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PhD ceremony Ms. M.F. van Kuijk: Raising the bar for reading comprehension. The effects of a teacher professional development program targeting goals, data use, and instruction

When:Th 13-03-2014 at 16:15
Where:Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

PhD ceremony: Ms. M.F. van Kuijk

Dissertation: Raising the bar for reading comprehension. The effects of a teacher professional development program targeting goals, data use, and instruction

Promotor(s): prof. R.J. Bosker

Faculty: Behavioural and Social Sciences

As reading constitutes an important basis for learning, working and living, an important goal of primary schools is to equip students with sufficient reading skills. In the research of Mechteld van Kuijk, it was investigated whether an evidence-based teacher Professional Development (PD) program would help to improve students’ reading comprehension skills. The PD program targeted second- and third-grade teachers (student age: 7 to 9 years old) due to concerns about reading performance in this age group. The participating teachers were supported in improving their practice with help of three components: 1) setting standards and performance goals for every student, 2) applying formative assessment and data use, and 3) acquiring relevant instructional skills and (content and curriculum) knowledge in reading comprehension. Using these components, the teachers focused on answering the questions 1) Where am I going?, 2) How am I going? and 3) How can I improve how I am going? The PD program was conducted in the school year of 2011-2012. In total, 33 second- and third-grade teachers (teaching 451 students in 19 schools) participated. It was found that students whose teachers participated in the PD program outperformed comparable students in comparable classes whose teachers did not participate in the program: this advantage was comparable to a little over 6 months of schooling. Almost 80 percent of students in the program performed at or above the desired level. Yet it was found that not all elements from the PD program were implemented by the participating teachers.

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