Date of Award

11-7-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Miller, Carlin

Keywords

curriculum-based measurement, Peer Assisted Learning Strategies, prosody, reading achievement, reading disabilities, summer learning loss

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The present investigation looked at students’ reading achievement within the context of the Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) intervention. It consisted of three separate studies, all of which are related to reading achievement and intervention during the early years of school. The purpose of Study One was to determine whether students who are identified with reading disabilities via psychological assessment report make improvements over the school year subsequent to the implementation of this report. It was hypothesized that when teachers have access to psychological assessment reports, they will better understand their students’ individual learning needs and that this will translate to improved scores in reading. This hypothesis was not supported; those students who underwent psychological assessment did not show significant improvement in their reading skills as compared to students who did not undergo psychological assessment. Study Two examined whether the reading skills of students who are considered low achievers in reading tend to regress to a greater extent during the traditional summer vacation, as compared to their high- and typically-peers, whether it takes the low achievers longer to recover from summer loss, and whether they show more shallow learning trajectories over the school year. The summer learning loss hypothesis was partially supported. In terms of summer learning loss, on a measure of word reading administered following the summer after Senior Kindergarten, the low achievers’ scores remained stable over the summer, while the average and high achievers’ scores increased. It is thought that the Grade 1 year marks an important time for the onset of summer learning loss as a phenomenon. Study Three assessed the role of language prosody as a predictor of reading outcomes within the PALS intervention. Language prosody was not found to be a significant predictor of progress in PALS. The utility of curriculum-based measurements in the assessment of reading disabilities in a Canadian context is discussed.

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