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I've been reading with interest the discussion of Bohr's article on
remedial reading courses and have finally read the article.  As a
former statistician I had some cautions as I read the article that
fit with some of the comments our fellow LRNASSTers have been making.

First, we need to be careful about how we interpret correlational
studies when we couldn't assign students to the different instructional
conditions.  Even with statistical control (as was used here by using
the pretest reading score in the analysis), we don't always know if
we are really making the groups comparable.Based on this, and on
my developmental reading students at Upsala College (NJ), I find
Ted's comments well-taken:  I have found repeatedly that the lowest
level basic reading students are different in so many ways from students
who take science, engineering, etc., or even the higher level of
basic reading, that I could imagine that the learning curve
for them would be very different.  It would not be surprising, then,
to see different rates of progress among students in different
courses because they are really different populations of students.
(I am thinking of variables such as conceptual maturity, metacognitive
skills, motivation, as well as some possible learning disabilities.)

The article contains some statements that could be taken as causal
and given the difficulty of comparability we are hard put to say
how muchthe progress the students made was the result of the courses
they took and how much the result of the maturity that enabled hem to
qualify for those courses in the first place.

Still, it's good to raise the questions we are about what we are doing
in developmental reading and how it could b e improved.  Lonna's
points about music and collaborative learning suggest that we might
do well to move in the direction of some technique like reciprocal
teaching of reading that stresses collaborative learning, students
acting as teachers, and metacognitive thinking skills, and
to use the more rigorous and thematic reading materials that we'd
be more likely to use in paired courses than in isolated reading
courses.

Annette Gourgey