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1 TEACHER READING CERTIFICATION EFFECTS ON ELEMENTARY READING OUTCOMES: AN EXPLORATORY MULTI LEVEL STUDY OF TEACHER PREPARATION By AMY M. EITZEN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PAR TIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DE GREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Amy Eitzen
3 To Eric, Emily, E.J., and Greta For all that yo u are, individually and together I love you!
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First, I must thank and acknowledge my God, through whom all things are truly possible Next, my t hanks and love to my husband, Eric, for all that he has contributed to our family during the yea rs of this academic journey and for picking up the slack in so many w ays so that I might co mplete this huge endeavor W ithout his support, my attainment of a doctorate would not have been possible. Thanks to Emily, E.J., and Greta for all t hat they contribute to my life for all of the joy they hav e brought through the year s, and for their love and support every day. I could not be more proud of each of them. T hank s also to my dissertation chair, Dr. Linda Behar Horenstein, for sharing her time, experience, and wisdom with me as I stumbled th rough this process. Also, many thanks to Dr. Cynthia Garvin for her patient assistance with the statistical portions of the study. Additionally, I would like to thank the remaining members of my committee, Dr. Dale Campbell and Dr. Constance She han, for their contributi ons to the succes s of this project I would like to thank the LEAD cohort, that wonderful assortment of doctoral colleagues who shared this journey with me. My experience was made richer through my acquaintance with each of them Most especially, I thank Dr. Donna Matthews for her support and all of the other ways in which she has t ouched my life over the past five years, including her contribution of much needed laughter to a long, and sometimes painful, process. Thanks, also, to Dr. Marcey Kinney fo r her daily support th rough the peaks and valleys of the dissertation phase of the program. Thanks to Ms. Nancy
5 Keppler for sharing her technical expertise with me, and to all of my colleagues at Bethune Cookman University for their constant encouragement. Many t hanks also, to Dr. Patricia Patterson, Dr. Marcia Lawton, and Dr. Susan Cooper, who supported me when it was needed the most, and to Dr. Adrie nne Perry, who encouraged me towards doctoral work and a career in higher education. Thanks to Mom and Dad for all they have gi ven me through the years. Finally, thanks to Karen Laurie, Stef, Rose, for all of the ir love through the up s and downs of the seventies, eighties, nineties, and into the new millennium. How blessed I am to have life long friends such as these.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 8 LIST OF DEFINITIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 12 Context of the Study ................................ ................................ ............................... 18 Purpose of the Study and Research Questions ................................ ...................... 20 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 22 As sumptions and limitations of the study ................................ ................................ 23 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 25 Expert Reading Instruction ................................ ................................ ...................... 25 The History of Reading Instruction, Research, and Policy in the United States ...... 27 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) ................................ ................................ ............ 29 Criticisms of NRP, NCLB, and Reading First ................................ .................... 34 Achievement Gap ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 37 Qualification and Certification of Elementary Teac hers ................................ .......... 39 Literacy Content Knowledge of Elementary Education Teachers ........................... 45 Literacy in Teacher Preparation Programs ................................ ............................. 49 Florida Reading Certification ................................ ................................ ................... 55 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 56 3 RESEARCH DESIGN ................................ ................................ ............................. 57 Research Questions and Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ..... 57 Study Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 58 Student Data ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 58 Teacher Data ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 59 Data Analysis with the Hierarchical Linear Model Design ................................ 60 4 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 63 Research Question 1 Analysis of Students of Reading Certified Teachers (Reading Endorsed and K 12 Reading Certification) ................................ ........... 63 Demographics ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 63 Results of Research Question 1 ................................ ................................ ....... 63
7 Composite scale score analysis ................................ ................................ 63 Subtest and text type analysis ................................ ................................ ... 64 Interaction analysis ................................ ................................ .................... 68 Research Question 2 Analysis of Stud ents of Reading Endorsed Teachers ........ 69 Demographics ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 69 Results of Research Question 2 ................................ ................................ ....... 70 Composite scale score analysis ................................ ................................ 70 Subtest and text type analyses ................................ ................................ .. 71 Interaction analysis ................................ ................................ .................... 75 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 77 Summary of the findings ................................ ................................ ......................... 77 Implications of the Findings ................................ ................................ .................... 78 Implications for Research and Policy ................................ ............................... 79 Implications for Higher Education ................................ ................................ ..... 81 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 82 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 83 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 85 BIOG RAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 96
8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 Composite mean scores by student variables ................................ .................... 64 4 2 Tests of fixed effects composite scale scores ................................ .................. 65 4 3 Tests of fixed effects comparison/cause and effect subtest ............................ 65 4 4 Tests of fixed effects main idea/plot/purpose subtest ................................ ...... 66 4 6 Tests of fixed effects reference/research subtest ................................ ............ 67 4 7 Tests of fixed effects literary text ................................ ................................ ..... 68 4 8 Tests of fixed effects informational text ................................ ........................... 69 4 9 Mean scores of students wit h disability by teacher reading certification ............. 69 4 10 Composite mean scale scores by student variable ................................ ............. 71 4 11 Tests of fixed eff ects of composite scale scores ................................ ................. 71 4 12 Tests of fixed effects comparison/cause and effect subtest ............................ 72 4 13 Tests of fixed effec ts main idea/plot/purpose ................................ .................. 73 4 14 Tests of fixed effects words and phrases subtest ................................ ............ 73 4 15 Tests of fixed effects referenc e/research subtest ................................ ............ 74 4 16 Tests of fixed effects literary text ................................ ................................ ..... 74 4 17 Tests of fixed effects informational text ................................ ........................... 75 4 18 Mean scores of significant sub scores by teacher reading endorsement status ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 76 4 19 Scores of students with disability by teacher reading endorsement ................... 76
9 LIST OF DEFINITIONS E NGLISH L ANGUAGE L EARNER Student enrolled in an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program. E XCEPTIONAL S TUDENT Individual who receives specified instructional interventions as indicated on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) due to a documented disability. F REE /R EDUCED L UNCH federal poverty guidelines, indicating low family income (U.S. Departm ent of Agriculture, 2011) NAEP National Assessment of Education Process NCLB No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 NICHD National Institute of Health and Human Development NRP National Reading Panel
10 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Sch ool of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for th e Degree of Doctor of Education TEACHER READING CERTIFICATION EFFECTS ON ELEMENTARY READING OUTCOMES: AN EXPLORATORY MULTILEVEL STUDY OF TEACHER PREPARATION By Amy M. Eitzen August 2012 Chair: Linda Behar Horenstein Major: Higher Education Administration This multilevel study investig ate d effects of teacher reading certification on elementary student reading outc omes. T wo reading certifications both of which require specific training in reading instruction were analyzed. reading predict the scores and sub e ndorsement certification predict the reading scores and sub scores of elementary small number of such teachers in the dataset. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze de identified student scores and teacher certification data. The study was designed with student variables situated in L evel O ne, and teacher certification data in L evel Two Student variables analyzed were sex, grade level, disability status, and free/reduced lunch status. Data representing race/ethnicit y and English Language Learner status could not be analyzed due to small sample sizes of those variables. Composite test scores, as well as several sub scores, were analyzed.
11 No significant effects of teacher reading certification were found in the composite scores, or in the sub scores of the readin g certification analysis However, significant effects were found in four sub scores in the reading endorsement analysis In three of those scores, the means were higher for stude nts in the non reading endorsed classes. Chapter 5 offers possible explanations for these findings. O ther findings included a small number of reading certifie d teachers in the dataset used in the study, as well as a significantl y larger number of st udents with disabilities assigned to classes of tea chers holding reading certifications. Additionally, an interaction effect was observed in which students with disabilities in reading certified classes scored significantly lower than their counterparts in non reading certified classes. However, the small sample size of that particular demographic and lack of finding. The findings raise d questions re gard ing the assignment of students to classes, especially in light of increasing teacher accountability as wel l as on the competencies included in reading certifications. The study also illuminated complexities inherent in the study of teacher effectivene ss
12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION fundamental respo nsi (Moats, 1999, p. 5, 7). Additionally, the detrimental effects of low reading achievement on schools and communities, as well as on the lives of individuals, have been well documented (Moa ts, 1999 ; Nati onal Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000). The International Reading Association quality teachers who are prepared to provide effective reading and writing ins In spite of the importance of reading competency, many students at all levels of the K 12 system lack the skills necessary to achieve required literacy levels. According to the National Assessment of Education Process (NAEP), a large pe rcentage of students read at below basic levels. Nationally, 33% of fourth grade students were reading at below basic level in 2009. In the same year, 25% and 26% of eighth and twelfth graders respectively scored below the basic level. In 2009, at all of t he aforementioned grade levels, only about a third of students scored in the proficient range in reading (National Center for Education Statistics, n.d. ). Ornstein (2010) noted that one third of high school graduates read below a 9 th grade level. Additiona lly, Moats (2005) wrote that fully 25% of the adult population in our country is functionally illiterate. Scores on the NAEP examination are significantly lower for members of specific population groups. For example, among fourth graders in 2009, students who qualified for free and reduced rate lunch scored 26 points lower on the NAEP than students who
13 did not qualify. Students with learning disabilities scored 34 points lower than students without disabilities. Students classified as lacking English profi ciency scored 36 points lower than their English proficient peers. The scores of male students averaged six points lower than those of females. Differences in outcomes of the NAEP were also found among children of different races. Asian/Pacific Islanders s cored the highest with an average of 235 points. White students followed, with an average score of 230. Black and Hispanic students both averaged 205 points, and the average score for Native Americans was 204 ( National Center for Education Statistics n.d. ). However, despite these discouraging numbers, reading failure can, in many cases, b e prevented or remedied through the use of scientifically research based ins tructional methods (Moats, 1999; Snow, Burns, & Griffen, 1998). Moats (1999) contended that wit h access to instruction featuring research based methods, 95% of students can be taught to read at levels indicated by their listening comprehension and reasoning levels. T he National Reading Panel Report a seminal meta analysis of research on reading ins truction from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD, 2000) delineated research based literacy i nstructional methods in five components of reading (comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonics, and phonemic awareness). In the a rea of reading comprehension, for example, summarization and student question generation, as well as the use of graphic organizers and story structures to understand the meaning of text, were found to be effective research based strategies In the years si nce the release of the report, continuing research has built on the findings of the N ational R eading P anel thus creating a plethora of research based strategies.
14 This issue of reading failure has become even more pressing in light of the No Child Left Beh ind Act ( 2001) that calls for 100% of students to reach grade level reading proficiency by the year 2014. In 2012, new legislation loosened some of these restrictions on states which had submitted approved alternate accountability plans. However, these rev isions do not signal the end of the accountability movement; t hey are merely a change (Hu, 2012). Recent increases in accountability have also begun to reach the colleges of teacher education which have traditionally prepared the majority of teachers in t he United States since reading failure is increasingly being attributed to teacher training ( U.S. Department o f Education, 2009d ; Walsh, Glaser, & Wilcox, 2006 ). The new achievement, defined as test scores on state assessments, and the teacher preparation programs attended by their teachers (U.S. Department of Education, 2009d). Currently, twelve states (District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachuse tts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Tennessee) have been awarded federal grants for the ir p.11) Furthermore, five of those states (District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, ). The American Association of Col leges for Teacher Educatio n ( 2011) has also called for accountability measures to tie teacher preparation programs to student learning outcomes of graduates.
15 The need for effective literacy education has also become more pronounced than indu strial global society in which many manual occupations have disappeared (Barone & Morrell, 2007 ; Snow et al 1998). A increasingly socio culturally and linguistically diver se students. As members of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education reported to the U.S. Congress, impact instruction designed to realize attainment of demanding objectives for all learners, including low income students, students with disabilities, and English language understanding of reading; that is, reading is a significant p art of the content in which these teachers have been certified and are hired to teach. Additionally, research, such as the National Reading Panel report ( NICHD, 2000), has demonstrated the critical nature of the earliest years of literacy instruction in th e development of successful Catch Them (students) Before They F all more difficult to remediate reading difficulties in older students than to circumvent such problems throu gh effective instruction and intervention in the early grades. When the research on the importance of early reading success is coupled with the research on teacher quality effects on student learning (C lotfelter Ladd, & Vigdor, 2007), we can see the impor tance of quality reading instruction delivery by elementary school teachers.
16 must t eachers know to effectively teach literacy skills, and how much training is needed to master those competencies? Official qualifications to teach elementary school vary by state, but teachers in every state must meet the minimal guidelines set forth in No Child Left Behind (2001) T o be considered highly qualified under this law teachers must be state certified in all areas in which they teach. Such certification must include cademic area taught degree when they begin teaching; therefore, the attainment of content and skills required to teach the foundations of reading during undergraduate work is critical A is especially important for elementary teachers, whose primary responsibilities include building a strong literacy foundation in students. Though teachers in most states must pass a test in elementary educatio n content knowledge, states vary in the tests used and the scores required to be consi dered highly qualified (U.S. Department of Educat ion 2009b). Additionally, reading is on ly one of several subjects for which competency is required for elementary teachers; therefore, elementary subject area tests include questions on content in addition to reading. The National Co uncil of Teacher Quali ty ( 2009) determined that e lementary certification tests may be inadequate if potential educators can pass without proving mastery of the specific science of reading instruction They warned that states should not certify elementary teach ers who do not evi dence competency in the scientifically based instruction of reading. The current differences in state certification regulations an d assessments have
17 led to inconsistent le vels of knowledge requirements for attainment of the country. Though many educators are eligi ble to teach reading at the elementary level under deficits in teacher content knowledge of literacy (Cheesman, McGu ire, Shankweiler, & Coy ne, 2009; Joshi, Binks, Hougan, Dahl gran, Ocker Dean, & Smith, 2009; Lyon & Weiser, 2009 ; Moats, 2009b; Piasta, Conn or, Fishman, & Morrison, 2009 ). Moats (2009b) wrote that teachers often report feeling unprepared to teach students who exhibit reading prob lems. Additionally, researchers have found that it is the expert application of specialized litera cy education knowledge that is the critical component of authentic t eacher quality (Allington, 2002; International Reading Association, 2008/ 2009; Piasta et a l.) Such specific, expertly applied instruction requires a deep, flexible understanding of pedagogy. Researchers also question how well traditional elementary education teacher preparation programs train teacher candidates in the science of reading as elu cidated by r esearch (Walsh et al. 2006). In their seminal work, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, Snow et al. (1998) criticized the small amount of tim e dedicated to literacy instruction in undergr aduate teacher preparation programs, argu ing t hat the amount of content included in these programs precluded the dedication of adequate time to master the skills and knowledge required to effectively teach reading. They advocated continuous development of literacy instruction skills throu ghout th e career, and contended that such development should include traditional instruction as well as opportu nities to observe and collaborat e with other teachers. The International Reading
18 Association (2008/2009) also described literacy education skills as deve lopmental, mentoring, observation, follow Continued professional development, such as reading endorsement and cert ification programs offered in some states, can help to ensure that teachers develop their literacy instructional skills and knowledge. proximal development. They discussed the importance of instructional scaffolding for teachers as they develop their literacy teaching skills and implement new strategies in the classroo m. They contended that this scaffolding should include time, practice, and coaching, and can exist within compr ehensive on going professional development. The research, therefore, describes a need for both effective initial teacher preparation, and continued professional development in the area of reading instruction Context of the Study In the state in which thi s study was conducted, elementary teacher certification requires the passage of an elementary edu cation subject area test which includes questions on competencies related to literacy. These competencies include knowledge of the reading process, literature and literacy analysis, writing process and applications, reading methods and assessments, communication, and information and media literacy. Each competency, in turn, has a number of associated specifi c indicators (Florida Department of Ed ucation, 20 11 ). A dditionally, in order to be considered highly qualified in Elementary Educati on, teachers must attain education which includes coursework in the teaching of reading at the K 6 level, or a degree in another major which incl udes coursework in the prescribed reading
19 competencies. No specific number of reading instruction courses is required as long as the specified competencies are mastered by prospective teachers (Florida Department of Education, 2002a). In an effort to incre ase teacher qualification and effectiveness in the area of reading, this state began to offer a reading endorsement certification option for teachers in 2002. Teachers must complete 300 hours of training in six specified and detailed competencies to earn t his designation. The competencies may also be met through participation in an approved infused in state teacher education program. The attainment of a reading endorsement, therefore, can be included as p art of pre service training or achieved through spec ific in service professional development for practicing teachers. In service endorsement training can be attained through approved university courses or local district training on the prescribed competencies. Because some teachers become endorsed through i nfused undergraduate programs and others through additional training, there may be great variance in the actual number of hours of reading instruction that endorsed teachers complete. However, teachers endorsed through both routes must maste r the six requi red competences: foundations in language and cognition, foundations of research based practices, foundations of assessment, foundations of differentiation, application of differentiated instruction, and demonstration of accomplishment practi cum (Just Read, Florida, n d.). The state also offers K 12 reading certification. Teachers who wish to earn this hours of specified reading coursewo rk. They must also pass a state subj ect area test in reading (Just Read, Florida, n d.)
20 The National Council on Teacher Quality (2009) graded education preparation in reading instruction since it does require elementary education programs to teach the five components of reading as delineated in the National Reading Panel, and it does address those competencies on the state certification assessment. NAEP outcomes in this state are similar to the national achievement levels. At the fourth grade level 2 7% scored at below the basic level in 2009 and 36% scored at the proficient level. At the eighth grade level, 24% were below basic, and 32% were proficient. In twelfth grade, 30% were below basic, and 32% were proficient. In this state, as well as the nat ion, there are great differences in the assessment performance of students from different demographics (National Center for Education Statistics, n.d.) Purpose of the Study and Research Questions Current NAEP scores demonstrate a need for further study on reading instruction in our schools. Because the foundation of reading is taught in elementary school, it is critical to consider the training and qualifications of elementary teachers in the instruction of reading. The competency based reading endorsement purports to insure that teachers are truly highly qualified in the area of reading (Bates, Breslow, & Hupert, 2009). This study seeks to determine if teacher attainment of the reading endorsement certification, or full state K 12 reading certification, af fects elementary student reading outcomes. know how to teach reading effectively. Rather, the purpose of the study is to determine the extent to which specific teacher de velopment in the science of reading as required by these certifications affects student outcomes. If teaching reading is indeed the
21 increase outcomes If, as Allington (200 1) argued expert teachers are essential, then we must seek to determine the ways in which teachers can increase their expertise. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to determine the effect of the training r equired for reading specific certification s on student reading assessment outcomes. Furthermore, the study will investigate the effects of this teacher development on students from va ried demographic backgrounds, as well as student achievement on the re ading skills measured by the included sub scores. T he research question s for this study are: 1. Do teacher certifications in re ading (including reading endorsement and full state K 12 reading certification) predict the reading scores and sub scores of third fourth, and fifth grade elementary students 2. Does teacher reading endorsement (specifically) predict the reading scores and sub scores of third, fourth, and f ifth grade elementary students? The study will use a hierarchical linear model to analyze the effects of teacher reading certification level on elementary students from diverse subgroups. Additionally, the researcher will examine relationships between teac her reading certifications and outcomes on the four reading subtests of the state assessment (words and phrases in context, main ideas, plot, and purpose, comparisons and cause/eff ect, and reference and research), a nd on both l iterary and informational questions included on the test (Florida Department of Education, 2009) The results of the study wil l be discussed i n terms of implications on teacher training and state certification policy.
22 Significance of the Study how to read proficiently teacher effectiveness in literacy instruction is a critical issue. Florida has created two specif ic reading certi fications that elementary teachers can attain in addition to their elementary education qualifications. However, there is a lack of research on the effects of reading specific certification on elementary student outcomes. The examination of assessment data in relatio n to teacher certification in the specific area of reading may have implications for both state policies across the country and program design within schools of teacher education. Philips (2010) asserted that effects of teacher q ualification may be more profound on students deemed at risk than for the general population. Therefore, there may be specific implications for students from different subgroups. As Zigmond Bea n, Kloo, and Brydon (2011) wrote r all At the policy level, the study may indicate a relationship between teacher certifications in reading and elementary student reading outcomes. Such a relationship could indicate a need for greater li teracy instructional training or certification levels for elementary teach ers. This study may induce furthe r discussion of state competency based literacy requirements in the certification of elementary teachers. Discussion of both of t hese issues could lead to changes in state reading education policies. In a 2011 editoria Perkins called for further research on teacher professio nal development in reading that is both evidence an d outcome based. Since teachers often attain the reading endorsement as professional development, findings from this study may also a ddress this need since it analyzes relationships between student outcome data and
23 certification s of teachers. The recent Ra ce to the Top legislation also calls for the Education, 2009d, p. 10) which includes instructional strategies and differentiation Since the reading endorsement inclu des t hese competencies and is often completed as professional development, it is relevant to analyze the outcomes of reading endorsed teachers. Additionally, i n a critical analysis of research on teacher education, Risko, Roller, Cummins, Bean, Block, Anders, & Flood (2008) noted a dearth of studies whic h include student outcomes. The present study may serve to provide data which connects teachers and student outcomes. At the level of higher education, there are implications for course and program design. School s of education may use competency based outcomes to design their reading requirements in elementary teacher education. Schools of education may also choose to participate in graduate level or professional development education for teachers, especially in s tates that offer additional reading certifications. Other implications for higher education could come from the analysis of subtests. Results could drive instruction in a variety of teacher education programs, including those in Elementary Education, Excep tional Student Education, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. Assumptions and limitations of the study This study assumes that state accountability tests in the area of reading are valid indicators of student reading competency. There are several limitations in this study. First, teacher certification data does not indicate the amount of classroom experience that teachers have attained. Teacher experience has been associated with more effective teac hing (Clotfelter et al. 2007). Block, Oakar, and Hurt (2002) described a
24 continuum of teacher effectiveness associated with increasing experience in the of intuitivism that is not present in earlier stages of teaching development. Such intuitivism, they wrote, takes time to develop. Additionally, we cannot determine which teachers attained the reading endorsement as part of pre service training and who ear ned it as professional development, and whether this distinction and possible difference in training hours makes a difference in outcomes. As with any study that involves students of teachers, it cannot be asserted that students were randomly assigned to classes or that classes were randomly assigned to teachers (Phillips, 2010) Also, because the results are based on standardized tests, there is always a question of whether some teachers are effective in ways that do not show up on high stakes tests (Chin gos & Peterson, 2011), and whether high stakes tests, in general, accurately assess student skills. Finally, the study did not control for previous learning of students.
25 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This study seeks to determine whether teacher certificati on in reading has an effect on elementary student reading outcomes. There are a number of components of this question that will be presented in this review of the literature that will help to contextualize this study. First, an overview of studies related to expert reading instruction will be addressed. Next, research, trends, and policies in education that have impacted the instruction of reading in the elementary school classroom will be presented. An overview of research related to literacy instruction w ithin elementary teacher p reparation programs and elementary education certification requirements precedes the conclusions. Expert Reading Instruction If we are to study teacher expertise, we must first understand it. Danielson (2007) described expertise a s a state of automaticity which allows teachers to notice and focus on differences in student learning. She wrote that expert teachers are able to more quickly and accurately notice discrepancies from the norm, and are better able to interpret and respond to what they see. She noted that expertise and experience are experience is necessary for the acquisition of expertise. But, although it is necessary, it is not sufficient; t he development of expertise requires conscious effor p. 38). This implies that teachers must seek to increase their skills in order to become experts. The challenge before us is to determine how to raise teacher expertise to levels sufficien t to bring all students to their highest potential in the area of reading.
26 Teaching Reading IS because it is much more complicated than it is generally believe to be. The instruction of reading has been deemed a science in recent years because results from experimental research have shown that specific methods are effective in reading instruction. Lyon and Weiser (2009) wrote that the science of reading includes the ability wledge about the complex sub skills that must be taught to ensure that effectively teaching reading to diverse students. Indeed, research (Moa ts, 1999; NICHD, 2000; Torgesen, 1998) suggests that the instruction of the foundations of reading is indeed complex in the elementary years, and that effective reading instruction can be the difference between success and failure in future learning. Allington (2002) proclaimed McDonald, Block, & Morrow (2001) which found that expert reading teachers succeeded in teaching students, regardless of commercial reading programs used. Allington (2002) attributed this success to the ways in which expert teachers use their knowledge to deliver instruction that meets the specific needs of students. He claimed that less effective teachers lack requisite kn owledge and the ability to appropriately ad apt curriculum to student needs Pressley et al. (2001) reported that effective teachers focused instruction on student needs rather than the directions of a core curriculum plan. Piasta et al. (2009) found that e ven when using scripted curriculum, teachers with higher levels of literacy knowledge had better student learning outcomes than less knowledgeable teachers. They ascribed this finding to the ability of expert teachers to
27 correctly understand and respond to student errors and questions, and to use the assigned curriculum more flexibly based on actual student needs. Block et al. (2002) automaticity in executing specialized teac hing behaviors and self (p. 187). They also reported specific grade level proficiencies exhibited by effective teachers. Though domains of teaching were found across grade levels, effective strategies differed among grade levels. This finding denotes an additional layer of expertise that teachers must attain to reach maximum effectiveness in the instruction of reading. The History of Reading Instruction, Research, and Policy in the United States Shannon, Edmondson, Ortega, Pitcher, & R obbins (2009) suggested that the last fifty years of federal involvement in reading education is made up of two movements. They described the first movement as an enthusiastic period replete with promise of great social and educational progress. This was t he era of the implementation of legislation such as the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965) both of which included policies to increase equity among American students, thereby improving education in our country. T he second period, ranging from 1980 to the present was described as one of new federal government prescription and restriction. Indeed, the research and policy of the latter twentieth century led to many changes in reading instruction and teacher accountab ility. Some of these changes, in turn, have had a strong impact on teacher certification and training in the area of reading. For much of the twentieth century, reading in the elementary grades was most ich focused instruction of high
28 frequency words in contrived texts presented in basal readers. Phonics was not emphasized, and when taught, it was done using previously learned words. Daily instruction included small homogenous reading groups and often an independent work page for students to complete (Pressley one such program was de scribed by Pressley et al. as evidenced by the prohibition against children taking books home to practice. Reading scholar Elf rieda Hiebert (2010) recalled that during her own childhood, students in her class were instructed to secure the unread portions of their basals with sealing jar rings so they would not read ahead of their assignments. One of the earliest criticisms of li ( 1955 ) d instruction, and was one of the first to call for phonics instruction in the schools. Othe r important works which championed the ins truction of phonics followed. These included Learning to Read: The Great Debate which increased (1994) Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learnin g about Print, which described the importance of automaticity in the decoding of letters, word patterns, and words, and how such fluency allows for comprehension to occur. w ith basal manuals, controlled the learning situation as never before, and students continued to play the role of passive recipient of the knowledge and skills mediated by
29 However, during the 1960s and 1970s, research d escribed by Pearson as emerging. Pearson credited sociolinguists of this period with several par adigm shifts which continue to a ffect reading education today; these i nclude interpretation of student reading errors as a way to gauge student processing including miscue analysis (Goodman, 1965), the use of prediction and prior knowledge in comprehension (Smith, 1978), and the model of reading as making meaning (Rosenblatt 1978 ). During this era schema theory also became widely accepted within the reading community ( Piaget, 1969). Barone and Morrell (2007) called the 1980s ) during which states began to more closely dictate curriculum to the schools. In 1983, report described the mediocrity of American education and ar gued that improvement was urgently needed if the U.S. planned to sustain global competition with other countries. The report called for various reforms in education as well as in the preparation of teachers. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Seismic changes too k place in the field of reading education as the new millennium was dawning. These changes were the result of both new research and new legislation. One key report, (Snow, et al., 1998) proclaimed that th e knowledge required to effectively teach students to read was indeed available, and identified such necessary skills and strategies. The National Reading Pane l Report (NICHD 2000) expanded on this research through the
30 identification of five components es sential to reading, and presented scientifically based methods for teaching reading. The NRP report itself was a meta analysis of experimental research on the science of reading. The five reading components delineated by the report phonics, phonological awareness, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary have become the foundation of reading instruction in this country. lly the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), was com posed of four the use of research based teaching methods, have had wide reaching implications on ure Department of Education 2004, p. 6) since it called for evidence of outcomes at several levels of the educational system. At the most basi c level, under this legislation all students were required to meet state developed grade lev el benchmarks by the 2013 2014 school year. Standardized tests, defined by the U.S. Department of Education as p. 45) were chosen as the instrument used to determine student progress. The outcomes of these assessments were to be disaggregated to determine the progress of subgroups, such as English language learners, students from families from low socioeconomic g roups, and studen ts with disabilities Data would also be disaggregated by gender and racial groups. Additionally, outcome data would also be used to determine the quality of i ndividual schools and districts (Department of Education, 2004).
31 The accountabil ity requirements also impacted the training and certification of areas in which they teach. The legislation allowed states to manage their own certification requirements within prescribed parameters. However, under NCLB, competency in their subject areas in order to be considered highly qualified. For elementary certification, subject area competency must be demonstrated through passage of a 2004, p. 10), though According to a U.S. Department of Education report, though 34 states conside red their educator requirements rigorous before NCLB, 33 states reported making changes in certification requirements in response to the legislation. These changes included adding coursework requirements to approved teacher preparation programs and testing requirements for certification. Changes implemented to meet NCLB requirements also included the establishment of middle school endorsements, which in some cases include d reading endorsements (U.S. Department of Education 2009a). Reading First a grant fu nding initiative under NCLB, was designed to provide effective early instruction (K 3) in reading to prevent future reading failure among students. Reading First grants were made available to schools with a designated proportion of low income students to p rovide professional development for teachers in the use of scientifically based reading instruction methods, as well as related materials and ongo ing reading assessment (U.S. Department of Education 2009c). Reading First grants contained prescriptive curr iculum and assessment requirements including the
32 use of a core curriculum and dedicated block of reading instruction time. Lane, Hudson, Leite, Kosanovich, Strout, Fenty and Wright (2009) described Reading First largest and most comprehensive effor to Mixed results have been reported on the success of the Reading First program. Two major impact studies (Gam se, Bloom, Kemple & Jacob, 2008; Gamse, Jacob, Hors t, Boulet, and Unlu, 2008) described negligible results in comprehension outcomes of Reading First schools, though they did find a positive, statistically significant impact on time spent on the instruction of the five core components of reading. Gamse, Ja cob, et al. (2008) also reported a positive, statistically significant impact on increased professional development in scientifically based teaching methods, reading coach support, the amount of reading instruction in class, and support for readers who are struggling. Studies on Reading First outcomes in individual states however, reported more encouraging results, including improved comprehension outcomes in some grade levels (Bean, Draper, Turner, & Zigmund, 2010; Carlisle, Cortina, & Zeng, 2010; Connor, Jakobsons, Crowe, and Meadows, 2 009; Dole, Hosp, Nelson, & Hosp, 2010; Foorman, Petscher, Lefsky, & Toste, 2010). Scholars have proposed several explanations for the mixed results. Dole (2010) argued that the lack of statistically significant difference between Reading First and non Reading First schools was because many non Reading First schools did, in fact, implement Reading First program components though they were not part of the official grant program. Therefore, s he asserted, non Reading First scho ols actually attained benefits from Reading First too, thus narrowing statistical difference s found among the
33 studied schools Zigmond et al. (2011) asserted that individual state grants were based on interpretation of the legislation and, therefore, vari ed in their effectiveness. They also argued that Reading First was implemented within diverse contexts and with varying levels of fidelity. Bean et al. (2010) argued that new programs in general take time to run well; therefore, some of the studies may hav e been conducted too soon to adequately assess the actual value of Reading First In Florida, the Reading Fir st grant contained several components. These were Most r elevant to this study was the creation of the state reading endorsement certification, implemented in 2002. This certification was created to increase teacher expertise in the area of reading by providing teachers with an opportunity to achieve a certifica tion which, in turn, would increase their marketa bility Very specific literacy content criteria were delineated for attainment of the endorsement and these criteria had to b e met through approved programs (Just Read, Florida, n.d.) The most recent federal education legislation, the Race to the Top grant initiative, is designed to assess and improve teacher quality. This is relevant to this study student achievement and s teachers and principals, to link this information to the in s tate programs where tho se teachers and principals were prepared for credentialing, and to publicly report the data for each credentialing program in the state. achievement is specifically defined in the initiative as including state test results.
34 Criticisms of NRP, NCLB, and Reading First Rothstein, Jacobson, and Wilder (2009) asserted that NCLB was an imposs ible student variability would always render reaching the 100% proficiency goal a s an impossi b l e one Shannon et al. (2009) argued that the prescriptions of NCLB and the accompanying Reading First grants led to restrictions in instruction and assessment of literacy. They also asserted that pedagogy is now largely dictated by the bottom line results of test scores. Other scholars have also criticized the focus on test s cores in the accountability mo vement (Darling Hammond, 2007; Duffy, Webb, & Davis, 2009; Teale, Hoffman, Paciga, Lisy, Richardson, & Berkel, 2009). Darling law wastes scarce resources on a complicated test score game that appears t o be narrowing the curriculum, uprooting successful programs and pushing low achieving stude p. 13). C ritics of NCLB (Allington, 2009; Duffy et al., 2009), have also denounced the required fidelity to state adopted assessment syst ems and core curriculums. Pearson because teachers are forced to follow prescribed lessons and thus, decrease the use of their professional expertise in teachin g. Connor et al. (2009) asserted that one of the of problems with prescribed use of core curricula is that such materials, due to publication processes, may not be completely up to date. Allington (2011) argued against dependence on core reading programs for three reasons. He wrote that such programs promote reading at the appropriate levels for students, especially those at risk for
35 failure. NCLB has also been criticized for its failure to close the achievement gap (Allington, 2009). Rothstein et al. (2009) criticized the subjectivity of state proficiency standards, stating that there are large disparities between states, and that some states have set standards that are not truly rigorous In a more recent movement, many states have standards to indicate that students have learned what they n eed to know to succeed (U.S. Department of Education 2010). Phillips ( that the policy sought to improve student outcomes through teacher quality, yet er NCLB and student achievement. Loeb & Miller (2009) teacher Colleg es of Teacher Education ( 2 student learning outcomes. Such designation, they claim, would be more indicative of a alone, which focuses mainly on inputs. Phillips (2010) suggested that qualifications not addressed in NCLB such as recency of degree, specific school of education attended, and additional professiona l development attained, teacher. In short, she argued
36 (which) existed among the effectiveness as w ell as the preparation of hi p. 486). Phillips claimed that NCLB did 486) and that the qualities that were specified in the legislation have not been consistently implemented. Rebell and Wolff (2009) argued that NCLB does not, in fact, ensure teachers who are highly qualified; instead it qualifies teachers who only meet minimum standards. They wrote that instead of focusing on minimal inputs, induction, mentoring, and professional development of programs that will develop a recommended different levels of certification, including one for new teachers, and another for teachers who have a deep understanding of content knowledge and proficiency requirements. Researchers ( Pressley, Duke, & Boling, 2004; Shannon et al. 2009 ; Teale et al. 2009 ) also questioned the limitations on the research included in the National Reading Panel report and endorsed by NCLB, arguing that the inclusion of studies using a broader range of research methods would have created a greater quantity of acceptable research. Pressley et al. (2004) argued that some pheno mena cannot be described solely by using experimental research. They also asserted that expert teachers beginning reading instruction will occur to the extent that educator s understand and (p. 53). Such intricate and expert teaching is difficult to capture and report in
37 experimental research. However, research on authentic teaching and learn ing can have great value. Th erefore, Pressley et al. research to be applicable under NCLB (2004, p. 53) In s pite of such criticisms, the National Reading Panel report is widely acknowledged as the framework of basis of many teacher education and professional development programs. Although alsh et al., 2006, p. 8). Achievement Gap One of the goals of NCLB was to improve achievement among students from population groups which historically have lower rates of academic success. The achievement gaps described in the NAEP scores included in Chapt er 1 refle ct national trends Nettles, Millett, and Oh (2009) reported national racial achievement gaps beginning as early as the 4 th grade NAEP, and continuing through to the SAT and GRE exams taken by high school and college students. They also describ ed the nationwide gap between students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and those who do not. Recent social trends have the potential to further increase the effects of the achievement ga p within our nation. According to a recent Brookings Instituti on report, child poverty has greatly increased in recent years in the United States due to the economic downturn. The same report also reported that Florida is now classified as a which is delineated as one in which at least twe nty percent of children live in poverty (Isaacs, 2011). Additionally, Wells (2009) described immigration patterns in which more low wage workers who do not speak English ar e arriving in the
38 United States, potentially increasing the population of students w ho lack English proficiency. Benner, Bell, and Broemmel (2011) discussed the recent increase in the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Ornstein (2010) wrote that Hispanic and Black students will represent majority scho ol enrollments by the year 2015. Individual students are often represented in more than one at risk demographic group. For example, Bali and Alvarez (2003) discussed lower income as a correlate of race. McLaughlin, Miceli, and Hoffman (2009) described rela tionships between racial and socioeconomic group membership and identified disability status. In an effort to remove confounding variables, Bali and Alvarez (2003) studied outcomes for White, Black, and Hispanic students whom had similar background variabl es (middle socioeconomic status, fifth grade males who receive free/reduced lunch, live with both parents, and do not have English proficiency issues), and still found achievement gaps, though the gap between the Hispanic group and the White students was n ot as great as the gap between the Black students in this group and their w hite counterparts. School characteristics have also been implicated in student outcome g aps. Nettles et al. (2009) addressed the numbers of African American students who attend eco nomically disadvantaged schools, and the low achievement scores attached to such schools. Each of the these studies illustrates that t he achievement gap in the United States and associated student ris ks are complex and multi faceted issues which demand fu rther research that includes disaggregated outcome results. Additionally, the recent
39 social trends indicate an even greater need for high quality literacy instruction in all American schools. Qualification and Certification of Elementary Teachers Historica lly, individual states have been responsible for state accreditation of education programs as well as certification of new teachers (Snow et al 1998). However, under NCLB, states must follow federal guidelines for certification, which s degree and subject area competency. Scholars have questioned wh ether these certification requirements truly insure qualification to teach. Philips (2010) pointed out the dearth of research on teacher quality in elementary education in general, stating t hat the bulk of the teacher quality research has focused on secondary education. She argued that the self contained nature of elementary instruction, in fa ct, increases the effect of a single teacher on individual students. Such increased effect, she argue d, may be even more critical to students who are perceived a second language status. In her study, she examined reading achievement in relation to teacher qualificat ions such as certification, undergraduate education (including relevant coursework), graduate education (including major), and teaching experience. The only qualification found statistically significant to student outcomes was the possession of a graduate degree in elementary education. However, it must be noted that no reading or literacy graduate degrees were reported in the study; therefore, we do not know the significance of reading specific degrees. The effect of elementary graduate degrees was found t o be even greater among at risk students than among the general population of students.
40 Scholars have advanced several issues regarding teacher certification testing including the variations in state assessments and benchmarks (Allington, 2009, Philips, 20 10, U S D epartment of E ducation 2009b), and the alignment between certification tests and required competencies (Lyon & Weiser, 2009, Philips, 2010). For example, Stotsky (2009) found that teacher certification tests in special education lacked adequate assessment of teacher knowledge of reading ins truction. A report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (2009) reported that many elementary education certification tests do not contain adequate questions on the science of reading to satisfactorily a scertain whether teachers have mastered these competencies. Moats & Foorman (2003) described implications of the certification of teachers who lack mastery of literacy instruction. In addition to obvious instructional issues, teachers routine ly monitor stu dent progress and make critical instructional and placement decisions based on their knowledge of reading assessment outcomes. Their ability to understand and use assessment outcome data affects these high stakes decisions which can have far reaching impli cations for students. To avoid certification of elementary teachers with inadequate l iteracy training, the National Council on Teacher Quality (2009 ) called for states to include specific assessment on the science of reading instruction on certification te sts. Idaho, for example, requires passage of a comprehensive literacy assessment by all K 8 pre service teachers. Three standards (language learning and literacy development, comprehension, and literacy assessment and intervention) are assessed through que stions on related definitions, strategies, and scenarios (Squires, Canney, &
41 Trevisan, 2009). Alternatively, some states use a subscale within the elementary certification test to determine knowledge of the science of reading. Reutzel, Dole, Read, Fawson Herman, Jones, Sudweeks, and Fargo (2011) suggested the importance of testing two forms of teacher knowledge of reading. The which encompasses knowledge of teaching methodology used in the classroom. Reutzel et al. advocated ongoing assessment of in service teachers in addition to initial certification testing. They claimed that the initial exam assesses only minimal skills, and that teachers should continue to increase their skills while working in the classroom. Use of continuing assessments should include specific observations of literacy instruction by trained observers to capture the true quality of the t eaching. They also recommended that these assessment results could be used to plan additional professional development as appropriate to increase teacher effectiveness. A 2009 U.S. Department of Education report illustrated the variation in state certifica tion requirements and raised the question of whether the requirements of some states are sufficiently rigorous to insure high quality instruction (2009a). This report described a 22 p oint difference in pass scores among the numerous states that use the PRA XIS II Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment test (Educational Testing Service, 2010) for teacher certification Additionally, all of the cut scores used by the states fell below the median score calculated for the test. The lowest cut score (146 in Washington, D.C.) is 31 point s below the calculated median score of 177 (U.S. D epartment of E ducation 2009b)
42 of the thirteen states analyzed, with a cut score of 168 Even this score, though, wa s nine points below the national median. Crowe (2011) argued that states should work towards the creation of common tests, and that cut scores must be increased to promote teacher quality. Piasta et al. (2009) described knowledge deficiencies among first g rade teachers, nine percent of teachers in the study content area of those degrees was not disclosed. The teachers had an average history of 11.4 years in the classroom. The researchers contended that teachers who have formal qualifications may still lack critical literacy knowledge. They argued that though specific knowledge may theoretically be required for certification those competencies may not be adequately (or proportionately) reflected in state certification exams and standards. Moats and Foorman (2003) questioned the level of literacy expertise needed by classroom reading teachers as opposed to reading specialists This is a relevant qualifies teachers to work as reading specialists or coaches, thus precipitating their departure from the classroom. At the same time, as Allingt on (2009) described, under current legislation, many schools in general, and Title I schools in particular, are hiring fewer reading specialists to work directly with students, as new models call for classroom teachers to perform student reading remediatio n. Allington argued that classroom teachers may be less prepared than reading specialists to engage in remediation work with students.
43 Much has been written on the effects of advanced degrees on teacher quality, though different outcomes have been reported Croninge r, Rice, Rathbun, & Nishio (2007 ) reported mixed effects in a review of a number of studies on advanced degrees and student outcomes. Klecker (2010) reported on a study of fourth grade reading in Kentucky in which NAEP scores of students in the c lassrooms of degrees were higher than those under the tutelage of teachers with bachelor degrees. Chingos and Peterson (2011) reported no improvement in student reading assessment outcomes related to advanced degrees held by teachers However, they warned that before they attained their advanced training. They also described a lack of research regarding the effect of specific subject areas of master degrees. One such study, by Croninger, et al. (2007) explored the effects of teacher degree type on first grade d to greater gains in reading than other graduate level degrees, or no graduate degree at all. However, the authors do not discuss graduate degrees in literacy or reading education. School wide reading gains were discovered in schools employing teachers wh o had participated in graduate level courses specifically in reading. The authors theorized that this may have occurred because an enhanced composite knowledge among a teacher team may lead to better planning and program implementation, and that teachers w ith graduate work in reading may be better able to support struggling colleagues.
44 Clotfelter et al. (2007) studied the competitive level of colleges attended by teachers, but did not find a relationship between this variable and student reading outcomes. Though there has been no research on the specific effects of graduate degrees in reading on student outcomes, Grisham (2008) studied teacher response to participation in a graduate level reading program. Participating teachers reported increased professi onal knowledge and understanding of the literacy processes. One participant 35). Another compared his graduate program with his undergraduate experience. He said: With the pre theory knew what I needed so I really learned a lot in comparison (p. 37). The authors reported that program completers believed that their pedagogy was thus, that they had become better at servi Researchers have described the importance of professional development in reading for elementary teachers. Indeed, the importance of professional development in literacy was demonstrated by the prominent role it played in the Reading First legislation. However, professional development pro grams are diverse. In Florida, the reading endorsement coursework is often completed as professional development (Just Read, Florida, n.d.). Additionally, many Florida teachers received profe ssional development in reading under the Reading First grant. (Reading First in Florida, n.d.)
45 Duffy (2004) described two models of professional development. The first model is training based. In this form of professional development, teachers are taught s pecific practices to implement in their classrooms. The expectation of such training is often teacher compliance. The other model described as educativ e focuses on teacher decision making based on situation and knowledge. This form of professional develo pment would se em to lead to what Duffy effective teachers, which he compares to the ways in which doctors and pilots respond point of various practices, use judgment to select from them when adjustments become necessary, and adaptively apply them rather than faithfully following certain tenets and procedures regardless of p. 11). The comprehensive content and pra cticum experiences included in the attainment of reading certification as professional development would allow teachers the opportu nity to be trained in instructional methodology as well as to have the educative oppo rtunities to implement what they learn Literacy Content Knowledge of Elementary Education Teachers Researchers have observed relationships between teacher content knowledge and student outcomes. In a study of pre and post results of a teacher training intervention, McCutchen, Green, Abbott, an d Sanders (2009) found a relationship between the linguistic knowledge of teachers and student performance. The relationship was more pronounced amon g low performing students. Moats and Foorman (2003) found a relationship between teacher knowledge of langu age structure and student reading achievement. In another study, Lane et al fluency was a significant predictor of reading progress in specific reading components
46 among first and second grade students. Piasta et al. (20 09) described a relationship between levels of teacher knowl edge and use of decoding strategies and student success in reading. They found that first grade teachers with low levels of literacy instruction knowledge tended to teach decoding incorrectly or incompletely. There are several domains of content knowledge that have been identified as critical for teachers of reading. The National Reading Panel ( NICHD, 2000) delineated five components of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabul ary, and fluency) which now comprise the framework of literacy instruction in this country. However, a number of researchers have suggested additional critica l teacher knowledge in literacy instruction Moats (2009a ) asserted that such content includes kn owledge of readi ng and language structure, as well as the pedagogy necessary to differentiate instruction as needed in the classroom. Moats also argued that the large and complex body of knowledge required to effectively teach reading cannot be attained th a few one shot in 1999, p. 11). Snow et al. (1998) developed a framework of competencies, which included linguistic and psycholinguistic studies, psychological, socio logical, and anthropological studies, and several aspects of the pedagogy of reading. Block et al. (2002) denoted six domains of expertise of reading teachers. These were roles and responsibilities, methods of motivation, methods of re teaching, instructio nal techniques, classroom qualities, and characteristics of lessons. Pressley, Dolezal, Roehrig, and Hilden (2002) asserted that general teaching competencies may be associated with increased reading achievement. These include
47 classroom management strategi es, cooperative learning, peer work, and introduction of Several scholars have discussed the depth and related flexible use of knowledge required to teach reading effectively. Walmsley and Allington (2007) wrote that expert understanding of student intervention needs particularly in how they model and explain strategies. Wepner (2006) discussed the need for teachers to modify the degree and pace o f support required by struggling readers. Moats and Foorman (2003) reading acquisition, and the ability to explain concepts explicitly, to choose examples wisely, an Panel ( NICHD, they are teaching, modeling their thinking processes, encouraging student inquiry, and keepin Researchers have also studied the importance of teacher knowledge in relation to the effective use of required core reading programs. Brenner and Heibert (2010) asserted that core reading programs offer an abundance of material s but little guidance on which are most helpful to struggling students. They questioned the activities teachers Wepner (2006) wrote that teachers mus t use their expertise to employ curric ular components in ways which mo suggested activities. This would suggest that teachers who lack expertise may not be able to use such materials effectively. In fact, Moats (2009b) reported t hat teachers
48 often do not implement curriculum materials correctly. Duffy et al. (2009) described student teachers and new teachers as overwhelmed with commercial core materials. Dewitz, Jones, and Leahy (2009) studied the comprehension components of fiv e widely used core reading curricula. They reported shallow coverage of too many skills, and lack of actual instruction on the use of strategies. Lack of practice, including guided practice, was also noted as a weakness of these programs. The researchers w arned that inadequate practice would affect struggling students most negatively. They also lacked the intensity and explicitness recommended in the original model research s tudies. Additionally, strategies were often not presented in a cohesive and logical manner, and discussion of the thinking processes used in the strategies was also neglected. For these reasons, teachers cannot depend on a core curriculum to provide effect ive teaching. Instead teachers must have mastery of reading instruction al methods in order to properly utilize curriculum materials. K osnik and Beck (2009) asserted that critical content knowledge in any subject area must include understanding of the most powerful ways of representing the subject, awareness of important works and teaching materials, and familiarity with common difficulties students encounter with the content. The science of reading, as every other content area, has specific pedagogy to addr ess each of these components of teaching. To become proficient in all of these areas requires a great deal of in depth study of both the pedagogy and content of the subject area. Unfortunately, researchers have found substantial gaps in the literacy knowl edge
49 seem incongruous that college graduates do not naturally have the abi lity to teach basic introductory reading skills. However, Spear Swerling & Brucker (2006) found that even adults with seemingly competent reading skills are likely to have deficits with some components of reading. Such deficits may not be evident in genera l reading, but may inhibit effective teaching of specific literacy sk ills. Several studies (Cheesman et al. 2009; Cunningham, Perry, Stanovich, & Stanovich, 2004; Moats, 2009b; Piasta et al., 2009) described inadequate teacher competency in the areas of ph onemic awareness and phonics. Also, Moats and Foorman (2003) described deficits in teacher knowledge of language structure. Lyon and Weiser (2009) reported that many teachers have weak instructional skills in comprehension strategies and vocabulary develop ment, and lack a foundational understanding of how to teach reading specifically to early and struggling r eaders. Cunningham et al. also reported a lack of calibration between the level of literacy knowledge that teachers reported, and that which they actu ally had. Literacy in Teacher Preparation Programs In her seminal work, Moats (1999) described a chasm between the literacy instruction recommended by research and what actually occurs in classrooms. She blamed this, in part, on literacy education in teach er preparation programs. Roller (2010) reporte d that there was a range in quality in reading instruction incorporated within teacher education. Programs differed greatly in both literacy coursework requirements and related practicum experiences offered to students. The IRA (2008/2009) found that there was variation in the number of hours of reading instruction required by teacher education programs. Literacy education requirements ranged from
50 3 to 24 course hours, with an average of 2.2 courses taken by pre service elementary school teachers In a three year longitudinal study, Hoffman, Roller, Maloch, Sailors, Duffy, and Beretvas (2005) found that preparation in a high quality program had a positive influence on the adoption of effective teaching practices d uring the first three years of teaching. They found that teachers from eight programs deemed excellent by an expert panel for an International Reading Association study were more effective than other high quality literacy accepted standards within the pr p. 271). Lacina and Block (2011) described common characteristics of reading curricula f Reading Association. The common characteristic most valued by experts in the study program p These field experiences were found to include repeated modeling of practices prior to their implementation by teacher candidates. Feedback from college faculty supervisors was also found to be important in these programs. The opportunity for teacher candidates to participate in the authentic use of varied strategies and assessment was also found to be a highly valued component of these programs. The distinctive programs were also fo und to include literacy and spir highly qualified university faculty was also deemed to be a valued common component of these distinguished programs.
51 In an analysis of research on read ing teacher education, Risko et al. (200 8) found that the provision of explicit instruction, defined as teaching which includes explanations, examples, modeling, fo cused feedback, and practice, was beneficial to pre service candidates in teacher preparatio n programs. Literacy instruction in teacher education programs has been criticized in numerous st udies (Joshi, Binks, Hougen, et al 2009; Lyon & Weiser, 2009; Risko, 2009; Walsh et al., 2006; Wold, Far man, Grisham, & Lenski, 2008 ). In a national study of 72 schools of education, Walsh et al. found that only 15 percent of elementary education programs were minimally addressing the science of reading as delineated by the National Reading Panel. T l ow expectations, with little evidence of college research papers and other rigorous assignments in these programs as well as limited practical application of the skills and strategies presented in the classes Lyo n and Weiser (2009) also questioned the rigor of coursework in teacher education programs. Risko (2009) argued that undergraduate teacher education programs tend to have too few reading courses, and offer only limited opportunities for the level of engagem ent required to master the strategies used to teach reading. She also described the importance of multiple exposures to content and application of information within teacher education. Moats (2009b) asserted that it may not be possible for teacher candidat es to master all of the knowledge required to teach reading within the small number of hours sometimes assigned to reading within teacher education programs. Snow, et al. (1998) asserted that the limited amount of instruction of reading within teacher edu cation programs is a natural consequence of the large quantity of content
52 covered and asserted, therefore, that continued professional development in the instruction of reading is necessary after completion of the undergraduate de gree. In a study of a rede sign of an elementary education program, Haid (2005) described a professor who (p. 122), including literacy content. The revised program included more time for instruction of liter acy competencies such as strategies, assessment, and differentiation. The practicum experiences were also greatly increased. Snow et al. (1998) also hobbled by a course by also called for greater accountability in teacher education programs. In a national study of 2,237 pre service teachers, Sallinger, Mueller, Song, Jin, Zmach, Toplitz, Partridge, and Bickford (2 010) found that most believed they had adequately mastered the five components of reading during their undergraduate training. However, only one quarter of respondents reported a strong focus on the components within their education programs. They reported uneven programmatic focus on the components. When these respondents were given an assessment of their knowledge of the five components of reading, they scored an average of 57%. The lowest scores were on the alphabetic section of the test. College faculty have been described as part of this problem. Joshi, Binks, Hougen et al. (2009) described deficiencies in the content knowledge of the professors who teach reading in schools of education. This study specifically showed faculty weaknesses in the areas of morphemes and phonemes.
53 described the importance of faculty ability to flexibly utilize reading strategies during literacy education classes, as well as their effective use of modeling and guided practice during instruction of future reading teachers. Lacina and Block (2011) described the importance of highly qualified faculty in teacher education reading courses. They described such faculty as those who develop innovative le ssons, provide students with necessary feedback, and model effective literacy instruction for their students. Haid (2005) and Wold et al. (2008) described the importance of developing the critical thinking abilities of pre service reading teachers as they prepare to teach reading. Professors, therefore, must also be proficient in teaching critical thinking. Researchers ( Haid, 2005; Hoffman et al ., 2005; Wold et al., 2008; Duffy et al., 2009; IRA, 2008/2009; M orris, 2011; Wepner, 2006) stress the importance of practicum experience in literacy education. Risko et al. (2008) wrote that changes in prospective teacher beliefs and knowledge w ere found to occur during actual work with students in practica settings, and while collecting pupil data. Roller (2010) wro te that reading practica vary greatly in length and intensity, and can consist of free standing or course related experiences. Practica may also range in number of students with whom teacher candidates work, as well as the age and grade levels of students Many benefits of reading focused practica have been discussed in the literature. Wold et al. (2008) discussed the importance of repeated practice and refinement of literacy teaching which occurs during the practicum experience. The IRA (2008/2009) descri bed the significance of field experiences in learning to teach high needs students. They also discussed the importance of teacher modeling during practicum experiences.
54 Haid (2005) described greater competency in instructional planning among candidates wit h more field experience. Such planning is critical to good instruction and differ entiation. Hoffman et al. (2005) asserted that extensive, supervised field experiences can help students to feel comfortable with the instructional methods they have learned in their education programs, thus rendering them less likely to blindly follow a prescribed curriculum. Moats (1998) argued that practicum experiences allow students to experience instructional strategies in the classroom as well to observe experienced teach ers modeling the use of such strategies. Risko (2009) discussed the importance of congruence between the university and classroom environments, which can largely be accomplished through practicum experiences. The N ational C ouncil for A ccreditation of T eac her E ducation (2010) called for quality practicum experiences fo r education programs and specifically discussed the (p. iii) of faculty members who supervise stu dents in pr acticum experi ences. P re service teachers should be placed in the classrooms of teachers who are themselves effective. Participation in a reading specific practicum is one of the requirements of the Florida Reading Endorsement as well as the state K 12 Rea ding Certification, an observation that is critical to this study (Florida Department of Education, 2002B, Just Read Florida, n.d.) Literacy textbooks used in teacher preparation programs have also been studied. Research ers (Joshi, Binks, Graham, Ocker De an, Smith, & B oulware Goode n, 2009; Walsh et al 2006) have described the inadequacies of textbooks used to train teacher candidates in university programs. These studies found inadequate coverage of the
55 science of reading outlined by the National Reading Panel. Actual inaccuracies were also found in widely used literacy education textbooks. Lyon & Weiser (2009) wrote, P rospective teachers will continue to receive inadequate information about reading development, reading difficulties, and reading instructi on as long as higher education courses and textbooks reflect superstition, anecdotes, and beliefs about reading development rather than research based evidence from reading science (p. 478). The National Reading Panel ( NICHD, 2000) called for more research on teacher education in reading, including optimal pre service and in service training, effects of pre service experiences, and the assessment of the effectiveness of teacher training. Duffy et al. (2009) described a lack of research targeted at the effec tiveness of teacher preparation programs in general. They also described a need for more research on the extent to which program completers actually implement literacy instruction learned in teacher education programs since fidelity requirements in schools frequently limit Florida Reading Certification In an effort to increase the instructional skills of teachers in the area of reading the state of Florida introduced an add on Reading endorsement certification in 2002. The e ndo rsement requires training in six specific co mponents; Foundations of language and cognition, foundations of research based practices, foundations of assessment, foundations of differentiation, applications of differentiation, and demonstration of accom plishment. (Just Read, Florida, n.d.). R esearch on the reading e ndorsement has been conducted at the secondary level Greenwell and Zygouris Coe (2012) reported on high school teacher responses to the training received during Florida Reading Endorsement tr aining. This qualitative study rep orted that the teachers felt that a greater focus on comprehension and
56 vocabulary strategies would be more valuable to high school students They also felt th at more time was needed to process the information presented an d to engage in more peer collaboration. The participants also reported that the length and intensity of the reading endorsement deterred other teachers from seeking the certification. They also wou ld have valued the opportunity to see more demonstrations of the strategie s taught. Greenwell and Zygouris Coe also called for more discussion between the policy makers who design state certifications and the teachers who seek to attain them, a s well as the professional developers who teach the training. Summary A s NAEP scores in reading languish, states continue to seek ways to improve always effective, research is needed to find ways to improve literacy instruction. Teaching to provide effective, differentiated instruction to a variety of learners. This review illuminated a lack of research on the effects of elementary teacher certifications in the ar ea of reading, and demonstrated the need for comprehensive training in the area of literacy for elementary teachers. An analysis of the outcomes of the students of teachers with differing reading certifications may help to determine the benefits received f rom the additional training received by these instructors.
57 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN This study was designed to investigate whether the additional training required for specific state reading certifications predicted higher scores in reading among elemen tary school students. In this study, t he researcher analyzed the effects of teacher certification in reading (K 12 reading certification or reading endorsement) on elementary student reading outcomes. Reading endorsement data was also analyzed separately t o determine th is level of certification impa cted reading achievement scores Reading outcomes of student demographic populations, as well as student performance on specific skills tested within the state assessment instrument were also examined in an a ttempt to determine whether reading certifications were more significant for different student subgroups, or in teaching the specific compe tencies measured in the sub scores This chapter describes the research questions and hypotheses, the study design, a nd the process of data analysis using the Hierarchical Linear Model Design Research Questions and Hypotheses The study contained two research questions, both of which analyzed the effectiveness of teacher reading certifications on student reading outcomes Do teacher certifications in reading predict the reading scores and sub scores of third, fourth, and fifth grade elementary students The null hypothesis for this question was that there would be no significant difference in reading scores and sub scores between elementary students of teachers who hold certification in the area of reading and those of teacher who d o not hold such certi fications. H 2. Does teacher reading endorsement certification predict the reading scores and sub scores of third, fourth, and fifth grade elementary students? The null hypothesis for this question was that there would be no significant difference in reading scores and sub scores between students of reading endorsed teachers and those of teachers without r eading certification. H
58 S tudy Design After approval from the university Institutional Review Board was received a data set comprised of de identified student assessment and teacher certification data was attained from a medium sized school district in Florida. Student Data The student data used in the study was comprised of d e identified reading scores from the Florida Comprehensive As sessment Test (FCAT) the state mandated standardized reading assessment that is administered each year. S tudent scale scores indicators of student outcomes were the dependent variable. Scale scores on the assessment range from 100 500. Reading subtest scores were also attained and analyzed. The FCAT reading test contains four subtests. The first, Words and Phrases in Context assesses student use of strategies to increase vocabulary such as the use of context clues, and word structure and relationship s. The Main Idea, Plot, and Purpose subtest assesses student ability to determine main idea, identify important details, sequence events, identify purpose, and understand plot and conflict within text. The Comparisons and Cause and Effect subtest assesses student recognition of these text structures, and the Reference and Research subtest assesses student interpretation and use of written and otherwise represented information for research and academic purposes (Florida Department of Education, 2007). Passag es used within the texts are also designated as informational or literary Thus, students are also scored on their success with each kind of text. This study analyzed the scores of the four subtests as well as student scores on the two types of text.
59 The Florida Department of Education reports that the FCAT Department of Education, 2007, p. 37). The state has reported reliability in terms of phas o f 0 .89 0.85, and 0 .87 for grades three four, and five respectively in 2006. Concurrent validity has been reported in terms of a correlation between the criterion referenced portion of the test and the norm referenced portion. The correlations were report ed as 0 .84 0.83, and 0.83 in grades three, four, and five respectively in 2006 (Florida Department of Education, 2007 ). The test is based on the Florida state standards. Data for a number of student subgroups are reported in annual FCAT outcome reports, and were analyzed in this study. These subgroups include gender, race/ethnicity, English language l earner status Exceptional Student Education services due to disability, and free/reduced l unch status (Florida Department of Education, n.d ). Teacher Data De identified teacher data that indicated state certifications was used to determine teacher reading certification status. The dataset indicated that there were 323 third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers of which thirteen held one of the two reading spe cific certifications. Nine of the teachers held the reading endorsement, and four held K 12 reading certification. The small number of certified teachers necessitated a change in the planned study design. Instead of using district wide dat a, the researcher matched the thirteen reading certified classes with non certified classes of similar size at the sam e grade level, and analyzed the outcomes of only those classes. Due to the large number of non reading certified teachers, efforts were made to match readi ng certified classes to non in a way that would
60 minimize confounding variables. The criteria used to choose the match classes were in rank order, grade l evel, class size, teacher hire date, same school, school with closest percentage of students who receive free and reduced lunch, and number of students in the class who received free and reduced lunch. The sc ores of the students from all thirteen reading certified teachers were analyzed with the matching classe s of the non certified teachers. The scores from the nine classes taught by reading endorsed teachers were also analyzed with their matched classes in an additional, separate analysis. T he four K 12 certified class rooms scores were not analyzed apart from the original read ing certified analysis of the thirteen pairs due to the small number of teachers of that designation Data Analysis with the Hierarchical Linear Model Design A hierarc hical linear model (HLM) ( Raudenbush and Bryk 2002) was used to analyze the data becaus e the individual student data can be nested within the classes of teachers with varying certification levels. Hierarchical Linear Models are used to analyze groups of participants in clusters, such as classes, thus allowing resea rchers to better adjust for type 1 error than the use of more traditional, non nested models. McCoach and Adelson (2010) pointed out that more traditional models of analysis underestimate standard error since they assume independence of variables. HLM mod els enable researchers to better allow for the true non independence of nested individual variables; individuals are not truly independent because they are nested in the same group (i.e., members of the same class), and will therefore, have some similar ch G enerally speaking, observations that are clustered tend McCoach & Adelson 2010, p. 152). Therefore, treating them as though they were independent is likely to skew the
61 calculation of error. HLM models also account for the hierarchical structure of data. T occurring at each level and across levels and also assess the amount of variation at Bryk & R audenbush 20 02, p. 5). P redictors from both the individual and contextual levels, as well combinations of the two, can be studied in relation to dependent variables (McCoach, 2010) In this study, level one of the model included individual student variabl es. Planned l evel 1 predictors were gender (X1ij), disability (X2 ij ), English Language Learner (X3ij), Free/Reduced lunch (X4ij), and Race (X5ij). However, due to the small number of English Language Learners and students of some of ethnic/racial groups i n the dataset, these predictors were not analyzed. Level two indicated the reading certification of the teachers of the classes. Two level 2 predictors were used in the model for each of the research questions. For research question 1, the level 2 predict ors were no reading certification (W 0) and reading certification (W 1). For research question 2, the level 2 predictors were no reading endorsement (W 0) and reading endorsement (W 1). In this equation, there are i = 1..., n j units nested with j = 1..., j level 2 units. Student i is nested in teacher j; level 1 students nested within level 2 teacher. Y ij = B oj + B 1j X 1ij + B 2j X 2ij + B 3j X 3ij + B 4j X 4ij + B 5j X 5ij + r ij B oj = w j + U oj r ij ~ u oj ~ N (o,
62 Y ij will represent the score or sub score analyzed in each regression. The HLM design allows the researcher to control for the included level 1 variables during the analysis. SAS PROC GLIMMIX, a program spec ifically designed to be used in multi level analyses such as HLM was used to run the statistical tests Singer (1998) described level 1 outcome as a function of both level 1 and level which was the goal of this study. HLMs were run using the mean scale scores as well as scores for each of the subtests and text types. P scores <.05 were considered statistically significant.
63 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Researc h Question 1 Analysis of Students of Reading Certified Teachers (Reading Endorsed and K 12 Reading Certification) Demographics The final sample included 411 student s who were 51.82% male 48.18% female 52.07% White, 32.12% Black, 8.27% mixed race, 5.6% Hispanic, 1.7% Asian, and 0.24% Native American. There were 29.2% third grade students, 32.12% fourth grade students, and 38.69% fifth grade students 13.38% of the students were identified as having a disability while 86.62% were non disabled. Also, 55.4 7% of the students were identified as eligible for free or reduced lunch (FRL), while 44.53 were not 0.73% of the sample participated in English Language Learner (ELL) programs 99.27 % of the sample did not participate in these programs 50.36% of the sam ple was enrolled in the reading certified classes while 49.64% were enrolled in the non reading certified classes. The only demographic variable found to be distributed significantly differently between the reading certified and non certified classes was disability. In the reading certified classes, 18.84% (n=39) of students had identified d isabilities. In the classes taught by non reading certified teachers, 7.84% (n=16) had identified disabilities (chi square p value = 0.00). Results of Research Question 1 Composite s cale score analysis Multi level HLM analyses were conducted in which st udent level variables (gender, race/ethnicity, disability, grade level, ELL, FRL) were controlled. Composite mean scale scores of student level variables and teacher readi ng certification are displayed in Table
64 4 1. Due to the small sample sizes of ELL students and racial/ethnic groups, these variables were not analyzed. Table 4 1. Composite mean s cores by s tudent v ariables Mean Score Standard Deviation Male 318.68 61.48 Female 328.31 63.31 3 rd Grade 344.35 65.15 4 th Grade 320.84 59.24 5 th Grade 309.50 59.08 Disability 280.36 69.77 Non disability 329.96 58.64 Free/Reduced Lunch 305.08 58.71 Non Free/Re duced Lunch 346.04 59.66 Reading Certified 324.27 62.29 Non Reading Certified 322.35 62.82 HLM tests of fixed effects were conducted to determine which variables were significant to the scale scores. Disability, sex, and free/re duced lunch status were f ound to be significant to these scores. The mean scale score for students with disabilities was 280.36, and for students without disabilities, 329.96. The mean scale score for students eligible for free or reduced lunch was 305.08. Ineligible students had a mean score of 346.04. Females scored higher than males, earning scale scores of 328.31 and 318.68, respectively. The analysis of scale scores of the reading certified and non reading certified classes yielded a non significant v alue for the effect of teacher reading certification (p = 0.24). Therefore, the null hypothesis for Research Question 1 cannot be rejected. Table 4 2 illustrates the tests of fixed effects for the composite scale scores. Sub test and t ext type a nalysi s Comp arison/Cause Effect Subtest. Disability, free and reduced lunch status, and grade level were significant to the Comparison and Cause and Effect Subtest
65 scores. T he mean score was 6.46 for students with disabilities, and 8.57 for students with no disability The mean score for stud ents who were eligible for free or reduced lunch was 7.46 on this subtest. The mean score for students who wer e ineligible was 8.89. The mean scores for third, fourth, and fifth grades were 5.27, 8.15, and 10.19, respectively. Rea ding certification was not significant to this subtest. T he effects of student and teacher variables on the Comparison and Cause and Effect Subtest are illustrated in Table 4 3. Table 4 2. Tests of fixed effects composite scale scores Effect Num DF Den D F F Value Pr > F Sex 1 385.2 4.12 0.0431 Grade Level 2 19.44 1.86 0.1829 DIS 1 389.3 18.89 <.0001 FRL 1 398.2 23.63 <.0001 Reading Certification 1 31.34 1.45 0.2374 Sex*Reading Certification 1 385.2 0.14 0.7122 Grade Level*Reading Certification 2 19 .44 1.09 0.3561 DIS*Reading Certification 1 389.3 8.69 0.0034 FRL*Reading Certification 1 398.2 2.07 0.1512 Table 4 3. Tests of fixed effects comparison/c ause and effect subtest Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 386.2 2.41 0.1215 Grade Leve l 2 16.65 38.82 <.0001 DIS 1 392.2 10.35 0.0014 FRL 1 398.1 17.47 <.0001 Reading Certification 1 32.64 1.63 0.2109 Sex*Reading Certification 1 386.2 0.22 0.6412 Grade Level*Reading Certification 2 16.65 1.65 0.2212 DIS*Reading Certification 1 392.2 7 .29 0.0072 FRL*Reading Certification 1 398.1 0.75 0.3864 Main Idea/Plot/Purpose Subtest. Several variables were sign ificant to student scores on this subtest Sex was significant, with females scoring 18.38, and males, 17.14. Grade level was significant with third, fourth, and fifth grade students scoring 19.19, 19.07, and 15.53, respectively. Disability was also significant in that non disabled
66 students scored 18.30 and disabled students mean scor e was 14.07. Finally, free/ reduced lunch status was foun d to be significant. The mean score fo r students who received free or reduced lunch was 16.61. For students who did not receive free or reduced lunch, the mean was 19.15. Reading certification was not significant. Table 4 4 illustrates the effects of vari ables on the Main Idea/Plot/Purpose Subtest Table 4 4. Tests of fixed effects main idea/plot/purpose subtest Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 387 8.03 0.0048 Grade Level 2 19.45 6.95 0.0053 DIS 1 391.8 16.16 <.0001 FRL 1 399 15.74 <.0001 Reading Certification 1 35.3 2.72 0.1083 Sex*Reading Certification 1 387 0.00 0.9559 Grade Level*Reading Certification 2 19.45 1.49 0.2499 DIS*Reading Certification 1 391.8 10.50 0.0013 FRL*Reading Certification 1 399 2.86 0.0914 Words and Phrases Su btest Grade level was significant to this subtest with third, fourth, and fifth g rade students earning mean scores of 5.20, 5.04, and 3.31, respectively. Disability was also significant to this subtest. The mean for students with disabilities was 3.38. St udents with no disability had a mean score of 4.58. Free/ reduced lunch status was also significant. Students who received free or reduced lunch had a mean score of 4.09. Those who did not qualify for free and reduced lunch had a mean score of 4.83. R eading certification was not significant to this subtest. The effects of student and teacher variables on the Words and Phrase Subtest are illustrated i n Table 4 5. Reference/Research Subtest. Grade level, disability, and free/ reduced lunch status were significa nt to the Reference and Research S ubte st The grade level mean scores were 4.73, 2.12, and 1.81 for grades three, four, and five, respectively. In
67 students with disabilities, the mean score was 2.04. For students with no disability, the mean score on this subtest was 2 .87. Students who received free or reduced lunch had a mean score of 2.29 ; students who did not qualify had a mean score of 3.34. Reading certification was not significant to this subtest. The effects are illustrated in Table 4 6. Table 4 5. T est of fixed effects words and phrases Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr>F Sex 1 391.3 0.08 0.7717 Grade Level 2 16.36 36.34 <.0001 DIS 1 397.7 14.34 0.0002 FRL 1 380.1 24.67 <.0001 Reading Certification 1 43.22 1.02 0.3183 Sex*Reading Certification 1 391.3 0.10 0.7495 Grade Level*Reading Certification 2 16.36 0.39 0.6817 DIS*Reading Certification 1 397.7 2.80 0.0953 FRL*Reading Certification 1 380.1 0.09 0.7667 Table 4 6 Tests of fixed effects r eference/ r esearch s ubtest Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 385 0.15 0.6951 Grade Level 2 19.89 35.88 <.0001 DIS 1 388.6 5.25 0.0225 FRL 1 397.4 21.63 <.0001 Reading Certification 1 30.78 0.33 0.5721 Sex*Reading Certification 1 385 0.51 0.4774 Grade Level*Reading Certification 2 19.89 0. 54 0.5915 DIS*Reading Certification 1 388.6 1.83 0.1767 FRL*Reading Certification 1 397.4 1.85 0.1746 Literary text q uestions All of the student variables except reading certification were significant to the litera ry text questions on the test. Female s had a mean score of 19.47, and males had a mean score of 18.19. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students had mean scores of 22.53, 18.33, and 16.40, respectively. The mean score for students with disabilities was 14.82, and for students with no disability was 19.42. Students eligible for free or reduced lunch had a mean score of 17.46. Students who were not eligible had a mean score of 20.48. The effects are illustrated in Table 4 7.
68 Table 4 7 Tests of fixed effects literary t ext Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 385.8 8.46 0.0038 Grade Level 2 19.29 11.02 0.0006 DIS 1 390.2 17.60 <.0001 FRL 1 398.8 20.16 <.0001 Reading Certification 1 32.58 2.02 0.1650 Sex*Reading Certification 1 385.8 0.14 0.7038 Grade Level*Reading Certification 2 19.2 9 1.62 0.2230 DIS*Reading Certification 1 390.2 12.17 0.0005 FRL*Reading Certification 1 398.8 2.91 0.0889 Informational text q uestions Grade level, disability and free and reduced lunch status were found to be significant to the informational text qu estions on the test. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students had mean scores of 11.87, 16.05, and 14.44, respectively. Students with disabilities had a mean score of 11.69, and those with no disability had a mean score of 14.60. Students who qualified for free or reduced lunch had a mean score of 12.99 on the informational questions, and those that did not qualify had a mean score of 15.73. Reading certification was not significant to the informational text questions on the test. Fixed e f fects are illustra ted on Table 4 8 Subtest and text type s ummary. Reading certification was not significant to the outcomes of any of the subtests or either of the text genres. Sex was significant in the main idea subtest as well as on the literary text questions. On the main idea subtest, the mean score was 18.38 for females and 17.14 for males. On the questions classified as literary on the test, the mean score was 19.47 for females and 18.19 for males. Disability and free/reduced lunch status were significant to all of the subtests as well as to both text types. Interaction a nalysis Interactions between teacher reading c ertifications and student level variables were also analyzed through HLMs. There was a significant difference in scores of
69 disabled students between read ing certified and non reading certified classes (p = 0.00). The mean scale score for the students with disabilities in reading certified classes was 271.15. In non certified classes, the mean scale score for students with disabilities was 302.81. However, it must be noted that there were only 39 students with disabilities in the reading certified classes, and 16 students with disabilities in non reading certified classes, thus making this a small sample. This interaction was also observed in all of the subt ests and both of the text types. Table 4 9 illustrates the results of the interaction between disability and t eacher reading certification. T able 4 8 Tests of fixed effects informational t ext E ffect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 387.3 0.71 0.4005 Grade Level 2 18.12 11.50 0.0006 DIS 1 392.9 13.33 0.0003 FRL 1 398.1 24.03 <.0001 Reading Certification 1 35.56 2.08 0.1580 Sex*Reading Certification 1 387.3 0.08 0.7748 Grade Level*Reading Certification 2 18.12 1.53 0.2434 DIS*Reading Certificati on 1 392.9 5.28 0.0221 FRL*Reading Certification 1 398.1 0.64 0.4240 Table 4 9. Mean scores of students with disability by teacher reading certification Reading Certified (SD) Non Reading Certified(SD) M ean Scale 271.15 (67.22) 302.81 (72.93) Comp/Ca use Effect 6.46 (3.89) 8.38 (3.59) Main Idea 13.08 (5.41) 16.50 (5.91) Reference/Research 2.03 (1.66) 2.06 (1.00) Words/Phrases 3.28 (1.75) 3.63 (1.93) Informational Text 10.82 (4.74) 13.81 (5.43) Literary Tex t 14.03 (5.94) 16.75 (5.69) Research Question 2 Analysis of Students of Reading Endorsed Teachers Demographics The sample for this analysis included 290 students. This student sample was 50.34% female 49.66% male 51.38% White, 33.45% Black, 6.9 0% mixed race, 6.55%
70 Hispanic, 1.38% Asian, and 0.34 Native American. The sample was comprised of 41.38% third grade students, 21.38% fourth grade students, and 37.24% fifth grade students. Students with disabiliti es made up 14.14% of the sample ; students without disabilities comprised 85.86% of the group 53.79% of the sample were eligible for free and reduced lunch, 46.21 were ineligible 1.03% of the sample was enrolled in programs for English Language Learners, and 98.97% were not. Also 51.03% of the st udents in the sample were members of a class with a reading endorsed teacher while 48.97% were in the class of a non reading endorsed teacher. The only student variable found to be significant in the demographic composition of the reading endorsed and non reading groups is disability. In the reading endorsed classes, 20.27% (n = 30) of students had an identified disability. In the non reading endorsed class, only 7.75% (n = 11) of students had a disability (chi square p value = 0.00). Results of Research Q uestion 2 Composite s cale score analysis Multi level HLM analyses were conducted in which the student level variables (gender, race, disability, ELL, FRL, grade level) were controlled. Mean composite scale scores of student and teacher level variables are displayed in Table 4 10. Due to the small sample of ELL and ethnic/racial group members, these variables were not analyzed. Disability and free/ reduced lunch status were found to be significant to the composite scale scores. Students with disabilities ha d a mean scale score of 287.07. Students with no disability had a mean scale score of 336.51. Students who qualified for free or reduced lunch had a mean scale of 309.47. Student s who were ineligible for free and reduced lunch had a mean scale score of 352 .87. The analysis of scale scores of
71 Table 4 10 Composite mean scale scores by student v ariable Mean Score Standard Deviation Male 326.19 61.42 Female 332.82 62.93 3 rd Grade 344.35 65.15 4 th Grade 321.16 63.24 5 th Grade 317.85 54.89 Disability 28 7.07 69.89 No disability 336.51 58.04 Free/Reduced Lunch 309.47 57.96 No Free/Reduced Lunch 352.87 58.84 Reading Endorsed 327.49 65.72 Non Reading Endorsed 331.64 58.39 the reading endorsed and non reading endorsed yielded a non significant value fo r the effect of reading endorsement (p = 0.07). Therefore, the null hypothesis for Research Question 2 cannot be rejected. Scale sc ore analysis is illustrated in T able 4 11. Table 4 11. Tests of fixed effects of composite scale s cores Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 268.4 3.04 0.0821 Grade Level 2 12.25 0.46 0.6414 DIS 1 267.6 7.32 0.0073 FRL 1 276.5 16.74 <.0001 Reading Endorsement 1 16.36 3.77 0.0696 Sex*Reading Endorsement 1 268.4 0.02 0.8917 Grade Level*Reading Endorsement 2 12.25 0.38 0.6887 Disability*Reading Endorsement 1 267.6 14.40 0.0002 FRL*Read Endorsement 1 276.5 0.00 0.9734 Subtest and text type analyses Comparison/Cause and Effect S ubtest. Grade level, disability, free/reduced lunch status and reading endorsement were fo und to be significant to this subtest. Grade level mean scores for third, fourth, and fifth grades were 5.27, 7.66, and 10.62, respectively. The mean score for students with disability was 6.80, and for students with no disability, 7.93. Stu dents who are eligible for free or reduced lunch had a mean score of 7.31 on this subtest. Students who were ineligible had a mean score of 8.31.
72 Students in teacher reading endorsed classes had a mean score of 7.78, and those in non reading endorsed classes had a mean score of 7.77. The effects of the variables on the Comparison/Cause and Effect subtest are illustrated in Table 4 12. Table 4 12 Tests of fixed effects c omparison/ cause and effect s ubtest Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 270.1 0.39 0.5351 Grade Level 2 11.76 42.66 <.0001 DIS 1 268.8 3.99 0.0467 FRL 1 276.5 5.97 0.0152 Read Endorsement 1 20.76 4.73 0.0414 Sex*Read Endorsement 1 270.1 0.39 0.5312 Grade Level*Read Endorsement 2 11.76 1.44 0.2754 DIS*Read Endorsement 1 268.8 10.02 0.0017 FRL*Read Endorsement 1 276.5 0.03 0.8592 Main Idea/Plot/Purpose Subtest. Sex, disability, free/ reduced lunch status and reading endorsement were found to be significant to this subtest. Females had a mean score of 18.58. Males had a mean score of 17.49 Third, fourth, and fifth graders had scores of 19.19, 19.21, and 16.07, respectively. Students with identified disabilities had a mean score of 14.80, and students with no disability had a mean score of 18 .57. Students who received free or reduced lunch had a mean score of 16.73, and those who were in e li gible had a mean score of 19.55. Students in teacher reading endorsed classes had a mean score of 17.72 on this subtest, and those in non reading endorsed classes scored 18.36. The effects of the variable s on the Main Idea/Plot/Purpose Subtest are illustrated in Table 4 13. Words and Phrases Subtest The effects of the variables on the Words and Phrases Subtest are illustrated in Ta ble 4 14. Grade level, free/ reduced lunch status and reading endorsement were foun d to be significant t o this subtest. Third, fourth, and fifth gr ade students had mean scores of 5.20, 4.98, and 3.51, respectively. St udents
73 eligible for free or reduced lunch had mean score of 4.15, while ineligible students had a mean score of 4.96. Stud ents in teacher reading endorsed classes had a mean score of 4.44 and those in non reading endorsed classes had a mean score of 4.61. Table 4 13 Tests of fixed e ffect s main idea/plot/p urpose Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 268.7 5.15 0.02 40 Grade Level 2 12.14 1.99 0.1791 DIS 1 267.9 6.51 0.0113 FRL 1 277.5 11.79 0.0007 Read Endorsement 1 17.3 4.79 0.0427 Sex*Read Endorsement 1 268.7 0.56 0.4537 Grade Level*Read Endorsement 2 12.14 0.50 0.6188 DIS*Read Endorsement 1 267.9 15.12 0.00 01 FRL*Read Endorsement 1 277.5 0.08 0.7717 Table 4 14 Tests of fixed effects words and phrases s ubtest Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 270.2 0.52 0.4722 Grade Level 2 10.44 13.35 0.0013 DIS 1 268.6 2.54 0.1120 FRL 1 271.2 16.57 <.0001 Read Endor s ement 1 21.15 5.42 0.0299 Sex*Read Endorsement 1 270.2 0.02 0.8920 Grade Level*Read Endorsement 2 10.44 0.10 0.9055 DIS*Read Endorsement 1 268.6 6.40 0.0120 FRL*Read Endorsement 1 271.2 3.70 0.0556 Reference and Research Subtest Grade l evel and Free/reduced lunch status were significant to this subtest. Third, fourth, and fifth graders had mean scores of 4.73, 2.11, and 1.92, respectively. Stud ents who were eligible for free or reduced lunch had a mean score of 2.55. Students who were in eligible had a mean score of 3.79. Reading endorsement was not significant to this subtest. The effects of the variables on the Reference and Research Subtest are i llustrated in Table 4 15.
74 Table 4 15 Test s of fixed effects reference/research s ubtest Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 268.3 0.62 0.4321 Grade Level 2 12.2 17.69 0.0002 DIS 1 267.6 3.10 0.0797 FRL 1 276.4 17.66 <.0001 Read Endorsement 1 16.2 0.59 0.4518 Sex*Read Endorsement 1 268.3 0.00 0.9726 Grade Level*Read Endorsement 2 12.2 0.15 0.8655 DIS*Read Endorsement 1 267.6 3.11 0.0792 FRL*Read Endorsement 1 276.4 0.33 0.5633 Literary text q uestions Sex, grade level, disability, and free/ reduced lunch status were found to be significant to the scores on these questions. Fema les had a mean score of 20.06 on these questions, and males had a mean score of 19.04. Third, fourth, and fifth graders had mean scores of 22.53, 18.19, and 17.04, respectively. The mean score for students with identified disabilities was 15.46. For studen ts with no disability, the mean was 20.23. The mean score for stud ents who were eligible for free or reduced lunch was 18.10, and for students who were ineligible was 21.25. Reading endorsement was not significant to the literacy questions on this test. Th e effects of the variables on these questions are illustrated in Table 4 16. Table 4 16 Tests of fixed effects literary t ext Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 268.7 5.37 0.0212 Grade Level 2 12.25 5.11 0.0243 DIS 1 267.9 7.84 0.0055 FRL 1 2 77.3 13.66 0.0003 Read Endorsement 1 17.19 4.10 0.0586 Sex*Read Endorsement 1 268.7 0.88 0.3481 Grade Level* Read Endorsement 2 12.25 0.54 0.5949 DIS*Read Endorsement 1 267.9 17.60 <.0001 FRL*Read Endorsement 1 277.3 0.10 0.7572 Informational text q uestions Grade Level, f ree/ reduced lunch status and reading endorsement were all found to be significant to these questions. Third, fourth,
75 and fifth grade students had mean scores of 11.87, 15.77, and 15.08, respectively. The mean score for student s who were eligible for free or reduced lunch was 12.64, and for those who were ineligible was 15.37. The mea n score for students in reading endorsed classes was 13.77. The mean for students in non reading endorsed classes was 14.04. The effects of the variables on the informational text questions on the test are illustrated in Ta ble 4 17. Table 4 17 Test s of fixed effects informational t ext Effect Num DF Den DF F Value Pr > F Sex 1 269.1 0.06 0.8071 Grade Level 2 11.85 7.15 0.0092 DIS 1 268 3.84 0.0512 F RL 1 278 14.13 0.0002 Read Endorsement 1 18.15 4.80 0.0417 Sex*Read Endorsement 1 269.1 0.00 0.9468 Grade Level*Read Endorsement 2 11.85 0.95 0.4127 DIS*Read Endorsement 1 268 8.13 0.0047 FRL*Read Endorsement 1 278 0.19 0.6626 Subtest and text type summary. Reading Endorsement was significant to the Comparison, Main Idea and Words a Phrases subtests as well as the informational questions. Sex was significant to the Main Idea subtest as well as to the literary questions. Grade level was significant t o both text types and all of the subtests except Main Idea. Disability was significant to the Comparison and Main Idea subtests as well as t he literary questions. Free/ reduced lunch status was significant to all of the subtests and both text types. Scale s cores for subtests in which reading endorsement was significant are illustrated in Table 4 18. Interaction a nalysis I nteractions between t eacher reading endorsement and L evel 1 student variables were also analyzed through HLMs. There was a significant diff erence in scores of disabled students between the students of reading endorsed and non reading endorsed
76 teachers (p = 0.00). The mean scale score for the students with disabilities in reading endorsed classes was 271.50. In non endorsed classes, the mean s cale score for students with disabilities was 329.55. However, it must be noted that there were only 30 students with disabilities in the reading endorsed classes, and 11 students with disabilities in non reading endorsed classes, thus making this a small sample. This interaction was also observed in both of the text types and all of the subtests except Reference and Research Table 4 19 illustrates the results of the interaction between disability and teacher reading endorsement. Table 4 18. Mean scores of significant sub scores by teacher reading endorsement status Reading Endorsed (SD) Non R eading Endorsed (SD) Comparison/Cause 7.78 (3.72) 7.77 (3.23) Main Idea 17.72 (5.06) 18.36 (4.94) Words/Phrases 4.44 (1.52) 4.61 (1.67) Informational 13.77 (4.73) 14.04 (4.75) Table 4 19 Scores of students with disability by teacher reading e ndorsement Reading Endorsed (SD) Non Reading Endorsed(SD) Mean Scale 271.50 (70.23) 329.55 (50.23) Comp/Cause Effec t 6.07 (3.89) 8.82 (3.49) Main Idea 13.33 (5.59) 18.82 (4.38) Words/Phrases 3.53 (1.74) 4.55 (1.51) Informational Text 10.93 (4.93) 15.45 (5.15) Literary Text 14.13 (6.24) 19.09 (4.23)
77 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Summary of the findings Neither reading certifica tion nor reading endorsement was found to be significant to the mean scale score of the composite reading test used in this study Though reading certification was not found to be si gnificant to any of the sub scores the reading endorsement was found to be significant to some of the subtests as well as to the informational text questions. Mean scores were significantly higher in read ing endorsed class es on the C ompa rison/Cause and E ffect subte st. Mean scores were significantly lower in reading endorsed classes on the Main I dea and Words and Phrases subtests as well as on the information al questions. Interaction effects were discovered betw een student disability and both the reading certification and reading endorsement. In both cases, the students in the classes in which t he teachers had additional literacy training scored lower than their counterparts. This interaction was also observed in both text types as well as in all of the subtests except for the Reference and Research subtest in the reading e n dorsement analysis. H owever, in both the reading certification and reading endorsement analysis, there were small samples of students with disabilities. In the reading c ertification analysis, there were 39 students with disabilities in t he reading c ertified classes and 16 stu dents with disabilities in the non reading certified classes In the analysis that was limited to the reading endorsed classes, there were 30 students with disabilities in the reading endorsed class es and 11 students with a disability in the non reading e ndorsed class es
78 The number of students with disabilities in the reading certified and e ndorsed groups was itself statistically significant. In both analyses, there was more than double the amount of students with disab ilities in the classes of the teacher s with additional training in the area of reading. This begs the question of whether school personnel place st udents with greater reading issues into classes taught by reading certif ied and endorsed teachers. As Phillips (2010) asserted, we cannot assume that students are assigned to classes randomly. If significantly more students with disabilitie s are placed in reading certified classes, it is possi ble that other students with greater literacy needs may also be placed in these c lasses since the tea chers possess additional instructional credentials Without judging the placement of struggling students in the classes of reading certified teachers (since such placement may, indeed be wa rranted) it must be noted that in regard to research, such placement co uld significantly bring down the mean student test scores of such teachers, thus skew ing the results as they relate to instructional effectiveness. Such s kewed results may improperly suggest that non reading certified teachers are more effective than their reading certified counterparts. Further questioning in this vein may have implications for the current trend in teacher evaluation which is based on student test outcomes. Implications of the Findings In a large Dutch study, Peetsma, van der Veen, Koopman & van Schooten (2006), observed that class composition a ffect ed individual student growth. They found that c lasses containing large numbers of low achieving students affect ed the progr ess of students within them This might have occurred because struggli ng students require d more individual teacher attention. Peetsm a et al. also asserted that s pecialists are often assigned to work with low achieving students. This point is relevant to the current study
79 Perhaps struggling studen t s were assigned to reading certified teachers because those teachers were seen as more qualified to help the students. Additionally, if these classes do have more strugglin g students, the effect described by Peets m a et a l. may have been plausible for students in the reading certifie d classes. The findings also beg the question of whether the state test actually assesses the competencies included in the reading endorsement. Greenwell and Zygouris Coe (2012) reported that reading endorsed high school teachers reported a need for more comprehension and vocabulary instruction training within the required endorsement coursework. Though that study focused on high school students, it may apply to the current study. C omprehension and vocabulary are also large components of the elementary le vel assessments analyzed in this study. Additionally, t he reading endorsement is still a fairly new certification As Bean et al. (2010 ) wrote about Reading First another recent reading initiative, new programs often taken time to show results. The readi ng endorsement may show greater gains when it has been honed and practiced. Theref ore, it is possible that though a reading endorsement may be effective profession al development, it may require some adjustment from its current form if it is to optimally pr epare teachers for the skills that are tested. The state has revisited the reading endorsement competencies, passing new regulations in late 2011. The new competencies will be implemented in late 2012 (Florida Department of Education, n.d.) The new compet encies may render different results. Implications for Research and Policy In this study the researcher attempt ed to analyze the effects of teacher certification in reading among elementary students While in that process, t his study
80 illuminate d difficulti es encountered when attempting to study teacher certification effect s on student learning. The small number of reading endorsed teachers in this study suggests that larger sam ple sizes (multi district or statewide) could be used to increase the number of r eading certified teachers included in the research This would be especially critical in regard to the study of individual subgroups, many of which had student samp les too small to analyze in the current s tudy. Replications of similar studies in different states could be valuable since teacher certification re quirements vary by state. Such studies could lead to comparison of teachers, and their certification levels thro ugh the years would also help to untangle the be used to attempt to more precisely identify student gains achieved with each teacher. Value added ratings are calculated b predict future achievement (Duffrin, 2011), thereby determining if the student achieves at a rate higher or lower with their actual teacher. Duffrin warned, h owever, that even value added s cores do not all ow for characteristics or experiences in the class that are unrelate d to teacher performance. Studies of school wide ef fects might indicate an additional value of reading certifications. Croninger et al. (2007) described a school wide effect of teachers wi th graduate degrees, though these teachers did not show class wide effects of their advanced training. Such an effect might also be found in the schools that employ teachers with reading certifications.
81 S ince the study focused on so few teachers, it is po ssible that they were not truly a representative sample T he re were only nine reading endorsed and four K 12 reading certified teachers. Therefore, it is possible that the randomly picked match teachers happened to be exceptional teachers. A larger sample size would decrease that possibility In a review of studies on teacher effectiveness, Sawchuk (2011) found that It is possible that the match teachers were h ighly effective. Implications for Higher Education Colleges of education offer ing degrees in Elementary Education must be on the cutting edge of state certifica tion requirements. Colleges of e ducation find themselves in the unique position of following sta te policies and mandates, while concurrently shaping them through research. At the same time, elementary education programs must prepare teachers who can strongly affect student lea rning. Continued analysis of state certifications as well as research on wh at works in the classroom will help colleges of e ducation to create programs and reading courses that maximize the limited time that pre service teachers have to become effective reading teachers before entering the classroom. Additionally, the current cli mate of accountabi lity is creating continued college of e ducation that trained that teacher. These new funding and accountability measure s are adding pressure to teacher educati on programs to produce teachers who yield the desired student outcome results. The small number of reading endorsed and reading certified teachers also has impl ications for higher education. Greenwell and Zygouris Coe (2012) wrote tha t reading endorsed teachers describe d the comprehensive nature of the required training
82 as a deterrent to teacher attainment of the certification. Colleges of education may seek to streamline the competencies into infused undergraduate programs, or stand alone graduate courses that may cover the requirements in a way that is not as overwhelming for teachers, thus encouraging more teachers to attain the qualification. Limitations An unforeseen outcome of this study was the small number of teachers in the district who have a chieved reading cer tification (nine reading endorsed t eachers and four K 12 reading certified teachers). The reading endorsement has be en available since 2002, and this study utilized data from the 2009 2010 school year. The small sample of reading certified teachers led to samples of subgroups that were too small to analyze. Additionally, due to the vastly unequal sample sizes, the research er had to match classes. A lso, a l though the teachers had been identified as reading certified or endorsed at the time that the data was c ollected, the researcher was unable to ascertain the exact dates of the certifications. Therefore, it is possible that some of the teachers may have been in the process of earning these certifications at the time they taught the students in this study. How ever, with the belief that completion of even part of the training for the certification could have an effect on student learning, the researcher decide d to continue with the analysis with the understanding that this would be a limitation of the study. An additional factor which may have confounded the study results was that many teachers in this state received intensive read ing instructional training under state reading grants (i.e. Reading First) in recent years. Ther e is no way to ascertain which teache rs in the study received such training. Much of that training was aligned with
83 reading endorsement competencies. This training, therefore, may have boosted the reading instruction al skills of the non certified teachers in the study. However, al though Readi ng First may have increased skills of the teachers in the present study, the grant no longer exists, and therefore, cannot be counted on to increase the skills of future teachers. Conclusion This study sought to investigate the effect of elementary teacher reading certification, and the requisite additional training, on elementary student reading outcomes. Few significant findings re sulted. However, findings on some of the sub scores indicated significantly lower outcomes among the students of those teacher s who had attained advanced certification and training. Since this is counterintuitive, this finding demanded further investigation into how such findings could be possible. One important findi ng of this further analysis was the large number of students wi th disabilities placed into the classes of reading certified teachers. This significant finding would seem to indicate administrative confidence in these teachers. It also begged the question of whether other students with greater needs in reading are plac ed in these classes. This finding is especially important in the consideration of recent teacher assessment policies that attach teacher retention and salary to student learning outcomes. It also raise s questions on the growing use of K 12 student outcome s to assess the colleges of education from which teachers graduate If struggling students are assigned to teachers with advanced training in reading that fact should be considered when evaluating these teachers and the colleges of education that trained t hem. This study also indicated that classroom composition must not be ignored when studying teacher certifications and other educational policy issues.
84 Additionally, this study illustrated the complexities which are inherent in the assessment of teachers. Despi te the use of HLM to control confounding variables, and efforts to match classes closely, the results of this study clearly indicate that it is indeed difficult to capture exactly what contributes to the elusive quality known as teacher eff ectiveness, and whether such attributes can be measured through t he use of standardized testing.
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96 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Amy Eitzen has attained a Doctorate in Education in Higher Education Administration from the University of Florida. Prior to that, she completed a M aster of Education in Reading E ducation at Stetson University and a Bachelor of S cienc e in Elementary Education at Wesley College.