Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 153–171 | Cite as

Validation of an instrument for assessing teacher knowledge of basic language constructs of literacy

  • Emily Binks-CantrellEmail author
  • R. Malatesha Joshi
  • Erin K. Washburn


Recent national reports have stressed the importance of teacher knowledge in teaching reading. However, in the past, teachers’ knowledge of language and literacy constructs has typically been assessed with instruments that are not fully tested for validity. In the present study, an instrument was developed; and its reliability, item difficulty, and item discrimination were computed and examined to identify model fit by applying exploratory factor analysis. Such analyses showed that the instrument demonstrated adequate estimates of reliability in assessing teachers' knowledge of language constructs. The implications for professional development of in-service teachers as well as preservice teacher education are also discussed.


Reading Survey Teacher education Teacher knowledge Validation 


  1. Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ball, D. (1991). Research on teaching mathematics: Making subject-matter knowledge part of the equation. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Advances in research on teaching (Vol. 2, pp. 1–48). Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  3. Ball, D. L., & Bass, H. (2000). Making believe: The collective construction of public mathematical knowledge in the elementary classroom. In D. Phillips (Ed.), Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Constructivism in Education (pp. 193–224). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Ball, D. L., & Bass, H. (2003). Toward a practice-based theory of mathematical knowledge for teaching. In B. Davis, & E. Simmt (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2002 annual meeting of the Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group (pp. 3–14). Edmonton: CMESG/GCEDM.Google Scholar
  5. Binks-Cantrell, E., Washburn, E. K., Joshi, R. M., & Hougen, M. (2012). Peter effect in the preparation of reading teachers. Scientific Studies of Reading. doi: 10.1080/10888438.2011.601434.
  6. Bos, C., Mather, N., Dickson, S., Podhajski, B., & Chard, D. (2001). Perceptions and knowledge of preservice and inservice educators about early reading instruction. Annals of Dyslexia, 51, 97–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brady, et al. (2009). First grade teachers’ knowledge of phonological awareness and code concepts: Examining gains from an intensive form of professional development and corresponding teacher attitudes. Reading and Writing. An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22, 425–455.Google Scholar
  8. Carlsen, W. S. (1991). Subject-matter knowledge and science teaching: A pragmatic perspective. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Advances in research on teaching (Vol. 2, pp. 115–144). Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  9. Chall, J. (1983). Stages of reading development. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  10. Costello, A. B., & Osborne, J. W. (2005). Best practices in exploratory factor analysis: Four recommendations for getting the most from your analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 10(7), 1–9.Google Scholar
  11. Cunningham, A. E., Perry, K. E., Stanovich, K. E., & Stanovich, P. J. (2004). Disciplinary knowledge of K-3 teachers and their knowledge calibration in the domain of early literacy. Annals of Dyslexia, 54, 139–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cunningham, A. E., Zibulsky, J., & Callahan, M. D. (2009). Starting small: Building preschool knowledge that supports early literacy development. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22, 487–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Darling-Hammond, L., & Baratz-Snowden, J. (Eds.). (2005). A good teacher in every classroom: Preparing the highly qualified teachers our children deserve. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  14. Ebel, R. L., & Frisbie, D. A. (1986). Essentials of educational measurement. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  15. Fabrigar, L. R., Wegener, D. T., MacCallum, R. C., & Strahan, E. J. (1999). Evaluating the use of exploratory factor analysis in psychological research. Psychological Methods, 4, 272–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fielding-Barnsley, R., & Purdie, N. (2005). Teachers’ attitude to and knowledge of metalinguistics in the process of learning to read. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 33, 65–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fuller, E., & Berry, B. (2006). Texas teacher quality data: Prospects and problems. Hillsborough: Center for Teaching Quality.Google Scholar
  18. Higher Education Collaborative (HEC). (2006). Texas reading first higher education collaborative: 2005–2006 annual report. Austin, TX: Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts.Google Scholar
  19. International Reading Association (IRA). (2003). Prepared to make a difference: An executive summary of the National Commission on Excellence in elementary teacher preparation for reading instruction. Newark, DE: Author.Google Scholar
  20. Joshi, R. M., Binks, E., Hougen, M., Ocker-Dean, E., Graham, L., & Smith, D. (2009). Teachers’ knowledge of basic linguistic skills: Where does it come from? In S. Rosenfield & V. Berninger (Eds.), Handbook on implementing evidence based academic interventions (pp. 605–626). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kieffer, K. M. (1998, November). Orthogonal versus oblique factor rotation: A review of the literature regarding the pros and cons. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LAGoogle Scholar
  22. MacCallum, R. C., Widaman, K. F., Zhang, S. B., & Hong, S. H. (1999). Sample size in factor analysis. Psychological Methods, 4(1), 84–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McCutchen, D., Abbott, R. D., Green, L. B., Beretvas, S. N., Cox, S., Potter, N. S., et al. (2002a). Beginning literacy: Links among teacher knowledge, teacher practice, and student learning. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35, 69–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McCutchen, D., Harry, D. R., Cunningham, A. E., Cox, S., Sidman, S., & Covill, A. E. (2002b). Reading teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature and English phonology. Annals of Dyslexia, 52, 207–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Moats, L. C. (1994). The missing foundation in teacher education: Knowledge of the structure of spoken and written language. Annals of Dyslexia, 44, 81–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Moats, L. C. (2000). Whole language lives on: The illusion of "balanced' reading instruction. New York: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.Google Scholar
  27. Moats, L. C., & Lyon, G. R. (1996). Wanted: Teachers with knowledge of language. Topics in Language Disorders, 16, 73–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction: Reports of the subgroups (NIH publication no. 00-4754). Washington: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  29. Phelps, G., & Schilling, S. (2004). Developing measure of content knowledge for teaching reading. The Elementary School Journal, 105, 31–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14.Google Scholar
  31. Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1–22.Google Scholar
  32. Shulman, L., & Grossman, P. (1988). The intern teacher casebook. San Francisco: Far Wets Laboratory for Educational Research and Development.Google Scholar
  33. Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  34. Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (2005). Knowledge needed to support the teaching of reading: Preparing teachers for a changing world. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  35. Spear-Swerling, L., & Brucker, P. O. (2003). Teachers’ acquisition of knowledge about English word structure. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 72–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Spear-Swerling, L., & Brucker, P. O. (2004). Preparing novice teachers to develop basic reading and spelling skills in children. Annals of Dyslexia, 54, 332–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Taylor, B., Pearson, P. D., Clark, K., & Walpole, S. (1999). Beating the odds in teaching all children to read. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement. CIERA Report Series 2-006.Google Scholar
  38. Thompson, B., & Levitov, J. E. (1985). Using microcomputers to score and evaluate test items. Collegiate Microcomputer, 3, 163–168.Google Scholar
  39. Thorndike, R. M., Cunningham, G. K., Thorndike, R. L., & Hagen, E. P. (1991). Measurement and evaluation in psychology and education (5th ed.). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  40. Torgesen, J. K. (2005). Recent discoveries on remedial intervention for children with dyslexia. In M. J. Snowling, & C. Hulme (Eds.), The science of reading: A handbook (pp. 521–537). Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Van Driel, J. H., Verloop, N., & de Vos, W. (1998). Developing science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35(6), 673–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wiersma, W., & Jurs, S.G. (1990). Educational measurement and testing (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  43. Wood, D. A. (1960). Test construction: Development and interpretation of achievement tests. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill Books, Inc.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Binks-Cantrell
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. Malatesha Joshi
    • 1
  • Erin K. Washburn
    • 2
  1. 1.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationState University of New York at BinghamtonBinghamtonUSA

Personalised recommendations