Research Journal

APJDD Vol 5 No 1 (Jan 2018)

1. Editorial Comment

Angela J. Fawcett and John Everatt

2. Misbehaviour and educational achievement among Arabic children

Yousuf Almurtaji1

1 Public Authority for Applied Education & Training, Kuwait

Abstract

Poor levels of behaviour can have deleterious effects on the prospects of children, as well as on fellow students and the ability of teachers to carry out their duties. Relationships between behavioural problems and educational achievement have been identified; however, perceptions of negative behaviours are culturally loaded, and a child’s age (school grade) may influence effects since development (or school systems) can lead to variance in behavioural responses. This study set out to measures such relationships across school years in a cultural context (Kuwaiti Arabic) that has received relatively little attention. Participants were children, and their parents and teachers, from primary school grades 4 and 5 and intermediate school grades 6 and 7. Parents/teachers completed an attention-hyperactivity questionnaire, designed specifically for an Arabic setting, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which has been widely used internationally. Children performed measures of literacy and mathematics, scores on which were associated with the questionnaire data. The results showed associations between educational measures and negative behaviours (particularly hyperactivity/inattention and emotion problems) across parent/teacher data, but a potential focus on influences in the primary grades. Findings are discussed in terms of the need for intervention strategies, and similarities with other studies varying in cultural contexts.

Keywords: misbehaviour, educational attainment, cultural context, Kuwait

3. Assessment of the Effectiveness of a Chinese Literacy Assessment tool for School Learners in Singapore

Tan Ah Hong1 , Priscillia Shen Peixin2 , Kong Yun Rui3*, See Lay Yen3 , Sha Lan3

1 Nanyang Technological University, National Institute of Education, Asian Languages and Culture Academic Group

2 DAS Academy

3 Dyslexia Association of Singapore

Abstract

As more school learners face difficulties in learning Chinese and requests for exemption in school, there is no standardised Chinese literacy assessment tool in Singapore that can enable educators to assess and ascertain the learning needs of these learners. Consequently, educators are unable to provide the most appropriate learning support for these learners. Hence, the purpose of this study is to assess the reliability and validity of a Chinese Literacy Assessment tool which could be standardised in future to ascertain a learner’s language ability and learning difficulties. The Chinese Literacy Assessment tool (CLA) consists of five components: visuo-orthographic awareness, word recognition and morphological awareness, spelling, reading comprehension and copying. A total of 149 learners between the ages of nine to eleven years old participated in this study and underwent the CLA testing. Test of Cronbach Alpha shows that the orthographic awareness, morphological awareness, word recognition, spelling and copying tasks are reliable test items. Using one-way ANOVA, the CLA is valid in differentiating students with learning difficulties and of different ages and abilities. The results of this study suggest for revisions to be made prior to standardisation with a larger sample of students and potentially be used to inform instruction.

Keywords: Chinese Learning Difficulties, Chinese Literacy, Assessment, Singapore Mandarin, Second Language

4. Evaluating an early literacy intervention in Singapore

Wong Kah Lai1* and Shakthi Bavani Sathiasilan1

1 Dyslexia Association of Singapore

Abstract

Research has shown that the early years can be critical for children’s progress in literacy and learning. Moreover, a number of predictors for success can be identified at this stage, including letter naming and phonological skills. An investigation into the effectiveness of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) Preschool Early Literacy Intervention Programme (ELIP) was conducted with 294 kindergartners in 2016. Pre and post test results indicated literacy gains in all areas of early literacy intervention. These areas include alphabet and phonogram knowledge, sight words, reading and spelling. Thematic analysis of feedback gathered from parents, early literacy intervention therapists, and children showed intangible gains such as a love for learning and increased confidence, which may point towards the emergence of resilience. A positive tri-partnership between the therapist, the child and the parent is critical for success.

Keywords: Preschool/kindergarten; early intervention; phonics; literacy; stakeholder feedback; Singapore

5. Evaluating reading and spelling performance of students with dyslexia using curriculum based assessments and teacher perception

Sujatha Nair1*, Geetha Shantha Ram1 and Puva Kurusamy1

1 Dyslexia Association of Singapore

Abstract

Students attending classes at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore have their cognitive and literacy profiles analysed in order to offer individualised lessons taught in accordance to the Orton-Gillingham Principles. They are placed into three bands, each with three levels of literacy learning, which map out the level of literacy skills taught from emergent to functional to advanced. Students’ progress is then monitored using Curriculum Based Assessments (CBAs). This study was designed to better understand whether different profiles of students make a more marked improvement in terms of their reading and spelling ability, and to evaluate possible reasons for this. Results are reported for 60 students showing significant gains in reading over the period of intervention; though there was less impact on spelling. Questionnaires also explored teachers’ perceptions in order to determine any effect on students’ rate of progress as well as to identify if there is a need to enhance the curriculum and / or our teacher training to increase the impact of this ongoing support.

Keywords : Reading and spelling intervention, Teacher perceptions, Banding and curriculum assessment

6. A Comparison of Incidental and Intentional Vocabulary Learning in English Language Learners with Reading Comprehension Deficits

Akram Mollaali1 and Amir Sadeghi1&2*

1 Islamic Azad University, Damavand Branch (Iran)

2 University of Canterbury (New Zealand)

Abstract

The present study explored the effects of incidental vs. intentional teaching on the vocabulary learning and retention of Iranian English Foreign Language (EFL) learners with poor English reading comprehension. The study used extra two English tests to identify students who stood at the bottom 30% of reading comprehenders in the sample. These participants were divided into incidental learning, intentional learning and control groups. All groups took a vocabulary pretest and vocabulary posttest before and after the intervention. There was also a delayed vocabulary posttest, the results of which were used to establish vocabulary retention scores. The results indicated no differences between groups before the intervention, but both intervention groups showed vocabulary levels greater than the control group in the posttest. No significant differences were found between incidental and intentional groups on vocabulary immediately after the intervention; however, the incidental group showed significantly better retention. These findings suggest similar incidental and intentional teaching effects on the immediate vocabulary learning, but enhanced vocabulary retention for the incidental method.

Keywords: incidental vocabulary learning, intentional vocabulary learning, poor reading comprehension, vocabulary retention

7. The influence of a general literacy intervention on the psychosocial development of students with literacy learning difficulties

Amanda Denston1*

1 University of Canterbury (New Zealand)

Abstract

The present study examined whether the psychosocial development of students with literacy learning difficulties (LLD) could be positively influenced via an academic intervention that focused on the explicit instruction of general literacy skills. Twenty-one students with LLD aged from 8 years 6 months to 11 years 5 months participated in the study. Following pre-intervention assessment, students received an average of 20 sessions of 30-minute duration, over a six week period that focused on developing students’ skills in the areas of decoding, vocabulary and reading fluency using age-appropriate narratives. Results found that the students demonstrated significant gains in multiple areas of literacy, as well as, academic and global self-esteem, general self-efficacy and its emotional and social subscales. Overall, gains in literacy were found to be more likely associated with changes in self-efficacy, rather than self-esteem. Additional analyses also suggested that the association between literacy and psychosocial development was greater for students with LLD who demonstrated lower levels of resilience at pre-intervention.

Keywords: self-esteem, self-efficacy, resilience, literacy development, reading comprehension, decoding

8. Impact of Inferential Skills on Reading Comprehension in Thai (L1) and English (L2)

Pawadee Srisang1&2*, Jo Fletcher2 , Amir Sadeghi2&3 and John Everatt2

1 Burapha University

2 University of Canterbury

Islamic Azad University, Damavand Branch

Abstract

This study investigated the influence of the ability to make inferences on reading comprehension in Thai (L1) and English (L2). Eight measures were utilised, including four measures of inferential skills and reading comprehension in Thai and English, three measures of language skills (vocabulary and listening skills), and the Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices. Data were collected from 220 undergraduate students in Thailand. Results demonstrated a significant inter-relationship between inferential skills in Thai (L1) and English (L2). Furthermore, findings from hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the addition of the inferential measure scores significantly increased the predictability of reading comprehension in the same language, after controlling for within-language vocabulary levels (and listening comprehension in the case of Thai) and non-verbal reasoning. Analyses across languages showed positive correlations between Thai inferential skills and English reading comprehension, and between English inferential skills and Thai reading comprehension. Hierarchical regression analyses also indicated that the addition of the English inferential measure predicted extra variability in Thai reading comprehension after controlling for English and Thai language related skills and non-verbal reasoning measures, but the addition of the Thai inferential measure did not influence the level of prediction of English reading comprehension after controlling for the same variables. Implications for bi-lingual learners of different ability levels are discussed.

Keywords: Reading comprehension; Inferences; Thai-English speakers; Language transfer