Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Teaching & Learning
Purpose of the Investigation: The purposes of the study were two-fold: (1) to determine the reading proficiency of fourth grade children in North Dakota, with a primary focus on the identification of disabled readers and (2) to ascertain the assistance that was provided for disabled readers by the schools and classroom teachers.
Questions of Study: The Study was designed to ascertain answers to the following questions:
1. How Xv^ell do fourth grade children in North Dakota read? The analysis of this question has three parts: how x^ell they read overall, how boys and girls compare in their reading, and how well they read by school classification.
2. What percentage of fourth grade children in North Dakota are disabled readers. The analysis of this question has three parts: hox^ well they read overall, how boys and girls compare in their reading, and how well they read by school classification.
3. What percentage of fourth grade children in North Dakota who are disabled readers received supplementary instruction and what is the weekly time allocation for such instruction overall, and by school classification?
4. To what extent were disabled readers appropriately placed for reading instruction with regard to material difficulty by their classroom teachers overall and by school classification?
Summary of the Design and Procedures: The sample of the study was 2,069 fourth grade students enrolled in fifty-seven North Dakota public school districts. The school districts were randomly selected by population size (Classification I - 400 or more pupils; II - 200-399 pupils; III - 100-199 pupils; IV - 99 or less pupils) in an attempt to secure an approximate mix of school sizes and pupil distributions that prevailed in the State of North Dakota at the time the study was undertaken. Criteria for inclusion of a school district in the study were: (1) classification as a public high school district, (2) selection from the random sample, (3) willingness of the school district to participate in the study, and (4) availability of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills test data on fourth grade students enrolled in the school districts.
The Iowa Test of Basic Skills and Lorge Thorndike Intelligence Test were administered as group tests to all fourth grade students in the study sample group by school district personnel. The investigator and a trained group of twenty-three diagnosticians individually tested potential disabled readers with the Slosson Intelligence Test for Children and Adults and the Informal Reading Inventory and collected additional student and test data on the Diagnostic Summary Sheet and Pupil Information Form.
The analysis of data were accomplished through the use of the student's t-distribution and multiple comparisons. The chi-square statistic was also employed in the treatment of dichotomous data.
Summary of Findings: The mean reading achievement grade equivalent score of North Dakota fourth grade students in the study sample group was A.31. The national norm for fourth grade students taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills in October, 1971 was A.10. The sample group achieved a mean grade equivalent score that was approximately two months higher than the A.10 national norm. The mean reading achievement grade equivalent score for each of the four school classifications exceeded the A.10 grade equivalent national norm. The mean reading achievement grade equivalent score of female subjects in the study sample group was A.52, while male subjects scored a mean reading achievement grade equivalent of A.12.
An examination of the 2,069 North Dakota fourth grade students' test results indicated that 28A or 13.73 percent of the students met all four criteria for disabled readers as defined in the study. An analysis of disabled readers on the basis of sex illustrated that 198 or 69.72 percent of the 28A disabled readers in the study sample group were male subjects, and 86 or 30.28 percent of the disabled readers were female subjects.
An examination of data collected on the 28A fourth grade disabled readers in the study sample group indicated that 95 disabled readers or 33.A5 percent received supplementary instruction in their school district. One hundred eighty-nine disabled readers received no supplementary instruction. The data available on 26A disabled readers' instructional placement in reading established that 57 disabled readers or 21.59 percent were appropriately placed for reading instruction and 207 disabled readers or 78.41 percent were not appropriately placed for reading instruction.
Diagnostic test data on the 264 disabled readers indicated that 254 or 96.21 percent of those on whom data were received should be placed in reading materials below the fourth grade level. On the basis of actual placement data acquired from school districts participating in the study, 217 of the 264 disabled readers or 82.19 percent were actually placed at or above the fourth grade level for reading instruction.
The two most striking findings of the study were the degree to which school districts involved in the study failed to place disabled readers appropriately for instruction (78.41 percent of the time) and the incidence with which grade level materials were prescribed to disabled readers (82.19 percent of the time). Such findings caused the investigator to conclude that the diagnostic and placement techniques and practices, as well as subsequent prescriptive/instructional procedures, are not sufficiently well developed or operationalized. Such conditions will not foster confidence that the special problems of disabled readers will be detected, appropriately treated, and diminished in the school districts involved in this study, unless present practices are dramatically altered.
Worner, Michael S., "A Study of the Reading Proficiency of Fourth Grade Children in North Dakota with Special Emphasis on the Disabled Reader" (1976). Theses and Dissertations. 2896.