Selecting the Best Evaluation Tool: Which is Better? Why? The 2009–2010 Group Report
Children who come from low socioeconomic neighborhoods or who lack certain socioeconomic advantages may be at risk for school failure. Of all academic skills, reading is particularly associated with success in school and in life. Camp Sharigan and the Reading Orienteering Club (ROC) are two group-centered prevention programs designed to employ group process to enhance children’s motivation to read while developing their reading skills. Results of an 8-month small-group study showed significant improvement in such critical reading skills as spelling, reading, comprehension, and sight words. While the ROC program showed success, the question of assessment is also an issue. Which assessment test would be best to measure success with the at-risk students? Two testing procedures were analyzed: Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-4) and the Howard Street reading assessment packet. The Howard Street packet gave a more accurate assessment of reading ability with at-risk students from low socioeconomic neighborhoods. Suggestions are offered for further research in developing and testing programs for preventing reading failure.
KeywordsReading failure Low socioeconomic neighborhoods Reading assessment WRAT-4 Howard Street Group-centered prevention programs After-school programs At-risk children Group process Cohesion Reading Academic performance
Special appreciation to Keri Weed, Ph.D. and Sarah Stevens, Ph.D., University of South Carolina Aiken, for allowing their students to work on the project.
A special thank-you to St. John’s United Methodist Church in Aiken for providing community volunteers and financial sponsorship, and for allowing us to use their classroom space for this project. Thank-you also to the Rotary of Aiken and other community sponsors for their financial support.
Portions of this research presented at the 118th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association at San Diego, California. August 13, 2010.
William D. Harpine, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Communication Emeritus at the University of South Carolina Aiken. Christopher D. Bell was Assistant Professor of Psychology at Augusta State University. Sarah Stevens was Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of South Carolina Aiken.
At the time of this research, Christopher Bell was in the Department of Psychology at Augusta State University and Sarah Stevens was in the Department of Psychology at University of South Carolina Aiken.
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