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In conducting the study on the impact of curriculum influences on students’ early reading fluency and the associated behavioral and academic risks, the researchers focused on several questions in an attempt to address the research objective comprehensively. The research questions included:
- What proportion of students in first grade and kindergarten evaluated in the study are considered to be at risk based on the DIBELS and the SSBD measures?
- How effective were the DIBELS measures used at similar times to determine the students’ reading fluency, letter naming, and nonsense word fluency and how effective are they in giving a trajectory of students’ reading progress?
- How do behavioral and academic risks influence the students’ pattern of growth about oral reading fluency?
- How do differences and risks in curriculum affect the growth of oral reading fluency amongst students?
- What was the students’ pattern of growth about oral reading fluency and non–sense fluency, letter-naming skills, and how was it differentially impacted by differences in reading curricula? (Kamps, et al., 2003, p.213)
The study sought to identify two main aspects, viz. the impact of the syllabus on early student reading performance and the challenges faced by educators in their effort to influence and develop students’ reading ability. Specific reference was on early reading fluency. The two main challenges identified in the study relate to the existence of disruptive behavior and students’ inability to acquire competent levels of reading ability. Consequently, the universal field of knowledge taken into account in this study stands out as research on teachers’ effectiveness.
The research focused on the measures that the curriculum should incorporate to improve the teachers’ effectiveness in improving early reading fluency and hence the students’ performance. One of the relevant measures relates to the incorporation of early screening procedures specifically from kindergarten to second grade. Secondly, the literature review also focused on the early intervention measures that learning institutions should incorporate to assist students who have successfully met the screening criteria. An example of such measure as emphasized here includes incorporating reading initiatives. Thirdly, the literature review also advocated for teachers to monitor student performance. Monitoring should occur for a considerable duration to appraise the students’ performance effectively.
One of the studies that the authors have used in developing the aforementioned three points entails Monitoring the academic progress of children who are unresponsive to generally effective early reading intervention by Kristen McMaster, David Campton, Lynn Fuchs, and Douglas Fuchs. The authors affirm that teachers should identify the core reading deficits amongst struggling readers through screening, formulate measures to deal with reading challenges, and monitor the students’ reading performance such as fluency (McMaster et al., 2002).
In conducting the study, the researchers implemented an experimental research design as illustrated by the researchers’ assessment of two main groups of students. The first group entailed a sample of 237 students while the second had 146 students from kindergarten to the third grade. The researchers assessed three main aspects, which include oral reading fluency, letter naming and nonsense word fluency. The two main groups were assessed for a period of three years at an interval of 2 months. Experimental study design integrated tests in order to determine whether the interventions and programs implemented had any positive impact on the students’ reading fluency.
The primary method of data collection was used to understand the sample under study. The researcher utilized the focus group method of data collection. The decision to incorporate the focus group data collection method hinged on the need to develop a comprehensive understanding of the students’ reading experiences. The focus group constituted students from kindergarten to the 3rd grade.
Statistical methods were used in analyzing the data collected through cross-tabulation, determination of standard deviation, correlation, and the mean. The researchers also utilized hierarchical linear modeling to illustrate the students’ pattern of growth in oral reading fluency and early literacy skills.
The findings of the study conducted revealed that 51.4 percent of the students exhibited academic risk while 26 percent exhibited behavioral risk. On the other hand, 10 percent of the students evaluated using the SSBD measure exhibited behavioral risk while 16 percent exhibited academic risk. The study also showed that later oral reading fluency, risk, and curriculum conditions significantly affect the students’ growth patterns hence their future performance.
The study was limited to only a small sample, which paints it as a very unrepresentative study of all schools. Consequently, the findings of the study cannot be generalized. The process of conducting the study also faced a lack of total cooperation from parents. The study also faced the challenge of the lack of systematic measurements about curriculum procedural integrity. In addition to assisting teachers in their effort to develop student reading fluency at their early stage, the study can also be used in students of higher learning levels.
For an educationist, the findings of this study are vital in my career development. The results of the study are applicable in improving my effectiveness and efficiency in ensuring that the curriculum influences students’ growth positively in their early reading fluency. One of the ways through which this goal is attainable is through effective career mapping (Udelhofen, 2005), by identifying behavioral and academic risks that might affect the students’ future performance.
Kamps, D., Wills, H., Greenwood, C., Thorne, S., Lazo, J., Crockett, J., Akers, J., & Swaggart, B. (2003). Curriculum influences on growth in early reading fluency for students with academic and behavioral risks: A descriptive study. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 11(4), 211-224.
McMaster, K., Fuchs, D., Fuchs, S., & Compton, D. (2002). Monitoring the academic progress of children who are unresponsive to generally effective early reading intervention. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 27(4), 23–33.
Udelhofen, S. (2005). Keys to curriculum mapping: strategies and tools to make it work. Mason, MA: Sage Publications.