a teacher of reading. No longer is this the task of the reading teacher alone, but of all teachers, all parents, and all members of the community.
The time has come for this problem to be attacked with full force by everyone, since in unity there is strength. The aim is to develop the child holistically; this can only be done when a child is functionally literate. Therefore pupils with literacy problems need to advance to the required grade level, so as to show meaningful progress in all content areas. This area of research has created avenues for burning issues in literacy at Coryal High to be thoroughly investigated and for effective literacy programmes to be implemented. RECOMMENDATIONS The significance of functionally literate pupils and meaningful progress in all content areas cannot be overestimated.
In order to create a functionally literate environment at Coryal High School, the teachers, students, parents and the entire community all have their parts to play to alleviate many of the literacy problems experienced by the students. One of the most important recommendations is a programme called Success for All. James (2006) The main component of the programme is an intensive 90-minute daily, uninterrupted block of reading instruction, built into a restructured curriculum. Students are assigned to classes according to reading ability, regardless of age. Homogenous groups receive direct instruction at their instructional level from the teacher, whose energies are not divided by multiple abilities in one classroom. Students who lag behind their group are given an additional 20 minutes of one-to-one tutoring to keep them on track.
Assessments are done every eight weeks and students are regrouped according to performance. In order to implement this block of reading instruction (Success forAllProgramme) the entire timetable needs to be readjusted to accommodate the block of reading instruction daily. As mentioned in the first paragraph, it is necessary to get the support of all staff members, reading facilitators, and parents before a school adopts this programme. Reading facilitators should provide on going training sessions for all teachers, in order to educate them fully, as well as motivate them, so the programme can be effectively implemented. According to James, 2006 the programme also incorporates a Family Support Team Component.
It requires parents’ participation in the intervention and key personnel such as social workers. Moreover, the school should provide adult literacy classes, without charge, to ensure that all parents are functionally literate. Furthermore, for this programme to work there needs to be a consistency in attendance to classes as well as punctuality. If too many students are absent the discontinuity in application of the programme would reduce the effectiveness of these methods. According to James (2006) The Success for All Programme aims to improve school attendance, classroom behaviour, self-esteem, classroom social skills and motivation towards learning. Another recommendation is that students be tested for learning disabilities.
Where teachers fall short in this area, specialized personnel should conduct tests on pupils to discover the nature of their learning disability and referrals should also be made. In addition workshops should be held for teachers and parents on learning disabilities. Moreover, being that the community is lacking a library; regular visits from the National Mobile Library should be made available for the convenience of the entire community. This will encourage the growth and development of literacy in the community. These recommendations are going to be forwarded to the principal and staff of Coryal High School to draw their attention to the urgency of the literacy problem at the school, and how it can be addressed. SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
Based on the findings in the present study some further investigation needs to be done with regard to all students in the form two regular class, since there appears to be students who are underachievers. The root causes of their lack of progress in content areas needs to be identified and addressed. The form two special class also needs to be re-examined, so as to identify the root causes of their literacy problems. There are a number of strategies and methods available to remedy literacy problems of at-risk learners. Further research needs to be done on these strategies and methods, so as to identify practical measures that will treat the source of the problem.
The types and description of learning disabilities should also be researched thoroughly, since this may be a major impediment in students’ path to overcoming illiteracy. Additionally, learning styles, multiple intelligences, emotional and behavioural disorders and giftedness should also be included for further research on students with literacy problems. Bibliography APA Style Alverman, D. E. , & Phelps, S. F. (1994). Content Reading and Literacy. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Block, C. C. (2003). Literacy Difficulties. 2 ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Diehl, Holly L. (2005) Snapshots of our journey to thoughtful literacy: The Reading Teacher, 59(1), 56-69.
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