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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Results of Ninth-Grade Survey of Reading Skills

Back near the start of this school year, 272 ninth-graders completed a reading survey that was administered in their English classes by EOS Reading Specialists.  The survey was comprised of the following components - 1) a Student Self-Report of Academic Skills designed to gather information about preferred styles of learning, attitudes, interests, and goals, 2) spelling dictation of 25 words representing phonetic and orthographic patterns or conventional rules, and 3) a nationally-normed assessment called the Nelson-Denny Reading Test that took timed measures of vocabulary and reading comprehension.  The objectives were to establish individual baseline performances, to identify student needs, and to make recommendations where appropriate.  The data was grouped by academic levels and some of the information contained in the detailed report prepared by Ms. Sandra Popeleski, EOS Reading Specialist, follows in the bullets and paragraphs below;

  • 108 students in English 9A, representing 39.7% of the population tested, completed the survey, while 137 students in English 9B and 27 students in English 9B Team did the same.
  • Percentile scores on the Nelson-Denny in Vocabulary for 9A students ranged from 38 to 99, with the mean percentile settling on 86.1.  For comprehension, the range was 24 to 99, with the mean being 79.9.  Finally, the range for Total Reading was 29 to 99 and the average was 84.1.
  • Percentile scores for 9B students in Vocabulary were in the range of 4 to 99, with the mean being 62.  For Comprehension, the range of scores fell between 6 and 99 and the mean percentile was 56.3.  The Total Reading range was 6 to 99, with the mean being 59.6.
  • for the 9B team population, the range in Vocabulary was 7 to 82 (mean=43), 10 to 57 in Comprehension (mean=31), and 16 to 70 in total Reading (mean=36).
  • 99% of the students in 9A earned at least a 64 (goal for incoming ninth-graders) on the 8th-grade Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) - the DRP  average for this group was 84 - while 69% of B-level students (for whom scores were available) reached at least the benchmark DRP of 64.
There has been growing concern in recent years about the amount of - or lack thereof - time that children (and adults, for that matter) spend reading on their own.  EOS students were asked back in 2008 on the High Student Engagement Survey administered to 1170 students about how important it is to "read and study for class".  Forty-five percent of students in mostly "A" level courses felt it was a top priority or very important while 21% in primarily "B" level courses and 24% in largely "G" level classes, respectively, viewed it as very important or a top priority.  When asked in this same survey how much time they spend each week reading for themselves, almost half the A-level population reported spending an hour or less while over half of B-level students and almost two-thirds of the G-level group spent fewer than 60 minutes (a third said they spent no time at all).

For more on what the trend with reading looks like in this country over the past several years, head over to Learning Matters (http://eosguidancematters.blogspot.com/) for a summary on "Reading at Risk" conducted by the Census Bureau in 2002 at the request of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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