Three New Zealand schools have used the Literacy to You metacognitive learning approach with their students to improve their students’ comprehension strategies.
The Literacy to You metacognitive learning approach was developed by South Pacific Press and is based primarily on the work of:
Graham Nuthall: The Hidden Lives of Learners, 2007; http://www.nzcer.org.nz/nzcerpress/hidden-lives-learners
Nuthall and Alton Lee: Predicting learning from student experience of teaching: A theory of student knowledge construction in classrooms.” American Educational Research Journal 30 (4): 799–840; (1993) and http://aer.sagepub.com/content/30/4/799.abstract
Harvey and Goudvis. Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding. Portland: Stenhouse Publishers; (2000). Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding 2nd ed. Portland: Stenhouse Publishers; (2007) and http://www.amazon.com/Strategies-That-Work-Comprehension-Understanding/dp/1571103104
Biancarosa and Snow 2006. “Reading next—A vision for action and research in middle and high school literacy: A report to Carnegie Corporation of New York.” 2006 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Alliance for Excellent Education http://www.all4ed.org/files/ReadingNext.pdf
Learners who have traditionally achieved below expected levels have made significant progress using an inclusive gradual release of responsibility instructional framework. Classroom observations of students learning in this way have shown notable attitudinal shifts towards reading. This included an increase in student engagement, competence and confidence in reading.
Case study method and design
The case study design used a pre-test, implementation, post-test method involving students in a New Zealand primary, intermediate and secondary school. The classes were diverse, including Māori and Pākehā students along with English Language Learners from Pasifika nations, Somalia and Iraq.
The classroom teachers undertook pre-test assessments of the students using either asTTle or PAT (Progressive Achievement Test). Post-tests were administered by the teacher using the same measure. The teachers implemented the Literacy to You metacognitive learning approach with all students in the class.
Case study 1: Primary School (years 7-8)
A decile 2 primary school implemented the metacognitive learning approach, using the CSI Literacy resource for three years in year 7-8. The asTTle data has been supplied by the school.
By November, 45% of students were reading at or above national norms, compared with only 12.5% in February.
By November, all Māori students were reading at above or national norms.
By November, 60% of "Other" students were reading at or above national norms, compared with 0% pre-test.
By November, 56% of the students were reading at or above national norms, compared with only 19% pre-test.
By November, 63% of Māori students and 62% of Pasifika students were reading at or above the national norms.
By November, 17% of "Other" students were reading at or above national norms, compared with 0% pre-test.
In ten months, the percentage of students reading at or above national norms rose from 17% to 39%.
By November, 83% of Māori students were reading at or above national norms, compared to 17% in February.
By November, 72% of Pasifika students were reading at or above national norms, compared to 22% in February.
Case study 2: Intermediate School
In 2011, CSI Literacy was implemented across a decile 1 intermediate school. All but 1% of the students came from Māori, Pacific Islands, or other non-European ethnicities. Raising achievement in literacy was a top priority.
Teachers established baseline levels of literacy through pre-intervention testing using Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning (asTTle), then took part in one day of intensive professional development in use of the CSI Literacy resource. The CSI metacognitive learning approach was then implemented across the school in each of the composite Year 7 and 8 classes. The implementation lasted for 14 weeks.
Post-tests revealed remarkable improvements in students’ literacy proficiency. 60% of the students gained one or more curriculum sub-levels between tests. These significant shifts in whole curriculum levels for reading are illustrated in the chart below.
Aggregate view of the distribution of year 7 and 8 students by curriculum level for reading, before and after the CSI intervention in 2011 (asTTle results)
Further analysis of the school’s data showed accelerated progress in reading functions and processes across both year levels.
Results also reveal that:
- Year 8 students made particular improvements
- Māori students performed well under CSI, especially those in Year 7
The extent of implementation varied slightly between teachers. Generally, the students in the classrooms of those teachers who most closely followed the metacognitive learning approach using the CSI Literacy resource and the oral/interactive components made the greatest gains.
Case study 3: Secondary School
Data was collected from fifteen Year 10 students in a decile 6 secondary school (years 9–15). The class was made up of mostly boys, predominantly Pākeha, with three Māori and one Pacific Island student.
This Year 10 class implemented the metacognitive learning approach using the CSI Literacy resource during every English lesson, four times per week.
Data on reading comprehension was collected from this class using the revised Progressive Achievement Test (PAT): Reading Comprehension. The class sat the PAT twice, once before starting, and once after 4.5 weeks of instruction.
Below are the students' pre- and post- PAT results. In addition to the PAT findings, the classroom teacher provided anecdotal feedback on the changes she observed in her classroom after the 4.5 week case study.
The initial average PAT scale score for the year 10 class was 50.1 patc units.
Overall, the students' scale scores ranged from 30 patc units to 59 patc units. The national average scale score for year 10 students is approximately 72 patc units.
Compared to other year 10 students, most students in this class struggled with the reading comprehension PAT test. Most of the students were categorised as stanine 1, which represents the lowest 4% of achievements on the test for the year level.
The post-test PAT scale score averaged at 60 patc units, with a range of 37 to 73 patc units. This is an average increase of 10 patc units. As a general guide, students would usually improve by about 5–6 patc units in one year.
On average, the results indicate that, post-case study, the students were able to read and understand texts at a level more aligned with their year level.
Beyond the quantitative findings, the classroom teacher commented that, after implementing the metacognitive learning approach:
- Students are engaged actively
- Students are handling and making sense of texts that the classroom teachers considered way out of their interest and ability level
- Students are automatically using strategies
- Students are 'giving it a go'.