Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Acton Research in Teacher Education

Dr Sharon Kossack.


High-stakes testing in the United States reveals huge performance gaps in expository (subject area) reading. Low performances of such a large percentage of middle and high school students has caused schools, in their anxiety, to fall back on ineffective methods of memorizing and out of context test preparation that jeopardize student exposure to, much less mastery of, content subjects. Teachers need to have the ammunition to be able to offer viable research-based evidence that they can provide effective test preparation while concomitantly teaching subject area knowledge and fostering student learning-to-learn disposition. This is especially critical with regard to academically at-risk students, as the legislative mandate defines success not on overall school scores, but mandates adequate progress for all students.
This article presents an action research project focused on vocabulary. A rich, deep knowledge of key subject area vocabulary constitutes two-thirds of the comprehension of content area materials (Kossack & Vigilante, 1983), which provide the content of these high-stakes tests. Two strategies are contrasted: traditional definitions extracted from the dictionary versus a more visual approach in which students tease out a definition from the manner in which the word is presented, e.g., egoIst is written with a capital “I” cuing the meaning—a self-centered person.
This article presents a vocabulary-focued action research project. A rich, deep knowledge of key subject area vocabulary constitutes two-thirds of the comprehension of content area materials (Kossack & Vigilante, 1983), which provide the content of these high-stakes tests. Two strategies are contrasted: traditional (definitions extracted from the dictionary) versus a more visual approach in which students tease out a definition from the manner in which the word is presented, e.g., egoIst is written with a capital “I” cuing the meaning of a self-centered person.

Presenters

Dr Sharon Kossack  (United States)
Professor
College of Education
Florida International University

Professor of Reading; Directs at-risk-student- embedded in-school Professional Development Academies; stateside coordinator of a literacy and special education program (Every Child Counts) in Abaco, Bahamas.

Keywords
  • Subject area vocabulary
  • Content vocabulary
  • Comprehension
  • Action research
  • Visual Definitions
  • Teacher development
Person as Subject
  • Cambourne, B. Gardner, H. Santa, C.



(Virtual Presentation, English)