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APA Journal of Educational Psychology

Reducing achievement gaps in academic writing for Latinos and English learners in Grades 7–12.Open in a New Window

This study reports 2 years of findings from a randomized controlled trial designed to replicate and demonstrate the efficacy of an existing, successful professional development program, the Pathway Project, that uses a cognitive strategies approach to text-based analytical writing. Building on an earlier randomized field trial in a large, urban, low socioeconomic status (SES) district in which 98% of the students were Latino and 88% were mainstreamed English learners (ELs) at the intermediate level of fluency, the project aimed to help secondary school students, specifically Latinos and mainstreamed ELs, in another large, urban, low-SES district to develop the academic writing skills called for in the rigorous Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The Pathway Project draws on well-documented instructional frameworks that support approaches that incorporate strategy instruction to enhance students’ academic literacy. Ninety-five teachers in 16 secondary schools were stratified by school and grade and then randomly assigned to the Pathway or control group. Pathway teachers participated in 46 hr of training to help students write analytical essays. Difference-in-differences and regression analyses revealed significant effects on student writing outcomes in both years of the intervention (Year 1, d = 0.48; Year 2, d = 0.60). Additionally, Pathway students had higher odds than control students of passing the California High School Exit Exam in both years. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Improving content knowledge and comprehension for English language learners: Findings from a randomized control trial.Open in a New Window

Supporting the reading comprehension and content knowledge acquisition of English language learners (ELs) requires instructional practices that continue beyond developing the foundational skills of reading. In particular, the challenges ELs face highlight the importance of teaching reading comprehension practices in the middle grades through content acquisition. We conducted a randomized control trial to examine the efficacy of a content acquisition and reading comprehension intervention implemented in eighth-grade social studies classrooms with English language learners. Using a within-teacher design, in which 18 eighth-grade teachers’ social studies classes were randomly assigned to treatment or comparison conditions. Teachers taught the same instructional content to treatment and comparison classes, but the treatment classes used instructional practices that included comprehension canopy, essential words, knowledge acquisition, and team-based learning. Students in the treatment group (n = 845) outperformed students in the comparison group (n = 784) on measures of content knowledge acquisition and content reading comprehension but not general reading comprehension. Both ELs and non-ELs who received the treatment outperformed those assigned to the BAU comparison condition on measures of content knowledge acquisition (ES = 0.40) and content-related reading comprehension (ES = 0.20). In addition, the proportion of English language learners in classes moderated outcomes for content knowledge acquisition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Expanding the developmental models of writing: A direct and indirect effects model of developmental writing (DIEW).Open in a New Window

We investigated direct and indirect effects of component skills on writing (DIEW) using data from 193 children in Grade 1. In this model, working memory was hypothesized to be a foundational cognitive ability for language and cognitive skills as well as transcription skills, which, in turn, contribute to writing. Foundational oral language skills (vocabulary and grammatical knowledge) and higher-order cognitive skills (inference and theory of mind) were hypothesized to be component skills of text generation (i.e., discourse-level oral language). Results from structural equation modeling largely supported a complete mediation model among 4 variations of the DIEW model. Discourse-level oral language, spelling, and handwriting fluency completely mediated the relations of higher-order cognitive skills, foundational oral language, and working memory to writing. Moreover, language and cognitive skills had both direct and indirect relations to discourse-level oral language. Total effects, including direct and indirect effects, were substantial for discourse-level oral language (.46), working memory (.43), and spelling (.37); followed by vocabulary (.19), handwriting (.17), theory of mind (.12), inference (.10), and grammatical knowledge (.10). The model explained approximately 67% of variance in writing quality. These results indicate that multiple language and cognitive skills make direct and indirect contributions, and it is important to consider both direct and indirect pathways of influences when considering skills that are important to writing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Exploring individual differences in irregular word recognition among children with early-emerging and late-emerging word reading difficulty.Open in a New Window

Models of irregular word reading that take into account both child- and word-level predictors have not been evaluated in typically developing children and children with reading difficulty (RD). The purpose of the present study was to model individual differences in irregular word reading ability among 5th grade children (N = 170), oversampled for children with RD, using item-response crossed random-effects models. We distinguish between 2 subtypes of children with word reading RD, those with early emerging and late-emerging RD, and 2 types of irregular words, “exception” and “strange.” Predictors representing child-level and word-level characteristics, along with selected interactions between child- and word-characteristics, were used to predict item-level variance. Individual differences in irregular word reading were predicted at the child level by nonword decoding, orthographic coding, and vocabulary; at the word level by word frequency and a spelling-to-pronunciation transparency rating; and by the Reader group × Imageability and Reader group × Irregular word type interactions. Results are interpreted within a model of irregular word reading in which lexical characteristics specific to both child and word influence accuracy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

The dimensions of reading comprehension in Dutch children: Is differentiation by text and question type necessary?Open in a New Window

Many recent studies have aimed to demonstrate that specific types of reading comprehension depend on different underlying cognitive abilities. In these studies, it is often implicitly assumed that reading comprehension is a multidimensional construct. The general aim of this study was to examine the dimensionality of a large pool of reading comprehension items differing according to text and question type. The items were administered to 996 fourth-grade children. We used multitrait, multimethod modeling to test for the existence of specific text and question types. In addition, the correlations of factor scores, reflecting the different measures of reading comprehension, with word reading speed, vocabulary, and working memory were examined. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the specific measures of comprehension, differing according to text and question type, hardly reflected systematic variation, after a general factor of reading comprehension was taken into account. Reading comprehension items thus largely reflect a common factor. Factor scores that were supposed to reflect specific comprehension factors were not reliable and were hardly related to word reading speed, vocabulary, and working memory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Study sequence matters for the inductive learning of cognitive concepts.Open in a New Window

The sequence in which problems of different concepts are studied during instruction impacts concept learning. For example, several problems of a given concept can be studied together (blocking) or several problems of different concepts can be studied together (interleaving). In the current study, we demonstrate that the 2 sequences impact concept induction differently as they differ in the temporal spacing and the temporal juxtaposition of to-be-learned concept problems, and in the cognitive processes they recruit. Participants studied 6 problems of 3 different statistical concepts, and then were tested on their ability to correctly classify new problems on a final test. Interleaving problems of different to-be-learned concepts, rather than blocking problems by concept, enhanced classification performance, replicating the interleaving effect (Experiment 1). Introducing temporal spacing between successive problems decreased classification performance in the interleaved schedule—consistent with the discriminative-contrast hypothesis that interleaving fosters between-concept comparisons—and increased classification performance in the blocked schedule—consistent with the study-phase retrieval hypothesis that temporal spacing causes forgetting and subsequent retrieval enhances memory (Experiment 2). Temporally juxtaposing problems of concepts 3-at-a-time rather than 1-at-a-time improved overall classification performance, particularly in a blocked schedule—consistent with the commonality-abstraction hypothesis that blocking fosters within-concept comparisons (Experiment 3). All participants also completed a working memory capacity (WMC) task, findings of which suggest that the efficacy of the above study sequences may be related to individual differences in WMC. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Effects of informing learners about the dangers of making overconfident judgments of learning.Open in a New Window

Learners often insufficiently monitor their comprehension, which results in overconfident judgments of learning and underachievement. In the 3 present experiments, we investigated whether insufficient comprehension monitoring is due in part to the fact that learners are not sufficiently aware of the benefit of comprehension monitoring and thus scarcely engage in this process. As an intervention, we informed learners about the likely negative consequences of failing to monitor their comprehension. Specifically, we informed them about the high frequency of and the detrimental consequences that result from making overconfident judgments of learning. In Experiment 1 we found that for university students, this intervention increased their engagement in comprehension monitoring, led to more cautious judgments of learning, and fostered the acquisition of conceptual knowledge in a subsequent learning phase in which they received instructional explanations relating to a new topic. By contrast, this intervention was less beneficial for 13- to 15-year-old high school students: Although the intervention increased their comprehension monitoring and led to more cautious judgments of learning, it did not foster the acquisition of conceptual knowledge from the subsequent explanations (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, we varied whether 13- to 15-year-old high school students received (a) information about the frequency of and the detrimental consequences that result from making overconfident judgments of learning and (b) information about effective regulation strategies. The results of this experiment suggest that the limited beneficial effect found in Experiment 2 could be attributed to a lack of knowledge regarding effective regulation strategies for this age group. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Child temperamental regulation and classroom quality in Head Start: Considering the role of cumulative economic risk.Open in a New Window

There is growing recognition that cumulative economic risk places children at higher risk for depressed academic competencies (Crosnoe & Cooper, 2010; NCCP, 2008; Sameroff, 2000). Yet, children’s temperamental regulation and the quality of the early childhood classroom environment have been associated with better academic skills. This study is an examination of prekindergarten classroom quality (instructional support, emotional support, organization) as a moderator between temperamental regulation and early math and literacy skills for children at varying levels of cumulative economic risk. The sample includes children enrolled in Head Start programs drawn from the FACES 2009 study. Three main findings emerged. First, for lower and highest risk children, more instructional support was associated with better math performance when children had high levels of temperamental regulation but poorer performance when children had low temperamental regulation. Second, among highest risk children, low instructional support was protective for math performance for children with low temperamental regulation and detrimental for those with high temperamental regulation. Third, for highest risk children, high classroom organization predicted better literacy scores for those with high temperamental regulation. Children with low temperamental regulation were expected to perform about the same, regardless of the level of classroom organization. Implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Perceived challenge, teacher support, and teacher obstruction as predictors of student engagement.Open in a New Window

[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 109(1) of Journal of Educational Psychology (see record 2016-23265-001). In this article, the sixth sentence of the Relations of Challenge and Support subsection of the Results section should read “Results from a baseline null cross-classified model indicated that 53% of the variance in engagement occurred between cell (cross-classification of student and instructional episode), about 37% occurred between-students, and about 10% was attributed to instructional episode.”] This study explored associations between students’ perceptions of challenge, teacher-provided support and obstruction, and students’ momentary academic engagement in high school science classrooms. Instrumental and emotional dimensions of support and obstruction were examined separately, and analyses tested whether the relationship between challenge and engagement was moderated by teacher support, teacher obstruction, and individual characteristics like gender and grade level. Students’ perceptions of challenge were positively related to their momentary reports of engagement in science learning activities, while teachers’ instrumental support was positively associated with engagement across all levels of perceived challenge. Even though teachers’ provision of emotional support was not predictive of student engagement, teachers’ emotional obstruction was negatively associated with student engagement. Teachers’ instrumental obstruction had less consistent associations with student engagement, and was only associated with declines in engagement during those moments when students perceived greater challenge in class. Both gender and grade level emerged as moderators of the relationship between challenge and engagement. Results are discussed in terms of implications for future research and instructional practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

 

“Perceived challenge, teacher support, and teacher obstruction as predictors of student engagement”: Correction to Strati, Schmidt, and Maier (2016).Open in a New Window

Reports an error in "Perceived Challenge, Teacher Support, and Teacher Obstruction as Predictors of Student Engagement" by Anna D. Strati, Jennifer A. Schmidt and Kimberly S. Maier (Journal of Educational Psychology, Advanced Online Publication, Mar 3, 2016, np). In this article, the sixth sentence of the Relations of Challenge and Support subsection of the Results section should read “Results from a baseline null cross-classified model indicated that 53% of the variance in engagement occurred between cell (cross-classification of student and instructional episode), about 37% occurred between-students, and about 10% was attributed to instructional episode.” (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2016-10825-001.) This study explored associations between students’ perceptions of challenge, teacher-provided support and obstruction, and students’ momentary academic engagement in high school science classrooms. Instrumental and emotional dimensions of support and obstruction were examined separately, and analyses tested whether the relationship between challenge and engagement was moderated by teacher support, teacher obstruction, and individual characteristics like gender and grade level. Students’ perceptions of challenge were positively related to their momentary reports of engagement in science learning activities, while teachers’ instrumental support was positively associated with engagement across all levels of perceived challenge. Even though teachers’ provision of emotional support was not predictive of student engagement, teachers’ emotional obstruction was negatively associated with student engagement. Teachers’ instrumental obstruction had less consistent associations with student engagement, and was only associated with declines in engagement during those moments when students perceived greater challenge in class. Both gender and grade level emerged as moderators of the relationship between challenge and engagement. Results are discussed in terms of implications for future research and instructional practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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