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The impact of academic vocabulary instruction on reading performance of sophomore students on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test from 2008 and 2009

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Margaret McMillen
Abstract:
This study investigated the change in sophomore reading scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test after the implementation of an academic vocabulary program and the change in teacher knowledge and professional practice after a program of staff development in academic vocabulary. The purpose was to determine if the impact of the professional development on student reading performance. The study analyzed student data from 2008 and 2009 gathered from the Florida Department of Education, and teacher data collected from a survey used as a pretest/posttest. Variables used in the analysis of student data included demographic subgroups of white, African-American, Hispanic and students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students. Teacher variables used were years of teaching experience and curriculum area. Both an ANCOVA and a multiple logistical regression were used to analyze change in student reading performance. Student reading score performance dropped for subgroups and overall. Several intervening variables could explain this downward change: budget cuts resulting a change in instructional day from six to seven-period day with loss of instructional time, reduction in number of teachers, increase in student population, and change in start time for school day (from 7:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). An ANOVA and independent t-test were used to analyze teacher pretest/posttest data. The data indicated a positive change in teacher knowledge and instructional practice, though not statistically significant. It should not be concluded from the reading scores that the program of academic vocabulary was not successful, but rather that vocabulary instruction is only one of the essential components of any plan to improve secondary student reading performance. Further research should be conducted to replicate this study during a time period without intervening variables experienced during the span of this study. Additionally, students should be matched to their teachers to examine the relationship between individual teacher and student performance. This study should be replicated in a high school with different demographics and different level of student achievement.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................. xi

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION ............................................................................ 1

Literature Review ......................................................................................................... 2

Vocabulary Instruction................................................................................................ 2

Professional Development .......................................................................................... 6

Statement of the Problem ............................................................................................ 8

Purpose of the Study ................................................................................................... 8

Significance of the Study ............................................................................................. 9

Research Questions ...................................................................................................... 9

Methodology .............................................................................................................. 10

Population ................................................................................................................. 10

Procedures ................................................................................................................. 11

Data Collection ......................................................................................................... 15

Instrumentation ......................................................................................................... 16

Delimitations of the Study ........................................................................................ 17

Limitations of the Study ............................................................................................ 18

Definitions of Terms .................................................................................................. 18

Summary ..................................................................................................................... 20

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE ......................................................... 22

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Introduction ................................................................................................................ 22

Instructional Leadership ........................................................................................... 22

Vocabulary Instruction .............................................................................................. 26

English Language Learners ...................................................................................... 37

Professional Development ........................................................................................ 39

Summary ..................................................................................................................... 41

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY ..................................................................... 42

Introduction ................................................................................................................ 42

Research Questions .................................................................................................... 42

Population ................................................................................................................... 43

Professional Development Treatment and Procedures ........................................ 44

Instrumentation .......................................................................................................... 49

Data Collection ........................................................................................................... 50

Summary ..................................................................................................................... 52

CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYSIS OF DATA ................................................................. 53

Introduction ................................................................................................................ 53

Research Question One ............................................................................................. 54

Research Question Two ............................................................................................ 60

Research Question Three .......................................................................................... 78

Research Question Four ............................................................................................ 87

Summary ..................................................................................................................... 88

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CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 89

Summary and Discussion of Findings .................................................................... 90

Conclusions ................................................................................................................. 94

Recommendations for Further Research ................................................................ 99

Summary ................................................................................................................... 101

APPENDIX A: TEACHER PERCEPTIONS OF VOCABULARY INSTRUCTION ......................................................................................................................................... 102

APPENDIX B: ACADEMIC VOCABULARY TERMS ........................................... 104

Foreign Language Academic Vocabulary Terms ................................................ 105

Spanish I.................................................................................................................. 105

Spanish II ................................................................................................................ 105

Spanish III ............................................................................................................... 106

Spanish IV ............................................................................................................... 106

French I ................................................................................................................... 106

French III & IV ....................................................................................................... 107

Language Arts Academic Vocabulary Terms ...................................................... 107

English I .................................................................................................................. 107

English II ................................................................................................................. 108

English II Gifted ..................................................................................................... 109

English III ............................................................................................................... 109

English IV ............................................................................................................... 110

AP Literature & Composition ................................................................................. 110

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Journalism ............................................................................................................... 111

Reading ................................................................................................................... 112

Mathematics Academic Vocabulary Terms ......................................................... 113

Algebra I ................................................................................................................. 113

Geometry................................................................................................................. 114

Algebra II ................................................................................................................ 114

Analytic Geometry .................................................................................................. 115

Trigonometry .......................................................................................................... 116

Pre-Calculus ............................................................................................................ 116

Statistics .................................................................................................................. 117

AP Calculus AB ...................................................................................................... 117

AP Calculus BC ...................................................................................................... 118

Science Academic Vocabulary Terms ................................................................... 119

Anatomy and Physiology ........................................................................................ 119

Physics Honors........................................................................................................ 119

AP Physics AB ........................................................................................................ 120

Physics C ................................................................................................................. 121

AP Environmental Science ..................................................................................... 122

Social Studies Academic Vocabulary Terms ........................................................ 122

American History .................................................................................................... 122

World History ......................................................................................................... 123

APPENDIX C: INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD ............................................. 125

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APPENDIX D: PERMISSION TO USE DATA ........................................................ 127

LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................................... 129

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Demographic Variables by Academic Year for 10th Grade FCAT Reading Scale Scores ...................................................................................................... 55

Table 2 Descriptive Statistics for 10th Grade FCAT Reading Scale Scores .......... 56

Table 3 Analysis of Covariance for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis ........ 59

Table 4 Estimated Marginal Means for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis 60

Table 5 Learning Gains by Demographic Type for 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 10th Grade Cohorts ................................................................................................................ 63

Table 6 Summary Information for Logistic Regression Models............................. 65

Table 7 Logistic Regression Coefficients and Significance Tests ........................... 69

Table 8 Analysis of Covariance for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis - Economically Disadvantaged ....................................................................................... 71

Table 9 Estimated Marginal Means for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis - Economically Disadvantaged ....................................................................................... 71

Table 10 Analysis of Covariance for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis - Students with Disabilities ............................................................................................. 72

Table 11 Estimated Marginal Means for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis - Students with Disabilities ............................................................................................. 73

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Table 12 Analysis of Covariance for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis – English Language Learners .......................................................................................... 74

Table 13 Estimated Marginal Means for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis – English Language Learners (ELL) ............................................................................... 74

Table 14 Analysis of Covariance for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis – African-American Students .......................................................................................... 75

Table 15 Estimated Marginal Means for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis – African-American Students .......................................................................................... 76

Table 16 Analysis of Covariance for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis – Hispanic Students .......................................................................................................... 77

Table 17 Estimated Marginal Means for 10th Grade Mean Scale Score Analysis – Hispanic Students .......................................................................................................... 77

Table 18 Factor Loading for Academic Vocabulary Survey Scale ......................... 79

Table 19 Teacher Demographics - Gender ................................................................ 80

Table 20 Teacher Demographics - Ethnicity .............................................................. 80

Table 22 Teacher Demographics – Years of Experience .......................................... 81

Table 23 Teacher Demographics – Highest Degree Earned .................................... 81

Table 24 Descriptive Statistics for Time x Curriculum Analysis ........................... 83

Table 25 Analysis of Variance for Time x Curriculum Analysis ............................ 84

Table 26 Descriptive Statistics for Time x Experience Analysis ............................. 85

Table 27 Analysis of Variance for Time x Experience Analysis ............................. 86

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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION In the era of high-stakes testing and accountability, improving student achievement for all learners is a focus for educators. Effective school leadership is documented as having a significant impact on student learning. Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, (2005), conducted a meta-analysis that reviewed 30 years of research and found a correlation of .25 between principal leadership and student achievement. Improving student achievement in reading as measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) has been a challenge since the inception of this assessment in 1998. By the time a student reaches high school, most students are able to recognize words and decode text. The bigger challenge is the comprehension of text that becomes increasingly more complex in high school as the gap in background knowledge widens (Marzano, 2004). Commercial reading programs asserting research-based results are readily available for schools to purchase, but they vary in price and success. Additionally, in light the school funding crises, spending money to purchase a program may not be prudent from either a financial or educational viewpoint when a method exists that is both relatively free and effective. Improvement of student vocabulary within academic disciplines is an area of study that shows promise not only for reading improvement, but also for mastery of content area knowledge.

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In his work on school effectiveness, Marzano (2003) identified “a guaranteed and viable curriculum” as a critical factor in student achievement (p. 22). In addition to the Sunshine State Standards written by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) and benchmarks established by the local school district, the development and implementation of an academic vocabulary program could provide a guaranteed curriculum at the school level. These guaranteed terms that students explain and describe more than define, provide students with academic language. Much of the theoretical basis and instructional design for academic vocabulary is the work of Marzano and Pickering (2005). Literature Review

Vocabulary Instruction Kenny (2004) found that student vocabularies expanded through the use of recognition exercises more than when students used paper and pencil practice. Lesley Marwood’s Classroom Performance System, as cited in Kenny, enhanced group performance and improved educational achievement in vocabulary using the prescribed vocabulary recognition strategies (Kenny). Direct vocabulary instruction has a strong impact on student achievement. Marzano (2004) found that students who had no vocabulary instruction scored

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lower than those who had direct vocabulary instruction. Students with no instruction scored at the 50 th percentile, but students with instruction scored at the 62 nd percentile (effect size = .32). The direct method described involved students learning 10 to 12 new words a week from a high-frequency list. When students received vocabulary instruction on specific words essential to the content, however, their scores increased by 33 percentile points. Clearly, “direct vocabulary instruction has an impressive track record of improving students’ background knowledge and the comprehension of academic content “(p. 69). Silverman (2005) knew that vocabulary is an important prerequisite to literacy and investigated the efficacy of storybook reading in improving vocabulary in young children. Her work found that analytical and multidimensional vocabulary practice tied to literature was a more effective practice than standard pedagogy of memorizing definitions. Relating essential terms to literature enhanced both short and long-term knowledge of words. This practice especially served English language learners (ELL) in catching up with their non-ELL peers. Marzano and Pickering (2005) developed a six-step method of vocabulary instruction designed to develop students’ academic language. This language, or academic vocabulary, originated with terms identified by subject-area teachers as essential to the understanding of a course or class, improved background knowledge and enhanced students’ capacity to learn when the six-step process

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was used. Rather than memorize definitions of lists of terms, students described and explained new terms in their own words, reviewed them frequently in activities and games, and focused on terms important to the course content. In Ward’s study (2006), Bethan Marshall of King’s College in London opined that there is no substitute for what books do in terms of helping students expand their world and extend their vocabularies. The effectiveness of information and communication technologies to increase student achievement was compared to books. Ward’s research showed that 100 English pounds spent on books per upper grades pupil had a greater impact on average test scores in English, mathematics, and science when compared to the same amount spent on technology. The average score rose from 27.5 to 27.9 or a 15% increase per student. In seven Title I schools, 15 third grade teachers were randomly assigned a vocabulary intervention method or to a control group in a study by Helen Apthorp (2006). Trained examiners conducted pretests and posttests of oral and sight vocabulary. At one school, students in the treatment group compared to the control group showed improvement. Contextual factors and student characteristics appeared to affect the results more than the methodology. How teachers use instructional time and its influence on student achievement was examined by Miller (2006). Using direct classroom instruction, trained examiners tabulated best practice methodology in vocabulary, reading

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comprehension, and word study. Arizona state reading tests were used to measure student performance. Teaching students how and when to use comprehension strategies and the allocation of time had a positive effect on student achievement. The unexpected, and large, gains in average intelligence quotient (IQ) gains in the last ten years presented a paradox according to Flynn (2007). The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) is a collection of subtests measuring, among other items, vocabulary, arithmetic, and subjects who score above average on one subtest tend to excel in all categories. The vocabulary portion measures the words people have accumulated in everyday life. The unexpected score gains in thirty countries are the source of speculation. Flynn posited that either the tests are no longer a valid measure of IQ, or kids are getting smarter. He believed the explanation is more complex than just kids getting smarter. Students and teachers intentionally studied vocabulary which had a direct impact on performance on the WISC or other methods of assessing ability. Doherty and Hilberg (2007) examined the relationship between pedagogy and student achievement. Twenty-three teachers and their 344 students participated in the year-long study which began with pretests and concluded with posttests. Teachers reliably predicted performance on year-end assessments in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and spelling using the standards for

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effective pedagogy. The greatest gains occurred in classrooms in which the standards for vocabulary were practiced in diversified activity settings. Two college students wondered why they could so easily learn all the words to rap songs, but struggled with challenging vocabulary words found on standardized tests. They began an academic rap company named Flocabulary which produced a CD entitled, A Dictionary and a Microphone. Menchville High School in Newport News, Virginia used the Flocabulary CD with juniors, and the students’ average Scholastic Aptitude Test writing score rose from 420 to 477 after using the method of learning vocabulary words rap style for one year (Harrison & Rappaport, 2007). Tredwell (2007) investigated the impact of peer tutoring on vocabulary growth. The study measured vocabulary growth over a six-week period and used a pre- and posttest to gather data. Students were assigned a peer tutor who had been trained to model the correct use of specific target vocabulary words. Professional Development The effects of professional development for experienced teachers in vocabulary instruction in a critical content area were studied by Armstrong (2000). Secondary science teachers participated in ten hours of professional development in specific vocabulary instruction and then their practices were observed. Students in both the control and the experimental group took

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vocabulary pretests before the ten-week regimen of prescribed activities began. Students in the experimental group performed better on the posttest. Both teachers and students were interviewed at the culmination of the project and both groups responded favorably to the activities and the results. Teacher participation in professional development activities explained significant amounts of variation in mathematics and science achievement (Weglinsky, 2000). His research with 7,500 eighth graders found that teacher involvement in professional development had as much influence on the variance in student achievement as did student background. In an extensive research on the effects of professional development, Garet, Porter, Desmone, Birman, and Yoon (2001) surveyed over 1000 teachers. Their findings show that if professional development is to change teacher behavior, then it should focus on content knowledge in an atmosphere of active learning. The research on effective schools points directly to the principal being recognized as an instructional leader in schools that succeed (Terry, 1996). Marzano, Waters, and McNulty (2005) asserted that the successful school is one that is lead by a principal who has knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. That knowledge provides the “guaranteed and viable curriculum” to ensure that teachers address the essential content (p. 110).

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Statement of the Problem

This study sought to determine if there was a relationship in the changes in available data (FCAT reading developmental scale scores) and teacher knowledge and skill in vocabulary instruction. The hypothesis used in this study was that if teachers participated in professional development provided by the principal (also the researcher) that there would be an improvement in student achievement as measured FCAT reading scores. Purpose of the Study

The work of an instructional leader is to help teachers help students learn. How to help high school teachers help their students improve reading achievement is a complex issue. Working with teachers to develop a guaranteed curriculum, such as a program of academic vocabulary, was the impetus of this study. The goal was to guide teachers to implement such a program which could result in significant improvement in student reading. The researcher was the principal of the study school. In 2008 and 2009, the researcher conducted a pre- test and posttest assessment as well as personally provided the professional development in academic vocabulary.

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Significance of the Study

The importance of academic vocabulary is reflected in the following statement by Marzano (2004): Enhancing students’ academic knowledge…is a worthy goal of public education from a number of perspectives. In fact, given the relationship between academic background knowledge and academic achievement, one can make the case that it should be at the top of any list of interventions intended to enhance student achievement. (p. 4) Research Questions

The study was guided by the following Research Questions: 1. What relationship, if any, existed between the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test reading scores of sophomore students from 2008 to 2009 after teachers implemented the academic vocabulary program? 2. To what extent, if any, did different demographic student sub-groups (white, African-American, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, English language learners, and students with disabilities) benefit from teacher participation in the academic vocabulary professional development program according to change in FCAT reading scores?

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3. To what extent did teachers report changes in their knowledge and implementation of research-based vocabulary instruction as a result of participation in professional development? 4. What relationship, if any, existed between FCAT reading change and change in knowledge and skill in vocabulary teaching reported by teachers? Methodology

Population The population used for this study was the 1600 sophomore students and the 175 teachers of a high school located in Central Florida over the course of the 2008 and 2009 school years. The student population of the study school was disaggregated into sub- groups of students on this school campus identified as white (59%), African- American (12%), Hispanic (26%), economically disadvantaged (28%), English language learners (ELL) (14%), and students with disabilities (SWD)(22%) for an analysis of learning gains. All classroom teachers in the school participated in a program of professional development for academic vocabulary, but the possible impact of academic vocabulary on student learning for the purposes of this study was measured by FCAT reading scores of sophomore students in 2008 and 2009.

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The entire classroom teacher population participated in the pretests and posttests (Appendix A) for the purposes of data collection. Procedures A program of professional development for teachers was designed and conducted to present the theoretical framework for an academic vocabulary program, the process of creating academic vocabulary lists, and the instructional strategies required for the implementation of an academic vocabulary program within each content area. A pretest was administered to all teachers as the first segment of the professional development activities to determine faculty baseline knowledge and opinions. Training the teachers to develop the lists of academic vocabulary terms was the necessary first step for the implementation of an academic vocabulary program. Teachers worked within their content areas (English, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, business and computer education, physical education, performing arts, and foreign language) to identify the academic vocabulary of their courses; i.e., the terms, dates, names, places, processes, concepts, and phrases critical to the understanding of each content area course. These terms were gleaned from national and state standards as well as local benchmarks and goals. The lists of academic vocabulary terms were first developed horizontally by teachers for each specific course within each subject

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area (e.g., world history academic vocabulary within the social studies department; algebra II academic vocabulary within the mathematics department). The number of academic vocabulary terms selected for each course was managed by determining if a term in question was critical to the understanding of the content, useful to the understanding of the content, or an interesting additional term in the content (Marzano & Pickering, 2005). In order for students to learn the academic vocabulary identified as critical, teachers controlled the number of terms introduced over time by considering both the number of terms deemed critical as well as the length of the school term in which students had to master them. The second phase in the development of course-specific academic vocabulary terms was the vertical alignment of the terms by teachers to ensure that the sequence of the terms was appropriate and logical within the scope and sequence of each curricular area. The overlapping of key terms, people, events, processes, concepts, and dates was both acceptable and unavoidable, though not ideal. The target number of terms for each course was thirty; however, that number was a recommendation and not binding. After the teachers completed and agreed upon their academic vocabulary lists for their courses within each curriculum area (Appendix B), the implementation began in the classroom. The process of teaching the academic vocabulary terms was not what was previously expected in terms of vocabulary

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instruction. Implementation of academic vocabulary required student mastery of identified key academic vocabulary terms over time. It did not necessitate the rote memorization of lists of words with specific definitions assigned in long lists, but rather a six-step teaching process designed by Marzano and Pickering (2005). Step 1: Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term. Step 2: Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words. Step 3: Ask students to construct a picture, symbol, or graphic representing the term. Step 4: Engage students periodically in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in their notebooks. Step 5: Periodically ask students to discuss the terms with one another. Step 6: Involve students periodically in games that allow them to play with terms. (pp. 14-5) The first teaching step in the process was for an academic vocabulary term to be introduced to the students through explanation, with examples and non- examples presented and discussed. At this point teachers were able to determine prior knowledge, provide an example, or share an historical event. The second step required the students to write and maintain a list of academic vocabulary terms – similar to a glossary – in which they wrote definitions or explanations in

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their own words throughout their course of study. Students often resisted this step and requested instead that teachers provide a definition, but it was important that students construct their own meaning for the critical terms. It was essential at this point that teachers check for understanding and monitor the accuracy of student work to ensure that students were learning correct information. It was also important for these lists of words/notebooks/glossaries belong to the students so that they were portable and able to be updated. For step three, students made graphic or non-linguistic representations of each term to reinforce their understanding and provide another method of reinforcing the term’s meaning or significance. Modeling this step for students was important, and allowing students to work together on this step was also encouraged. The fourth step in the process of teaching academic vocabulary required teachers to provide opportunities for students to use their academic vocabulary terms regularly to deepen their understanding. The fifth and sixth steps both involved the purposeful and frequent referencing and reviewing of the essential academic vocabulary terms determined for each specific course. Using games, graphs, charts, and inconsequential competition to review the terms as well as provide opportunities for students to discuss and use the terms allowed the words to become part of students’ long-term memories through the numerous and frequent use. These activities used to reinforce and expand on students’ understanding of academic vocabulary terms occurred throughout each course

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of study until the completion of the semester or school year. Rather than asking students to memorize a dictionary definition and/or use words in a sentence, the academic vocabulary terms identified by teachers as being critical and essential to the understanding of a subject area were learned and reviewed over time to improve student understanding and retention (Marzano, 2003). Data Collection In the spring of 2008 and 2009, ninth and tenth grade students took the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and data from this assessment were collected. Student performance on FCAT Reading was compared to previous year’s scores with a focus on learning gains. Appropriate statistical procedures were used to calculate the difference in mean scores and to determine if the results were statistically significant. For Research Question One which was determine the relationship, if any, between FCAT reading scores of sophomore students from 2008 to 2009 after teachers implemented the academic vocabulary program, the researcher conducted a linear regression with the dependent variable (y) was grade 10 reading mean scale score, and the independent variable was the year. In determining if year was a statistically significant predictor of mean scale score, the relationship, if any, between the two variables was determined. Additionally, a one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed to examine performance of cohort group scale scores. To look at the

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performance of student subgroups (Research Question Two), a multiple logistic regression was performed which yielded the likelihood of a student making a learning gain in reading based on a variety of predictors including the year and the subgroup. To further examine the performance of the different student subgroups, a one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted to focus on the different levels of performance. Instrumentation A survey entitled Teacher Perceptions of Vocabulary Instruction (Appendix A) was conducted both prior to and at the conclusion of the treatment to assess teacher knowledge of vocabulary instruction, reading comprehension, and academic vocabulary. The instrument designed by the researcher collected data through a Likert-type survey distributed to teachers of the study school. The items represented a variety of 5-point Likert scale statements with a range of responses including the following: (1) strongly agree, (2) agree, (3) neither agree or disagree, (4) disagree, (5) strongly disagree, and (6) not applicable. Demographic questions were included to identify teachers’ areas of content specialization, years of the teaching experience, and highest degree of education earned. To answer Research Question Three which sought to determine the extent to which teachers reported changes in their knowledge and implementation of research-based vocabulary instruction as a result of

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participation in professional development, a factor analysis was performed on the survey items, and independent T-tests were conducted to determine the differences in pretest and posttest surveys. Two-way factorial analyses were run to examine the results of teacher responses based on years of teaching experience and subject area taught. The fourth question addressed the relationship between FCAT reading score change and change in knowledge and skill in vocabulary teaching reported by teachers. This question was answered by determining the change, if any, between the change in FCAT reading scores and change in teacher survey scores. Since no common measure was used, only inferential and anecdotal data was obtained. Delimitations of the Study

The factors which delimited of this study included the following: 1. The study included the sophomore populations of one high school. 2. The effectiveness of the academic vocabulary program was only evaluated in terms of student success in FCAT Reading.

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Limitations of the Study

The factors which limited the validity of this research included the following: 1. Unidentified factors including student motivation to perform, development growth, and impact of reading instruction may have influenced student scores on FCAT reading. 2. The implementation of the academic vocabulary program was dependent on individual teacher participation, cooperation and/or self-reporting. 3. Although the use of FCAT results was appropriate for the purposes of this study, the use of this assessment and its scaling procedures makes the information Florida specific. Definitions of Terms

The following definitions are provided for terms that will be referenced throughout this study. Academic vocabulary : Terms, names, dates, concepts, dates, and processes identified as essential to the mastery of individual academic subjects (Marzano & Pickering, 2005).

Full document contains 146 pages
Abstract: This study investigated the change in sophomore reading scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test after the implementation of an academic vocabulary program and the change in teacher knowledge and professional practice after a program of staff development in academic vocabulary. The purpose was to determine if the impact of the professional development on student reading performance. The study analyzed student data from 2008 and 2009 gathered from the Florida Department of Education, and teacher data collected from a survey used as a pretest/posttest. Variables used in the analysis of student data included demographic subgroups of white, African-American, Hispanic and students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students. Teacher variables used were years of teaching experience and curriculum area. Both an ANCOVA and a multiple logistical regression were used to analyze change in student reading performance. Student reading score performance dropped for subgroups and overall. Several intervening variables could explain this downward change: budget cuts resulting a change in instructional day from six to seven-period day with loss of instructional time, reduction in number of teachers, increase in student population, and change in start time for school day (from 7:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). An ANOVA and independent t-test were used to analyze teacher pretest/posttest data. The data indicated a positive change in teacher knowledge and instructional practice, though not statistically significant. It should not be concluded from the reading scores that the program of academic vocabulary was not successful, but rather that vocabulary instruction is only one of the essential components of any plan to improve secondary student reading performance. Further research should be conducted to replicate this study during a time period without intervening variables experienced during the span of this study. Additionally, students should be matched to their teachers to examine the relationship between individual teacher and student performance. This study should be replicated in a high school with different demographics and different level of student achievement.