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What are Research-based Best Practices?

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Jessica Sprouse

on 10 July 2014

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Transcript of What are Research-based Best Practices?

"Research-based" implies that the practice has been studied and proven.

"Best practice" implies that the practice works.

Therefore, research- based best literacy practices are practices that are proven to be effective for literacy instruction and learning.
What are Research-based Best Practices?
What are research-based best practices?
- " In its simplest form, evidence-based reading instruction means that a particular program or collection of instructional practices has a record of success." (International Reading Association, 2002).

- There are various types of research including case studies, correlational studies, and experimental studies.

- Case studies: offer the details of the instructional strategy

- Correlational studies: implies testing between variables and observing outcomes

- Experimental studies: includes a controlled group and a variable group; usually provides the most data and can account for background and other variables

What can classroom teachers and researchers do to positively impact literacy development based on research-based best practices?
What do the researchers say about the classroom and research-based practices?
What is it?
Why does it matter?
What can we do about it?

Research-based Best Literacy Practices
Our two focuses:
Adolescent readers
English language learners

" Effective teachers use scientific thinking in their classrooms all the time. They assess and evaluate student performance, develop Individual Education Plans, reflect on their practice, and engage in action research. Teachers use experimental logic when they plan for instruction: they evaluate their students' previous knowledge, construct hypotheses, and observe the results, and base further instruction on the evidence collected." (
What is Scientifically Based Research, 2006?, 2006
pg. 3.)
Why are research-based best practices important
to the classroom?
- Research-based best practices help teachers to discover what techniques and tools work.

- "While teachers certainly would not be expected to carry out true experimental research in the classroom, understand the role of experimental research as well as the other stages of scientific investigation and the date they generate-from observations to standardized assessments-can prepare teachers to interpret research better, decide what and how to teach, and make legitimate, defendable statements about the impact of their instructional choices." (What is Scientifically Based Research?, 2006).

- "Deep understanding of content is almost impossible to achieve when literacy skills are too weak to support this kind of learning." (Meltzer, Smith, & Clark, 2001).

Examples of Research-based Best Reading Practices for Adolescent Readers:
Examples of Research-based Best Practices for English Language Learners:
Why are the research-based best practices important to the ELL classroom?
Why are research-based best practices important to the adolescent classroom?
- "Additionally, effective literacy support is key to the success of second language learners. The standards movement asserts that all students should understand content at deeper, more complex levels than have been advocated previously. The demands inherent in meeting the content- area standards involve substantial literacy skills." (Meltzer et al., 2001).
- "If these literacy skills are not fluent due to lack of practice and inappropriate instruction, all but the most advanced readers and writers are placed at a disadvantage." (Meltzer et al., 2001).
- " At the secondary school level, reading comprehension skills must become increasingly sophisticated to address the demands posed by more challenging academic expectations." (Meltzer et al., 2001).

Our students will not be able to perform at their best across disciplines if we don't focus on maintaining and expanding their literacy skills. A math student that doesn't understand the language of the math problem will not be able to solve the problem regardless of their level of math skills.

The research-based best practices can help us
determine changes and improvements to our
literacy instruction at the secondary level.
These practices are particularly important to ELLs because ELLs generally have more than one goal of literacy. Of course, one goal is to producers comprehensive readers, that read for understanding and depth of a text. However, ELLs have a goal of becoming fluent with oral language as well.
- "The process creates awareness about the functions of the language, and the reflection inherent in the process that helps students practice the kinds of highly abstract thinking that is essential to succeeding in high school and beyond into college or the world of work (Short & Ftizsimmons, 2007 pg. 33-34).
1. Integrate all four language skills into instruction from the start: research suggests that reading and writing are mutually reinforcing skill domains

2. Teach the components and processes of reading and writing and reading comprehension strategies: beginning with phonics and leading to vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency; ELLs need explicit instruction in reading comprehension strategies to make the transfer between languages

3. Focus on vocabulary development: knowledge of words, word parts, and word relationships are critical to understand topics in a content area and aid in test-taking skills, as well as identifying cognates (words that look and sound the same in English and Spanish with similar meaning)

4. Build and activate background knowledge: Connecting instruction to what the learners know and then explicitly discussing how that knowledge applies to the topic at hand is a technique that benefits ELLs

5. Motivate ELLs through choice: Choices can include: choice of text, choice of task/exercise (what sort of reading or writing project he/she will do with the text) , or choice of partner. Also when thinking about choice, try to offer choices at a variety of reading levels and topics of interest (where possible).
Examples of Research-based Best Practices for English Language Learners (continued):
Resource for the techniques and descriptions:
Short, D., & Fitzsimmons, S. (2007). Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to Acquiring Language and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners. Retrieved from http://carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/PDF/DoubletheWork.pdf
- Particularly for ELLs:
- Encourage the incorporation of all components of literacy (not only reading and writing)
- Teach the process and support each other in teaching the processes of reading comprehension, close reading, etc.
- Work together (including our ELL coordinators) to build background knowledge and vocabulary development through grade levels and content areas
- Consult the media specialists to obtain resources and tools for ELLs
- Allow ELLs choice whenever possible
- Participate and encourage state and district literacy plans based on research-based best practices- particularly for ELLs that are beginners at the adolescent age
- Promote research for best practices for ELLs- there is lacking research
- Encourage surveys to assess staff knowledge of ELL best practices and develop in-service workshops on the topic of ELL best practices
What can classroom teachers and researchers do to positively impact literacy development based on research-based best practices?

Particularly for Adolescent Readers/Learners:
- Encourage and support literacy development across grade levels and content areas

- Develop and encourage professional in-service opportunities that examine research- based techniques for adolescent readers (including support that is on-going)

- Define and agree on common literacy goals for adolescent readers within your school/community (vision of literacy)

- Implement vision of literacy throughout schools and grades levels as it is much more effective for every teacher to use the strategy than just a few teachers
1. Teacher modeling and strategy instruction: use literacy strategies that are explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced enhance the ability to use reading and writing across content (i.e. KWL chart, graphic organizers, directed reading-thinking activity, think alouds, sensory imagery)

2. Use of multiple forms of literacy assessment: self-assessment inventories, cloze passages, writing and presentation rubrics

3. Emphasis on reading and writing: paired reading, peer conferencing, discussions, multiple short readings on a similar topic

What does the research say about the previous examples?
Examples of Research-based Best Reading Practices for Adolescent Readers (continued):
4. Emphasis on speaking and listening: supporting the development and expansion of ideas relates to overall comprehension; brainstorming, organizing thoughts aloud

5. Emphasis on thinking: deliberate use of cognitive strategies; analyze or make judgments based on evidence, create analogies, compare and contrast,

6. Creating student-centered classrooms: using students' background, interests, and experience; aids in student engagement and motivation in reading
Resource for the techniques and descriptions
Meltzer, J., Smith, C., & Clark, H. (2001). Adolescent Literacy Resources: Linking Research and Practice. Retrieved from http://moodle.andersonuniversity.edu/pluginfile.php/311829/mod_page/content/8/Adolescent%20Literacy-%20Research%20%20Practice.pdf
- " Using a quasi-experimental design, this study examined the effects of a writing strategy instruction program on middle school students’ expository essay writing.
Participants in the study included 58 seventh- and eighth-grade students who were assigned to either a strategy instruction classroom or a control classroom. The authors used expository essays, with a focus on explanation and persuasion, as the mode of composition for the writing task. The instruction in all classrooms was similar in that the teachers introduced the genre, focused on a five-paragraph model, and gave students opportunities to write.
However, students in the experimental condition were given
explicit strategy instruction
in planning, drafting, and revising their work and were taught the knowledge and skills needed to apply these strategies and write effectively. Students also gave peer feedback in the experimental groups. Pre-, post-, and maintenance tests were administered to all participants. Essays were analyzed based on evidence of planning, length, use of vocabulary, and written quality.

Results from the study indicate that the
had a
positive effect on writing performance
. Students in the experimental condition demonstrated planning that was more substantive and developed, wrote papers that were significantly longer, chose vocabulary words that were more challenging, and had their writing judged as being of better quality than that of their control-group peers. This study supports the need to explicitly teach students writing strategies and the skills and knowledge necessary to apply these strategies independently."
Resource for the study
De La Paz, S., & Graham, S. (2002). Explicitly teaching strategies, skills, and knowledge: Writing instruction in middle school classrooms.
Journal of Educational Psychology
, 94(4), 687–698. dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.94.4.687. Retrieve from http://www.reading.org/Resources/ResourcesByTopic/Adolescent/Research.aspx#obrien
What does the research say about the previous examples?
"The underlining premise of the author’s research is that students in the upper grades must know how to learn from reading by developing critical thinking and study reading skills.
The author reports on two studies she conducted in a middle-class, suburban, Midwestern U.S. high school.

Students in both studies had relatively low performance on reading achievement test questions requiring higher level thinking. Participants in the first study were 49 ninth-graders in two intact heterogeneous English classes. One class of 29 received combined strategy instruction that included questioning, summarizing, clarifying, and predicting. The instructional sequence was
• Teacher modeling and verbalizing
• Guided practice
• Reciprocal teaching-group sharing
• Maintenance post-intervention

The other class of 20 did not receive the combined strategy approach. Based on analysis of pre- and post-reading comprehension measures (Gates–McGinitie Reading Test and a researcher-constructed test comprising passages from various content area texts), there was a significant difference in achievement in favor of the experimental class.
In the second study, the researcher investigated the effects of the combined strategy approach on the ability of students to answer different types of questions, such as explicit and implicit. The researcher reasoned that strategy instruction would better prepare students for answering higher level knowledge questions.
Participants, 275 tenth-graders in general education classes, received from teachers trained in the combined strategies approach the same four strategies as in the first study. Strategy instruction was incorporated into the different subject lessons. This instruction lasted 20 days, beginning in the third week of school. Pre- and post-intervention assessment results revealed a
significant improvement
students’ ability to answer implicit questions
. The assessment was a researcher-constructed comprehension test using tenth-grade–level passages extracted from various textbooks, with questions tapping explicit and implicit understanding as well as students’ prior knowledge.
The author concludes that the combined strategy approach designed to enhance the ability of students to read at deep and meaningful levels proved viable as an instructional tool for teachers in all disciplines. The author stresses that this approach is feasible in actual classroom settings because it consumes relatively little class time and uses content area materials.
Resource for the study
Alfassi, M. (2004). Reading to learn: Effects of Combined Strategy Instruction on High School Students.
Journal of Educational Research
, 97, 171–184. Retrieved from http://www.reading.org/Resources/ResourcesByTopic/Adolescent/Research.aspx#obrien
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