student profile: Miss Corrina Goddard


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Rethinking the Response to Intervention Approach to the Kindergarten Literacy Block: A Longitudinal Study

Supervisors: David EVANS , Alyson SIMPSON

Thesis abstract:

Access to a quality education, to which all Australian students should be entitled, is critical in determining their future success and participation in society as unique, literate and active citizens. The achievement of quality outcomes in Australian children’s literacy skills is an acknowledged priority for the Australian Government, and clearly one of great importance for principals, teachers, parents/carers and students. Indeed, the NSW Government recently announced the new Literacy and Numeracy Strategy 2017-2020, which will prioritize early literacy skills and involve changes to the expectations of initial teacher education providers. Despite government policies, department initiatives and programs, it would appear that widespread adoption of effective, evidence-based literacy practices has not been achieved. There is consensus in the literature as to the need to strengthen whole class literacy instruction as part of a Response to Intervention model. The aim of this proposed study is to explore the capacity of classroom teachers to provide quality, integrated and refined Tier 1 early literacy instruction that accommodates the diversity of learning needs within the school classroom. The research will be unique in its analysis of the literacy environment through the lens of epistemic fluency: as a framework in which flexibility with evidence-based and context-dependent knowledge is required, and which cannot be narrowly defined by a single pedagogy or theoretical paradigm. This research will be conducted using a mixed method, longitudinal design with a sample of kindergarten students and their teachers from a metropolitan primary school in Australia. Observations of each classroom environment and literacy block instruction will be undertaken. Student literacy data will be collected at regular intervals using the Dynamic Indicator of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and examined against end of kindergarten literacy benchmarks. A case study of 2-3 kindergarten students will be conducted in order to specifically outline their literacy learning trajectory and Tier 2 interventions initiated by the classroom teachers. Triangulation of this data will illustrate the nature of a literacy culture of effective practice with student needs at its centre. The proposed study is timely given the current political climate and pressure to move beyond the longstanding ‘reading wars’ and provide a framework which is informed, accessible and practical for classroom teachers. The findings of this study will have implications for the federal government, for education departments, for classroom teachers and indeed for future research.

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