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Holoman Final Paper_action Research

Holoman Final Paper_action Research

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Published by acholoman

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: acholoman on Jul 09, 2010
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08/04/2012

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Alair HolomanEDU 696: Action ResearchDaniel LevinAmerican UniversitySpring 2010Avoiding the “I Just Guessed” Syndrome: Helping Students Read Test PassagesAbstract: This action research project looks at three levers to getting students to actuallyread the passages on standardized tests: investment, engagement, and comprehension.Three interventions went into these categories: increasing student confidence, increasinginterest in daily reading, and increasing use of text annotation, respectively. Withstrategies targeted to these three specific goals, students generally did show high levels of success in all three categories.
 
Helping Students Read Test Passages2Though I am only in my second year of teaching, I am willing to hypothesize that everyEnglish teacher wonders at one point or another how to get his or her students to read more.Personally, I wonder this on a daily, perhaps even hourly, basis. Like many other urban teachers,most of my 10
th
graders come to me reading on a middle school level and many below that. Iknow that if they had been reading more as they grew up and went through their schooling, theywould not be in this situation. When my students come up against their standardized test inApril, it will include readings on a higher level than most of my students are prepared for. Ispend much of my year, particularly the 3
rd
quarter, preparing students for the DC-CAS readingtest. With the aforementioned problem of lack of reading skills in mind, my main concern is thatmy students actually try to read the passages on the test. If I had a nickel for every time I asked astudent about his/her thinking on a particular question he/she missed on a practice drill and thestudent replied, “I just didn’t read the passage,” or, “This was boring, I just guessed,” I couldretire on the money I would have. My students lack the patience and tenacity to deal with drytesting passages that are in some cases above their comprehension level. In short, my actionresearch question is, how do I get my students to engage in reading passages so that they get testquestions right?My exploration of this topic boils down to three major factors, which are the center of myresearch. First, there is the component of the test itself. Students have varying attitudes towardtaking tests, and their investment in the test—whether or not they care about their results—iscritical to their success or failure, I think.The second major component of reading test performance is comprehension. Studentsmust understand the reading if they are going to get the questions right.
 
Helping Students Read Test Passages3The third and most all-encompassing factor is engagement in reading. Students must bewilling to read the test and interested, at least on some level, in what they are reading. It seemslikely that engagement feeds into comprehension—after all, if a student is so checked out of areading passage that he/she pays little attention to it, he/she will not do a good jobcomprehending the passage either. Furthermore, investment in testing may be directly linked toengagement in reading, so all three major components of my question come together throughengagement.My research first delves into existing literature to show the basis for the interventions Itried. Then I lay out the main concepts that drive my interventions, followed by the data fromthe interventions themselves. I analyze much of the data as I explain it, but my findings anddiscussion are also summarized at the end of my report.
Literature Review
Component 1: Testing 
Interestingly, many researchers have focused on different aspects of test-taking and test-making over the years. With a lens on education policy in particular, many authors andresearchers are looking at standardized testing—its effectiveness, its accuracy, its impact oncurriculum and teachers. While some of these studies are relevant to my question, most areimportant on a broader scale. In other words, I need to know how to get individual students toattack a particular test, not how testing is changing the way districts look at test preparation or how states are changing standards to prepare more rigorous assessments. But from these articlesI can still glean some important information about test investment.

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