What Do Beginning Reading Specialists Know and Why Do They Think They Know It? The Complexity of Teacher Judgment

By Sharon H. Ulanoff and Joan C. Fingon.

Published by The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 9, 2015 $US5.00

This paper investigates how candidates who have completed the concurrent M.A. in Education and Reading/Language Arts Specialist Program (RRLA) at one large, urban public university use knowledge and skills to make instructional decisions based on their beliefs, student needs, and reading research. It explores how beginning Reading Specialists (RSs) develop reflective judgment regarding curricular decisions. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from 25 candidates who completed a comprehensive exam as the RRLA culminating activity. The exam required them to develop a case study of an EL who is a struggling reader, focusing on reading, writing, and English language development (ELD) to demonstrate the knowledge and skills related to their roles as RSs in diverse settings. They also completed an exit survey regarding their preparedness to teach reading, writing, and ELD. Twenty-five candidates passed the exam, which was scored on a 4-point rubric (4 =high). The minimum passing score was 2.5. The mean composite score for all exams was approximately 3 (Mean=3.02, Standard Deviation=.33) with little variation between reading, writing, and ELD. Survey responses indicate that RSs perceive themselves as more prepared than their exam scores demonstrated. Candidates felt least prepared to interpret assessment results and apply theory to best practices in teaching. They felt most prepared to plan interventions and teach, using reading strategies, creating a literate environment, and teaching ELs.

Keywords: Reflective Judgment, Reading Specialists

The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 22, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.17-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 9, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 705.259KB)).

Dr. Sharon H. Ulanoff

Professor, Bilingual/Multicultural and Literacy Education, Division of Curriculum and Instruction, Charter College of Education, California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Dr. Joan C. Fingon

Professor of Education, Division of Curriculum and Instruction, Charter College of Education, California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA