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GSE Faculty and Alumnus Win Distinguished Paper Award for Literacy Research


Graduate School of Education doctoral graduate Michael Deasy '13 and Profs. Lorraine Dagostino and James Carifio, along with Asst. Prof. Mark Fenster of the University of Notre Dame Maryland, won the Northeast Educational Research Association Lorne H. Woollatt distinguished paper award. It was chosen among 500 research papers at the association’s fall conference.

As part of the award, the group has been invited to present the paper at a distinguished paper session at the national conference of the American Educational Research Association spring 2014 conference in Philadelphia. 

The paper, entitled Developing Basic and Higher Level Reading Processing Skills: Exploring Reading Instruction with the PIRLS Database, was done to advance research on comparative international literacy. The study addressed providing support to schools for the development of effective literacy programs by exploring the relationship between an instructional reading framework (the Interactive Reading and Learning from Text instructional framework) and reading achievement on a fourth grade reading assessment in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2006 dataset. 

The researchers analyzed the initial core of five countries (USA, England, Scotland, New Zealand, and Singapore) individually and combined together. 

The analyses found that simple country-to-country aggregate achievement comparisons and analyses of the kind typically done with international datasets were highly misleading and misrepresented actual accomplishments. 

When each country’s instructional policies and goals, demographics of different students groups and setting of instruction was included in the analyses, the United States was achieving its reading and literacy goals better than the Commonwealth countries, even though the United States had lower (and misleading) aggregate achievement. 

The follow-up exploratory analyses also found that the best and most successful overall instructional model or profile was when reading instruction occurred early and frequently and it involved word recognition instruction, comprehension instruction, and motivation to read activities. It was also found that the instructional profile or model worked best in particular situations such as with below average readers in urban settings in the U.S.