Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The impact of the Academic Critical Triangle on the reading proficiency of K–3rd grade students in urban schools
by Venison, Melba, Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2009, 143; 3360931
Abstract (Summary)

This purpose of this study was to determine the impact of professional development for teachers embracing Duhon's Academic Critical Triangle (Humanistic) Model on the reading proficiency level of K-3 rd grade students in urban classrooms. The ACT is a model designed to assist teachers in developing interactive and instructional behaviors that minimize the negative impact of social/emotional issues often existing in diverse urban classrooms. Recent increases in the Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and Latino populations has further complicated the existing challenges of teaching urban students who have been predominantly African American. Even more disconcerting is that 23 million adults are functional illiterates and account for 75% percent of the unemployed, and 17-20% of our nation's children experience substantial reading difficulties. Moreover, 10-15% of children with reading disabilities drop out of school prior to graduation. Although more than 80% of students acquire reading proficiency at acceptable rates, the greatest disparity exists among minorities in urban settings and their counterparts in more affluent schools, Current research on effective practices for teaching reading is widespread, relevant and successful. What remains unresolved are the issues regarding the growing diversity that exists in urban classrooms, teachers' inability to connect with students with different cultural backgrounds, and the lack of guidance for teachers who are faced with challenges not addressed in teacher education programs.

Analysis of reading assessment instruments, teacher surveys, interviews, and classroom observations, indicate that not only did the reading proficiency level increase for urban students, but a self-examination by teachers revealed that their own bias contributed to the disconnect in the relationship between them and their students. Professional development allowed teachers to comprehend and embrace the ACT concept while developing parallel strategies that met the needs of their own students.

The results revealed that all students made gains in reading proficiency, but there was a 10.28-point difference between the experimental group and the control group with least gains. The findings indicate that professional development for teachers in humanistic models positively impact student achievement. Since teachers are the single most significant element in student achievement, professional growth is key to creating a positive learning environment.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Buehler, Gary
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Literacy, Reading instruction, Curriculum development
Keywords: Academic Critical Triangle, Addressing diversity, Classroom environment, Developing culture, K-3, Meeting needs of children, Reading proficiency, Urban education
Publication Number: 3360931
ISBN: 978-1-109-19752-5
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