This study examined the willingness of juniors and master’s year preservice teachers in the Neag School of Education to recommend twice-exceptional students to a gifted program. Preservice teachers were presented with three different hypothetical student bios that contained descriptions of a gifted student, a nongifted student, and a possible twice-exceptional student. The preservice teachers ranked their willingness to refer these students to a gifted program. Of 193 total students in the Neag School of Education surveyed, 109 were juniors, and 84 were master’s year students. Preservice teacher responses were collected and examined using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Overall, the preservice teachers were significantly more willing to Definitely Recommend or Recommend with Reservations students who were just gifted or gifted with ADHD, and less likely to recommend students who had a learning disability in addition to their giftedness.
This study explored the relationship between students’ perceptions of grouping practices used in reading instruction and their academic self-concept levels. This study sought to identify students’ preferences regarding a variety of grouping formats, with specific attention paid to same- versus mixed-ability grouping, and to determine whether these preferences were related to differing levels of academic self-concept. Participants were 36 third grade students enrolled at an urban Connecticut elementary school. Data were collected using two questionnaires that surveyed participants about their attitudes toward different types of reading instruction and their self-ratings regarding ability and enjoyment in reading and in school in general, respectively. Subsequent quantitative analyses and qualitative comparisons were used to investigate the significance of this relationship. The goal of this study was to provide data and draw conclusions that would aid classroom teachers at the test site in identifying and implementing the types of reading instruction that their students preferred and found most desirable, with an eye to promoting student engagement. Students reported that same-ability groups were most well liked, followed by mixed-ability groups, whole-class instruction, and same-ability pairs. Working independently was liked the least. Same-ability groups were viewed as most desirable for nonreaders and least desirable for poor readers. No significant relationship was found between students’ preferences for grouping practices or perceptions of these groups and their academic self-concept levels. However, correlations between responses to pairs of individual items as well as key descriptive differences between the preferences and perceptions of students of high, middle, and low academic self-concept were further discussed.
FACULTY OF EDUCATION THESIS | UNIVERSITY OF …
Pam McDonald, Elementary Education
Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Rachael Gabriel
Literacy Across Disciplines: An Investigation of Text Used in Content-Specific Classrooms
This pilot study focused on literacy within the higher grades, where classes are content-specific and organized into varying levels. Teacher views on literacy instruction as well as the types of texts used across the disciplines and course levels were explored. The following research questions guided the study: 1) Do early high school teachers view their class’ reading tasks as more discipline- or content-focused? 2) Does the complexity of the texts assigned in early high school vary across the various course levels? 3) Does the complexity of the texts assigned in early high school vary across the disciplines? 4) Does the authenticity of the texts assigned in early high school vary across the various course levels? Interviews from a total of 21 ninth and tenth grade teachers were analyzed, as well as sample texts from their classes. Teacher interviews were examined to determine their views—either more content-area based or disciplinary based— on literacy instruction within their content-area classrooms. The sample texts’ Lexile levels were analyzed across discipline (Language Arts, Math, Science, Spanish, and Social Studies) and course level (A, B, DI) in order to find any relationships that existed between text complexity and discipline or level. Finally, the authenticity of the sample texts—in relation to the course level they were being used in—was explored. Results indicated that most content-specific teachers view their literacy instruction as having a more content-area focused purpose rather than a disciplinary focus. Although no relationship was found between the complexity levels of texts across the course levels, a relationship was found between the complexities of texts in certain disciplines. Lastly, results did not show any significant relationship between the authenticity of a text and its course level.