Adolescent Literacy Consideration Packet College of William and Mary TTAC


 

Adolescent Literacy: Evidence Based Instructional Strategies - Why, What and How

 

Reading achievement among adolescents has become a national concern highlighted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results reported over the last 10 years (NAEP, 2009).   These data show little progress in fourth- and eighth-grade reading comprehension skills over the past decade, with 30% of students in eighth grade reading two or more grade levels below their enrolled grade (Alliance Fact Sheet,  September 2010).  The most recent OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA; 2009) results mirror these concerns, with the United States ranked 14th among all participating nations in reading skills.  

On a more local level, data from the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment indicate that only two-thirds of Virginia students with disabilities in grades 4 through high school meet the required minimal level of mastery of grade-level reading standards.  While improvement has been noted, and multiple measures (i.e., VGLA) have been provided, students with disabilities continue to be challenged in meeting the minimal standards in reading across the state and nation.   This dismal situation has prompted questions about the future capacity of this group to assume productive leadership roles within an increasingly global culture.

Experts have weighed in with instructional recommendations to address this area of ever-growing concern.  Pivotal reports outlining instructional and systemic recommendations for improving adolescent literacy have been published, beginning with the National Reading Panel’s report in 2000 and continuing with Reading Next in 2004.  The What Works Clearinghouse (2008), through the Institute for Educational Sciences established in 2002 to measure educational outcomes, has published five recommendations for improving adolescent literacy.  Likewise, The Center on Instruction (2007) has published a set of recommendations.  Further, the PISA report (2009) provides guidance for instruction, including (a) quality of instruction outweighs quantity, and (b) metacognitive competencies are critical to moving students forward in developing higher level skills. In addition, Dr. Don Deshler from the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning (2009) has prioritized the recommendations from these reports and others to focus educators’ work with this age group.  The chart below summarizes the recommendations from these reports and presentations.