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Running head: LEARNING STYLES OF ELEMENTARY STUDENTS ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

How do the Learning Styles of Elementary School Students Affect their Academic

Performance in English Language Arts?

Victoria Chanda, Jessica Choi, and Ashley Clark

Loyola University Maryland


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Abstract

We set out to investigate how different learning styles affect the academic performance of

elementary school students in English Language Arts. In particular, we considered why

girls outperform boys across all levels of reading throughout the nation. Analyzing fifteen

different articles, we found a variety of factors that affect student reading performance.

These factors include gender and cognitive differences, student-teacher relationships,

culture, classroom management, and comprehension activities. The articles show that girls

outperform boys across all levels of reading throughout the nation. This paper will provide

insight for teachers on ideas to consider when trying to close the academic gap in reading.

Key Terms

Gender differences, reading, achievement, reading attitudes, teacher perceptions, motivation,

academic performance, self-concept


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Students and teachers face many challenges throughout the school day. An important

educational issue that is seen across multiple nations is the gendered learning gap found in

English Language Arts. “Females consistently outperform their male peers in most reading

comprehension assessments at various stages of development and in many countries” (Clinton et

al., 2012). Researchers have studied the issue for years and the findings have not been

linked to one specific cause for the learning gap.

Statement of the Problem

Research shows that boys are not performing at the same level as girls when it comes to

reading. “Boys are more likely than girls to have reading comprehension difficulties as

indicated by a disconnect between a student’s observed reading comprehension

performance and predicted reading comprehension performance based on age and

intellectual ability” (Clinton et al., 2012). It does not help that “at an early age, reading is

recognized within the home environment as an activity more closely associated with females

than males” (Millard, 1997). What then can educators do to help close the gendered reading gap

at school?

Literature Review and Analysis

Field Knowledge

Research suggests that boys are underachieving compared to girls in all aspects of
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reading. Contributing factors include, but are not limited to, motivation, learning disabilities,

classroom management, teaching styles, and teacher’s perceptions of their students. “Within

the classroom environment, whilst all children receive the same literacy instruction,

differences in attention, interest and preference for different types of classroom activities may

mean that boys and girls spend different amounts of time engaged in literacy activities” (Logan

& Johnston, 2010). The studies have suggested that boys are learning at different rates than

girls in reading, thus launching our investigative research into the motivating question: How do

the learning styles of elementary school students affect their academic performance in Reading?

Gender and Cognitive Differences

“The popular press has put forth the idea that the US educational system is experiencing

a ‘boy crisis’, where boys are losing ground to girls across multiple dimensions” (Husain &

Millimet, 2007). We began our research by investigating whether or not gender plays a role in a

student’s success in reading.

Husain and Millimet (2007) study the performance of boys’ and girls’ math as well as

reading achievement in the primary grades. They wanted to see not only if a gender gap

existed, but within which content areas it existed in. The study was completed with the same set

of students as they progressed from the beginning of kindergarten to the end of third grade. The

researchers used a nationally representative panel data set on the students. Panel data contains

observations of multiple phenomena over long periods of time for the individuals who were

chosen for the research. This will allow the researchers to identify whether or not boys have

performed worse/better than girls in math or reading.

The survey data comes from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten

(ECLS-K) Class of 1998-1999. The ECLS-K reports different types of test scores but the focus is
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on math and reading item response theory. Some of the reading test scores evaluate a child’s

ability to identify upper and lower case letters, read words in context and recognize

common words by sight. Some of the math test scores measure the ability to count objects,

solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems, and recognize shapes.

The researchers found that by the end of third grade boys significantly outperform girls in

math. They also found that girls perform significantly better in reading at the start of

kindergarten. What is interesting to note is that African-American and Hispanic boys from low

income families fall behind significantly over the first four years of education, whereas boys who

attend private school are only slightly behind girls in reading.

In a similar cross-continental study by Bergold, Wendt, Kasper, and Steinmayr (2017),

these researchers wanted to see if there was a correlation between 17 countries and their students’

test scores in math, reading, and science, and if these test scores varied by gender.

They used the International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Progress in

International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2011. They started with 32 countries originally

and ended up with 17 that did both of the assessments, in which the countries were part of the

European Union. Gender equity also came into play; what differences would they see (if any) in

the countries that participated? “Sociocultural theory posits that gender differences are

driven by social influences such as societal gender equity” (Bergold, Wendt, Kasper, &

Steinmayr, 2017).

The researchers found that there was some variability across countries. However, girls

consistently scored higher than boys in reading and boys scored higher than girls in math. The

scores for science were similar to math, favoring boys, however the pattern of differences were

inconsistent. Boys were overrepresented at the low and high ends of the proficiency spectrum
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and underrepresented in the middle. The articles above have helped support that there is a

learning gender gap in English Language Arts.

Taking into consideration cognitive differences, brain functioning could be a clue to the

educational gap. You have heard of the myth that boys are slower learners and girls are faster

learners, but is it true? Worden, Hinton, and Fischer (2011) studied to see if the brain had an

impact on the myth that girls are better at reading and boys are better in math and science. Brain

size does correlate with overall body size and men are larger on average than women. Men tend

to have larger brains due to the fact that they tend to have larger physical body frames. There is

no inherent correlation between brain size and intelligence or academic achievement. Of course

there is a difference between males and females based on anatomy and cultural roles, which will

lead to a difference for men and women in every culture.

Overall boys and girls do not have any inherent advantage in general (Worden, Hinton,

& Fischer, 2011). When it comes to thinking about how something looks with limited

information, girls are more advanced in spatial reasoning than boys. When it is communicating

with others with speaking or writing, boys are more advanced than girls in the language

department. “No neuroscientific data suggest that boy’s brains are better suited to any

given domain or subject or vice versa” (Worden, Hinton, & Fischer, 2011). While every

student has their own strengths and weaknesses, no evidence suggests that these profiles are

biologically limited by gender (Worden, Hinton, & Fischer, 2011).

In another research study, Logan and Johnston (2010) reviewed several areas of potential

research in the context of understanding the differences between boys and girls in reading from a

psychological perspective. The following areas were examined within the review: gender

differences in behavioral and motivational factors, gender differences in cognitive abilities,


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gender differences in brain activation during reading, and gender differences in reading strategies

and learning styles. Logan and Johnston (2010) stated that while both genders may be in the

same classroom environment, they are both engaged (or not) in reading activities in different

ways. What stood out most, was the idea that boys are self-reporting more inattentive behaviors

than girls during reading lessons (Logan & Johnston, 2010). Their solution? Reading lessons

designed to keep boys more engaged; targeted synthetic phonics programs that teach one-word

reading strategies that focus on sounding and blending words, can not only help boys retain the

information they are learning, but will keep them engaged in the short lessons as well. Overall,

Logan and Johnston (2010) claim that due to the variation in the population that researchers can

have, all children would benefit from increased understanding of reading development and

comprehension.

Similarly, Quinn and Wagner (2013), studied the gender differences in reading

impairment in a large sample of second grade students that were at risk of or are already

identified as “reading deficient”. Here, the primary goal of the study was to understand

the magnitude of the gender gap, to define reading impairment as understood by teachers and

researchers, and to identify the correlation between the researcher and teacher based

identification procedures for the students in the study with reading impairments.

The researchers collected a large pool of data from 431,103 second grade students in

Florida using the Progress Monitoring and Reporting Network. First, the students were given the

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and Oral Reading Fluency (ORF)

assessments. The students read three passages out loud for one minute, and their score was kept

by the number of words read correctly within that one minute. Second, the DIBELS Nonsense

Word Fluency (NWF) assessment was given to the students where they were given a list of 60
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single syllable, made up words, and read them aloud. Score was kept by how many words were

pronounced correctly. Lastly, The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test required students to point to

the picture that was named (Quinn & Wagner, 2013).

The researchers concluded that gender differences in reading impairment exist, and the

gap between boys and girls increased as the reading deficiency increased as well. Scores were

higher for girls than boys, as more boys were identified by teachers with reading deficiencies

(Quinn & Wagner, 2013). They also stated that there was not a correlation between the

researchers identification of students with a reading disability versus the school’s identification

process. The criteria for each of the processes were different; the researchers only used

the data from the assessments, and the school identified students using their standard

procedures and referral processes. They did find however, that the researchers identified about

20% of students who were not already identified as reading deficient by their school. It is

important to note that the significant gap in the research that Quinn and Wagner (2013)

completed. Based on data alone, how many students are missed being identified as “reading

deficient” in school each year? Could this help to narrow the reading achievement gap

between boys and girls?

Limbrick, Wheldall and Madelaine (2011) completed a study that had several

explanations as to why more boys have a reading disability than girls. The first explanation is

that there is a gender difference in phonemic awareness, which turns into poor reading or reading

disability. The second explanation is that research has indicated a link between reading disability

and auditory processing disorder. The third explanation is the a significant amount of research

linking the gender differences between behavior problems and reading disability. The fourth

explanation relates to the difference in the cognitive ability scores, which demonstrates the
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greater variability on cognitive measures when it comes to boys. This also results in extremes

ends of distribution in the preponderance of boys’. The final explanation is gender differences in

reading motivation, as girls have reported a higher level of motivation in reading than boys

(Limbrick, Wheldall, & Madelaine, 2011).

Throughout the study, the researchers have reported little or no differences in reading

between boys and girls, where others have reported that more boys than girls are poor readers.

Others have reported as a gender ratio of poor reading up to 4:51:1, which shows differences in

studies of assessments, severity of selection and samples (Limbrick, Wheldall, & Madelaine,

2011). Lastly, you can base your findings to Hyde’s similarities hypothesis, which was on

based on 46 meta-analyses. Hyde concluded that boys and girls are more alike than different in

educational and psychological variables. Overall, the findings in this review might show the

differences between boys and girls on various aspects of reading and reading-related aspects but

they are not as large as what was previously noted. The differences do not permanently affect the

reading outcomes (Limbrick, Wheldall, & Madelaine, 2011).

Teacher Perception/Cultures

There are many different variables that affect a child’s education. Student-teacher

relationships and a student’s culture both have a strong impact on learning. “The

gender stereotype of significant others such as parents, peers, or teachers affect

students’ competence beliefs, values, and achievement related behavior. Stereotypically,

gender beliefs about reading favor girls” (Reterlsdorf & Schwartz, 2014). It is important that

teachers become aware of how their words and actions can impact a child’s progress in

reading.

Reterlsdorf and Schwartz (2014) investigated teachers’ gender stereotypes and the
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effects it can have on the reading self-concept of boys. They gave students the Habitual

Reading Motivation Questionnaire to assess reading self-concept. Statements focused

on basic reading skills such as ‘understanding different texts is easy for me’. The second

piece included a survey given to teachers consisting of three questions that measured

their gender stereotypes about reading. They were asked if boys/girls are better

readers, boys/girls read more, and boys/girls have more fun reading. The final piece was a

reading comprehension test from the International Reading Literacy Study. Students had to read

multiple texts and answer questions about the text. The reading achievement test and reading

self-concept measure were given at the beginning of the fifth grade school year and then during

the second half of the sixth grade school year.

The researchers found that teachers believed girls had higher reading abilities than boys.

At the beginning of the study the boys had a higher reading self-concept compared to girls. After

a year and a half, girls had a higher reading self-concept compared to boys. Girls also had higher

reading achievement scores compared to boys. They concluded that there was significant

negative effect of teachers’ gender stereotypes of students’ reading self-concept for boys,

but not girls.

A similar study completed by Boerma, Mol and Jolles (2016) researched reading

motivation and gender differences in 160 5th and 6th graders. They wanted to know the

correlation between teacher perceptions of their students’ reading comprehension and

student’s reading motivation among boys and girls. They used four

assessments/surveys to measure these correlations: Reading Self Concept, Reading

Task Value, Reading Attitude, and Teacher-Perceived Reading Comprehension. Beforehand,

they used a t-test to see if there would be any possible grade level differences among the fifth
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and sixth graders on reading self-concept, value of reading, reading attitude, and teacher

perceived reading comprehension. All of these assessments asked students to evaluate their own

feelings towards reading, using various Likert-type scales, and asked teachers to evaluate their

students perceived reading comprehension based on classroom observations.

Since the researchers did not find any differences in the small group t-test, they used it on

all participants in the study. The t-test showed that there were no gender differences in reading

self concept, but there were differences in students’ reading task value and reading attitude, with

girls scoring higher than boys on both. The teacher’s perceived reading comprehension

survey showed a significant gap between girls and boys, in which girls were much higher.

Boerma, Mol and Jolles (2016) state that there is a correlation between boys and girls reading

motivation and teacher perception of reading comprehension. Not only are students’ reading

behavior and reading comprehension affected by cognitive and linguistic factors (they mentioned

from a previous research study done), but by motivational factors such as how they felt about

reading, their reading self-concept, and reading task value are significant as well. Teachers seem

to naturally focus on girls as readers, without realizing the influence they’re having on both

genders.

A study completed by McCormick and O’Connor (2014) looked at children’s math

and reading achievement from first through fifth grades in relation to teacher-student

relationships. The attachment theory proposes that children who have a positive

relationship with their teacher are able to rely on their teacher and actively explore the school

environment. A high quality relationship may increase students’ learning due to the

supportive environment in which children are motivated and engaged. McCormick and

O’Connor (2014) set out to answer two questions: Do higher levels of teacher-child closeness
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and conflict relate to higher levels of math and reading achievement in elementary school? Do

associations between teacher-child closeness and conflict in math and reading achievement in

elementary school vary by gender?

A fifteen item Student Teacher Relationship Scale was used to look at teacher

perceptions of the quality of relationships in the three grades. They rated how applicable

different statements were to a current relationship with a particular child. There are two parts to

the scale: conflict and closeness. The closeness piece is in regards to how warm a teacher is to

the child and how well the communication is. For example, one statement reads ‘I share an

affectionate, warm relationship with this child’. The conflict piece is in regards to how

disastrous and antagonistic the teacher-child interactions are. For example, ‘this child

and I always seem to be struggling with each other’. Also a reading and math

achievement test was given to all three grades by a field interviewer. They looked at letter-word

identification for reading and applied problems for math. The letter-word scaled consists of 57

items indicating reading identification skills and word decoding. The applied problems scale

consists of 60 items and indicates skills to analyze and solve mathematical problems. This

achievement assessment is widely used and demonstrates consistency.

McCormick and O’Connor (2014) found that students’ reading and math scores

increased over time and teacher-child closeness decreased over time. Teacher-child conflict

increased between first and third grade and then decreased in fifth grade. Boys had significantly

higher levels of conflict with their teachers. Boys had significantly higher levels of math and

reading achievement than girls in first grade, but it wasn’t as significant in third and fifth. The

researchers found that a slight increase in teacher-student conflict led to a very slight

decrease in reading achievement. They also found that a slight increase in teacher-child
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closeness was associated with a higher score in reading achievement. The closeness effects were

nonsignificant for math achievement. There was a significant negative effect for teacher-child

conflict and math achievement for girls, but not for boys. There was no gender difference for

teacher-child closeness and reading achievement.

The study shows the longitudinal connections between teacher-child relationships and

academic achievement during elementary school. “Teacher's role in promoting an

emotionally supportive context and creating warm, respectful relationships with all

students show not be overlooked because of concerns about curriculum and direct

instruction” (McCormick & O’Connor, 2014). Looking to see whether the associations varied

by gender have important implications for practitioners. Girls who had a conflictual relationship

with teachers showed lower math scores and slower growth in math across time. It was closeness

that mattered more for reading development. A close relationship will allow teachers to provide a

positive support system to encourage children during reading.

Another study that shows the impact teachers have on students’ progress in school is

focused on the feedback teachers provide to students. Truckenmiller et al. (2014) wanted to

look at elementary-aged students’ writing fluency growth over an eight-week period. They

wanted to look at the instructional practices, the sex differences, and the student’s initial level of

writing fluency. Students were given a different story starter each week and needed to complete a

narrative story. There were two groups in the study, the first group was part of the individualized

performance feedback condition. Students in the first group received a packet containing

feedback about the story they wrote from the previous week to assist them when answering the

current weeks story starter. The second group, the practice-only condition, was not given any

feedback on their writing.


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What the researchers found was that both girls and boys in the feedback group made

significant progress. Students who were given weekly feedback not only wrote more, but also

used correct punctuation, capitalization and grammar by the end of the study compared to the

control group. The finding is useful for teachers when figuring out instructional practices to use

in the classroom. Although the research was focused on writing and not reading, it is clear that

performance feedback is a critical tool for teachers. As teachers we need to ensure we are

providing feedback to all students to help close any gaps that we may see.

McMillian, Frierson and Campbell (2011) completed a study that shows how important a

positive classroom environment can be for a student. The study examined the gender differences

in academic identification for 113 African American children enrolled in a largely Caucasian

public school in the southeastern part of United States (McMillian, Frierson & Campbell, 2011).

Students’ gender differences in self-esteem, academic self-concept and academic

accomplishment were compared at age 8 and age 12. This is to determine if showing unique

patterns in academic achievement, global self-esteem, and academic self-concept gradually

lessens academical motivation in African-American boys. Demographics information was used

to identify the participants in the study. Age-referenced standard scores for reading and

mathematics were used to measure the academic skill at age 8 and age 12 from the Woodcock-

Johnson Psychoeducational Battery Part Two: Tests of Achievement. Using either Purdue

Preschool Self-Concept Scale or the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social

Acceptance of Young Children, students measured their academic self- concept at age 8 and self-

perceptions of academic competence and global self-worth at age 12 (McMillian, Frierson and

Campbell, 2011).

McMillian, Frierson and Campbell (2011), found that African-American boys and girls
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have similar reading and mathematics achievement test scores in second grade but by the time

they are in eighth grade, it becomes a different story. African-American boys have lower reading

and mathematics achievement test scores, which also includes their GPA (Grade Point Average).

This also indicated that they would be more likely to be enrolled in a special educational and

developmental delay program (McMillian, Frierson & Campbell, 2011). This will become a

larger issue when they transition from middle school to high school.

Based on the data collected from the study, it has come to a realization that boys and girls

performed equally well and displayed similar academic achievement in reading and mathematics,

self-rated academic competence and overall self-esteem at age 12 (McMillian, Frierson &

Campbell, 2011). It is really based on the type of teaching relationship and classroom

management to which students are exposed, as well as students’ willingness to learn.

McGeown, Goodwin, Henderson and Wright (2011) examined the differences in reading

skills and reading motivation by investigating if the differences are accounted by sex or gender

identity. Boys and girls have shown to be different in their reading choices, frequency of reading,

attitudes towards reading, motivation to read, competency beliefs in reading, value of reading

and reading skill (McGeown, Goodwin, Henderson & Wright, 2011). On average, girls are more

motivated to read with greater confidence, positive attitude, higher reading abilities and value of

reading which causes girls to read more frequently. Boys are more interested in math, science

and sports due to their masculine traits. In early ages, reading in the home environment is an

activity that is more associated with females than males. Based on a questionnaire, children

report that their mothers read more than their fathers and that their mothers play a more

significant/important role in teaching them to read (McGeown, Goodwin, Henderson & Wright,

2011). This might help explain why boys and girls regard reading to be more of a feminine
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activity.

The participants that were involved in the study were 182 children (98 males) from 5

primary schools. 63 children were in year 4, 64 were in year 5 and 55 were in year 6. The

materials used to conduct the study were questionnaires. The “Motivation for Reading

Questionnaire (MRQ) Revised Version” (Wigfield & Gurthrie, 1997) was used to assess

reading motivation (McGeown, Goodwin, Henderson & Wright, 2011). It included

important aspects of intrinsic (concepts of curiosity - the desire to learn about a specific topic in

which they are interested), and extrinsic motivation (the concept of recognition- the satisfaction

in receiving a concrete form of recognition for success in reading) and lastly grades (the desire to

be evaluated approvingly by the teacher). The questions were answered by using the Likert Scale

(4= a lot like me, 3=a little like me, 2=a little different from me and 1=very different from me)

(McGeown, Goodwin, Henderson & Wright, 2011). The second questionnaire was “The

Children’s Sex Role Inventory (CSRI) Short Form were used to assess gender roles.

This inventory measures the traditional masculine traits, feminine traits, and neutral

traits. They also used the Likert Scale to answer the questions (4=very true to me, 3=mostly true

to me, 2= a little true to me and 1=not true to me at all) (McGeown, Goodwin, Henderson and

Wright, 2011).

As a result, girls scored higher in reading skill, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation,

efficacy (intrinsic), curiosity (intrinsic), involvement (intrinsic), recognition (extrinsic), grades

(extrinsic) and feminine traits. The only domain in which males scored higher was in the

masculine traits area with a score of 29.20 (McGeown, Goodwin, Henderson & Wright, 2011).

At the end, sex is often used as a way to understand educational differences but should not be

used to cover the differences within the school population and student difference as an
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individual. Each child is different and learns differently.

Classroom Management

Another variable that seems to have a profound effect on student’s literacy engagement

and achievement is teacher’s classroom management. Garwood and Vernon-Feagans

(2017) bring forth the idea that “although classroom management strategies can benefit

children with behavior problems, it is not clear whether these students need consistently

good classroom management across the early elementary school years to improve their

academic performance.” While this is a key idea, many teachers are not consistent in their

classroom management styles, and student populations vary among classes.

Garwood and Vernon-Feagan (2017) studied the relationship between years of observable

high-quality classroom management from kindergarten to third grade in relation to third grade

literacy achievement in rural children identified as emotionally and behaviorally disturbed. They

used the Family Life Project to identify children born in 2003-2004 in rural North Carolina and

Pennsylvania. Third grade teachers used the strengths and differences questionnaire to rate their

students to help identify children with or at risk for emotional behavioral disorders, and the

researchers used the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) to rate teacher interactions

with students in the classroom. They used the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement to

measure students’ general scholastic aptitude, academic achievement, and oral language skills

(Garwood & Feagan, 2017).

Overall, the researchers found that there were differences in the students identified as

having consistent classroom management, and those that did not. The effect for high-quality

management was not deemed as “significant” for girls, but for boys it was. Garwood and

Feagan (2017) noted that among the genders, the only significant behavioral differences were the
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types of behaviors that were exhibited. Boys were often externalizing (or showing) their

behaviors, and girls were rated higher on internalizing (or not showing) behaviors. Thus

concluding that overall, higher-quality classroom management exhibited by teachers within the

first four years of schooling, could provide insight as to why boys who are identified as having

an emotional behavioral disorder achieve higher test scores when they have had consistent high-

quality management. One question remains: why does management quality not have an effect on

how girls achieve.

Another research article discusses a school district in South Carolina where schools are

offering gender-based classes to promote early academic and behavior success for students. Thus

far, the single-gender classrooms have produced positive outcomes for students, teachers and

parents. They have invigorated teachers, engaged students and involved parents. In 2007, they

had 70 schools begin with single-gender education in their schools and by 2008; they had more

than 200 schools. With this high expectation, they are predicting at least 230 schools in rural,

suburban and urban districts to begin the school year of 2009-2010 with single- gender classes

(Rex & Chawell, 2009).

How is this going to work and what benefits are there to single-gender classrooms?

Educators in local schools determine how single-gender classes can match up with current

teaching. This will not replace current instructional strategies but this will be a channel to

engaging the students by altering their structure of classes and student dynamics. Based on a

survey, the students’ responses pointed out an increase in participation as well as their

willingness to try new learning activities within single-gender classes. The single-gender classes

are targeted on core academic areas like English Language Arts, Math, and Science (Rex &

Chawell, 2009).
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Single-gender classrooms are becoming so successful in South Carolina because of the

close partnership between South Carolina Department of Education, local schools, and parents.

Schools receive state-run-training sessions, resources and workshops to successfully implement

single-gender programs. The state education agency visits schools to provide staff members with

professional development in gender-related strategies for the classroom. In June, they were the

first to create a single-gender advisory committee of educators from across the state (Rex &

Chawell, 2009).

Single-gender classrooms have produced positive results within South Carolina’s

education system. At least 30 more are expected to open in the fall and only 5 schools are

taking out the single-gender classes due to budget and staffing cuts. Overall, schools in South

Carolina are reporting an increase in academic performance and decrease in disciplinary issues

for both boys and girls. For example: Taylor Elementary School in Greenville drop discipline

referrals from 0.36 per student in 2007-1008 to 0.06 per student in 2008-2009. Whittemore Park

Middle School in Conway had 4 F’s compared to the previous school year of more than 50

F’s in a co-ed classroom. Geiger Elementary School in Fairfield County reported an increase in

percentage of 5th graders scoring proficient or advanced levels on state assessments. Boys have

improved in math from 16.5 percent proficient/advanced co-ed classes to 31.3 percent in single-

gender classes. Girls have improved from 19% to 42% proficient/advanced in reading from coed

to single-gender classes. Kingstree Junior High in Williamsburg County has dropped percentage

of 7th grade males scoring below basic from 55% in 2006 to 30% in 2008. Girls in 7th grade have

improved from 25% below basic to only 11% during the same time (Rex & Chadwell, 2009).

78% of parents are very satisfied with single-gender education based on the annual parent

survey. More than two-thirds of the parents are indicated that they see an increase in their child’s
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self-confidence, independence and self-efficacy (Rex & Chawell, 2009). Single-gender

classrooms are successful if the proper training and motivation is involved in all parties

from students, teachers and parents. Engagement of teachers, parents and students will meet all

the individual needs and interests of every child.

Comprehension

“Gender differences in performance on reading comprehension assessments seem to be

due to the comprehension activities rather than the decoding activities associated with reading”

(Clinton et al., 2012). An interesting research study completed by Clinton et al. (2012)

investigated if there were any gender differences among elementary school students in regards to

the inferences they made during English Language Arts. Specifically, the researchers hoped to

find that females generate more reinstatement inferences than males.

Students had to complete a Reading Comprehension Test prior to the study. It contained

eleven short texts with two to six multiple choice questions after each text. Students also

completed a think aloud task containing one practice text and one experimental text which was

twenty-one sentences long. The think-aloud task was given to students during individual

sessions. Before beginning, the experimenter modelled ways to respond ‘out-loud’ and then

informed students they would have to answer two comprehension questions after.

Students read each text sentence by sentence. After each sentence the student would

make a comment and the experimenter would record the response.

The researchers found that females generated more reinstatement inferences than males.

Females also produced more responses overall than males. There was no significant correlation

between basic reading comprehension skill and the number of reinstatement inferences the

students made. Gender differences were not found on the comprehension assessment. Clinton et
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al. argued that without effective inference generation, students in later school grades struggle

with reading to learn; they exhibit difficulties in understanding the material presented to them in

texts (as cited in Best et al., 2005).

Gender differences are not inherent and can be changed. With proper practice and

guidance, students can improve on tasks regardless of gender. Reading interventions that focus

on inferences may be helpful for male students at the elementary school level. Encouraging all

readers to make inferences when they process texts can help reduce gender differences and

improve reading comprehension.

Further Questions

We would want to take into account the variables of student achievement such as:

learning disabilities, cultural perceptions on academic achievement, teacher-student

relationships, socioeconomic status, cognitive development, and teaching style just to name a

few. Thinking about the different contributions to the gender gap, does the classroom

environment pass as more influential than other areas taken into consideration? What if we have

better teachers with good classroom management, know the pedagogy when it comes to the

learning differences between boys and girls, and have strong relationships with students as

readers? Is this still even enough when parents might not be having students read at home and

just leave the learning for school? Could the gender gap be closed even if it is a little bit? The

research that we looked at did not have a lot of information on socio-economic status and

cultural perceptions on academic achievement. If the results we found in our study were not

promising then we would want to extend our specific question to look at these variables as well.

Research Question

Our main research question would be: How do different classroom environments affect
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the academic performance of elementary school students in English Language Arts?

Importance

Studies have shown that the largest gender gap occurs in English Language Arts in not

only achievement but motivation and perception as well. As teachers we want to ensure that all

students are capable of succeeding in the classroom environments that we create. Creating a

classroom environment that encourages students to take risks and feel comfortable during

reading class can move us one step closer to closing the educational gender gap.

Proposed methodology

The type of methodology we would use to complete our study would be quantitative.

First we would strictly use the data from the benchmarking assessments that the students would

take for reading through the school district. The second piece of data would be a student survey

consisting of questions regarding students’ perceptions of reading on the Likert Scale. For

example, we would ask students to agree or disagree with statements such as: I enjoy reading for

fun, I am a confident reader, I like reading out loud to someone else, I like participating in

classroom discussions on novels, I know my Lexile level, and I am comfortable asking the

teacher for help when it comes to reading.

Expected outcomes

We expect to see that students who rate themselves on the lower side of the Likert Scale

for the reading perception questions will score lower on the benchmarking assessment. We

expect to see that students who rate themselves on the higher side of the Likert Scale for the

reading perception questions will score higher on the benchmarking assessment. Finally, students

who rate themselves neutral for the reading perception questions will score lower on the

benchmarking assessment. Things that we would want to look out for are different variables that
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could affect student performance. These include, but are not limited to, time taken on test,

amount of sleep, proper nutrition, testing anxiety, and learning disabilities.

References

Bergold, S., Wendt, H., Kasper, D., & Steinmayr, R. (2017). Academic competencies: Their

interrelatedness and gender differences at their high end. Journal of Educational

Psychology, 109(3), 439-449. doi:10.1037/edu0000140

Boerma,Inouk E., Mol, Suzanne E. & Jolles, Jelle (2016) Teacher Perceptions Affect Boys’

and Girls’ Reading Motivation Differently, Reading Psychology, 37:4, 547- 569, DOI:

10.1080/02702711.2015.1072608

Garwood, J. D., & Vernon-Feagans, L. (2017). Classroom management affects literacy

development of students with emotional and behavioral disorders.Exceptional

Children, 83(2), 123-142. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy-

ln.researchport.umd.edu/10.1177/0014402916651846

Husain, M., & Millimet, D. (2007). The mythical ‘boy crisis’? Economics of Education

Review, 28, 38-48. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2007.11.002

Limbrick, L., Wheldall, K., & Madelaine, A. (2011). Why Do More Boys Than Girls Have

a Reading Disability? A Review of the Evidence . Australasian Journal of Special

Education , 35(1), 1-24. doi:10.1375/ajse.35.1.1

Logan, S., & Johnston, R. (2010). Investigating gender differences in reading. Educational

Review, 62(2), 175-187. doi:10.1080/00131911003637006


LEARNING STYLES OF ELEMENTARY STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE ON 24
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

McCormick, M. & O’Connor, E. (2014). Teacher-Child Relationship Quality and

Academic Achievement in Elementary School: Does Gender Matter? Journal of

Educational Psychology, 107, 502-516. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0037457

Mcgeown, S., Goodwin, H., Henderson, N., & Wright, P. (2011). Gender differences in reading

motivation: does sex or gender identity provide a better account? Journal of Research in

Reading,35(3), 328-336. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9817.2010.01481.x

McMillian, M. M., Frierson, H. T., & Campbell, F. A. (2010). Do Gender Differences Exist

in the Academic Identification of African American Elementary School-Aged

Children? Journal of Black Psychology,37(1), 78-98.

doi:10.1177/0095798410366709

Quinn, J. M., & Wagner, R. K. (2013). Gender Differences in Reading Impairment and in

the Identification of Impaired Readers: Results From a Large-Scale Study of At- Risk

Readers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48(4), 433-445. doi:10.1177/0022219413508323

Retelsdorf, J., & Schwartz, K. (2014). “Michael Can’t Read!” Teacher’s Gender

Stereotypes and Boys’ Reading Self Concept. Journal of Education Psychology,

107, 186-194. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0037107

Rex, J., & Chadwell, D. (2009, September). Single-gender classrooms: in South Carolina,

schools flock to offer separate classes with promising early results for students. School

Administrator, 66(8), 28+. Retrieved from

http://go.galegroup.com.proxyln.researchport.umd.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&

u=loyoland_main&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA208273740&asid=80e94a9ea8605

3645a36aedab12b111

Spironelli, C., Penolazzi, B., & Angrilli, A. (2010). Gender differences in inference
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generation by fourth-grade students. Journal of Research in Reading, 37(4), 356- 374.

doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9817.2012.01531.x

Truckenmiller, A., Eckert, T., Codding, R. & Petscher, Y. (2014). Evaluating the impact of

feedback on elementary aged students’ fluency growth in written expression: A

randomized controlled trial. Journal of School Psychology, 52, 531-548.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2014.09.001

Worden, J. M., Hinton, C., & Fischer, K. W. (2011). What Does the Brain Have to Do with

Learning? . Kappan Magazine,92(8), 8-13. Retrieved from

http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxyln.researchport.umd.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfvie

wer?sid=9ccd22c746219ff7ad6133b8e3a3%40sessionmgr4007&vid=22&hid=42
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Individual Article Review Sheet

Your Name: Tori Chanda

Article Citation:

Husain, M., & Millimet, D. (2007). The mythical ‘boy crisis’? Economics of Education

Review, 28, 38-48. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2007.11.002

What is studied?

The researchers study the performance of boys’ and girls’ math as well as reading

achievement in the primary grades. They chose to study this because of different claims being

made that girls are performing better than boys across the curriculum. They wanted to see not

only if a gender gap exists, but what content areas it exists in.

What methodology is used?

The methodology used in the study is quantitative. The researchers use a nationally

representative panel data set on students from kindergarten through third grade. Panel data

involves measurements that are taken over time. It contains observations of multiple phenomena
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over long periods of time for the individuals who were chosen for the research. This will allow

the researchers to identify whether or not boys have performed worse/better than girls in math or

reading. The sample includes 17,565 children from 994 schools across the US.

There are five points in time where a survey is given out. Fall and spring kindergarten

(1998-1999), fall and spring first grade (1999-2000), and spring third grade (2001-2002). The

survey data comes from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten (ECLS-K) Class

of 1998-1999. The ECLS-K reports different types of test scores but the focus is on math and

reading item response theory. Some of the reading test score evaluates a child’s ability to identify

upper and lower case letters, read words in context and recognize common words by sight. Some

of the math test scores measures the ability to count objects, solve addition, subtraction,

multiplication and division problems, and recognize shapes.

How is the data analyzed?

First the researchers investigate average unconditional differences in math and reading at

various points in time. They look at this for all students and also separately by race: Caucasian,

African American, and Hispanic. They also look at biological or behavioral differences. Husain

and Millimet (2007) look at the child’s age, child’s birthweight, social economic status (SES),

number of books at the child’s home, mother’s age at first birth, and is the child’s mother

received WIC benefits during pregnancy. Next they look to see if the average gaps are

representative of an entire population.

What does the researcher (s) find?

When looking at the biological or behavior differences the researches found that boys are

“more likely to reside in the south, are half a year older, raised in households with a slightly

higher SES, have fewer children’s books, and tend to weigh more at birth” (Husain & Millimet,
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2007). Although our focus isn’t on Math, I thought the results of the study were interesting.

Boys not only outperform girls upon school entry for Math practices but the gap increases over

the first four years of school. The gap doubles by the end of kindergarten and then doubles again

by the end of first grade. They looked at race as well and noticed that there is no statistically

significant gender gap in any of the primary grades for African American or Hispanic students,

however for Caucasian students there is a significant gender gap.

The reading results were the focus for our research. “The gaps favoring girls in reading

are initially larger in magnitude that the gaps favoring boys in math” (Husain & Millimet, 2007).

Reading is in favor of girls from all races, but the most significant data favors Hispanic girls in

reading. Husain and Millimet (2007) found that boys who attend private schools may be lower

than girls at the beginning of kindergarten for reading, but by the end of third grade they reduce

the gap by 50%. Boys who attend public schools begin kindergarten closer to girls and then lose

ground over the first four years of school. The gap widens for African American and Hispanic

public school students from low SES households.

What conclusions does the researcher (s) make?

The researchers made two main conclusions. The first conclusion was that by the end of

third grade Caucasian boys outperform Caucasian girls in math. There was less evidence to

support the other races. The second main conclusion was that girls perform better in reading at

the start of kindergarten and at the end of third grade across all races. What is interesting to note

is that only the lowest achieving boys fall behind over the first four years of education, where as

other boys are only slightly behind girls.

Individual Article Review Sheet


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ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

Your Name: Tori Chanda

Article Citation:

Retelsdorf, J., & Schwartz, K. (2014). “Michael Can’t Read!” Teacher’s Gender

Stereotypes and Boys’ Reading Self Concept. Journal of Education Psychology,

107, 186-194. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0037107

What is studied?

The researchers wanted to study whether teachers’ gender stereotypes have a

negative effect on the reading self-concepts of boys, as opposed to girls. “The gender

stereotype of significant others such as parents, peers, or teachers affect students’

competence beliefs, values, and achievement related behavior. Stereotypically, gender

beliefs about reading favor girls” (Retelsdorf & Schwartz, 2014). Little is known about the

negative effects of stereotypes for boys in reading, whereas there has been some research on the

negative effects of stereotypes for girls in mathematics. Since gender plays an important role in

shaping students’ ability self-concepts, the researchers chose to focus in on boys’ stereotypes

and reading. The study consisted of 1,358 students, 51% of which were boys. There were also 54

teachers involved in the study, 66% were women.

What methodology is used?

The methodology used was mixed methods. The researchers looked at three pieces of

information. They gave students the Habitual Reading Motivation Questionnaire to assess

reading self-concept. There were four items that measured students’ evaluations of their own

reading skills. Questions were in regards to basic reading skills such as ‘understanding texts is

easy for me’. The second piece includes a survey given to teachers consisting of three questions

that measure their gender stereotypes about reading. They were asked if boys/girls are better
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readers, boys/girls read more, and boys/girls have more fun reading. The third piece was reading

comprehension tests from the International Reading Literacy Study. Students had to read

multiple texts and answer questions about the text. There were 27 items total, mostly multiple

choice, with some open-ended. The reading achievement test and reading self-concept measure

was given at the beginning of the 5th grade school year and then during the second half of the

sixth grade school year.

How is the data analyzed?

The reading self-concept questionnaire was rate on a 4-point Likert-type scale where 1

meaning ‘does not apply to me’ and 4 meaning ‘applies to me’. The teacher survey was rated on a

5 point Likert-type scale with 1 meaning ‘boys much better/more’ and 5 meaning ‘girls much

better/more’. According to Retelsdorf and Schwartz (2014) the reading achievement assessment

was estimated by applying the partial credit model, because some items were scored

polytomously. The researchers looked at the relationship between students’ self-concept and

teachers’ gender stereotypes by means of multiple group multilevel modeling using Mplus

Version 7.1. They did the same thing with teachers’ gender stereotypes and reading

assessment, as well as reading assessment and student’s self-concept.

What does the researcher (s) find?

A high score in Retelsdorf and Schwartz’s (2014) study showed that teachers believed

that girls had higher reading abilities than boys. Boys had a higher reading self-concept at the

beginning of fifth grade compared to girls. Girls had a higher reading self-concept during the

middle of sixth grade compared to boys. Girls also had higher reading achievement scores during

the beginning of fifth grade compared to boys. Retelsdorf and Schwartz (2014) found a

significant negative effect of teachers’ gender stereotypes on students’ reading self-concept


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recorded for boys but not for girls. What the researches made sure to include was that the

teachers’ gender was not a significant predictors of boys’ and girls’ reading self-concepts.

What conclusions does the researcher (s) make?

The researchers’ hypothesis was confirmed when saying that boys’ reading self-concept

was lower for students whose teachers reported high scores for gender stereotypes. They

concluded that not only do gender stereotypes have short-term effects but can also explain long-

term effects on the development of reading self-concept. The research they conducted can help

explain to some extent why gender differences in regards to reading self-concept can increase

over time. They want teachers to know that their beliefs can/do have consequences and whether

they are aware of it or not it can impact their treatment of boys and girls in the classroom. They

conclude by giving suggestions on how teachers can counteract prior gender stereotypes by

making expectations very clear in class that boys and girls perform equally well.

Individual Article Review Sheet

Your Name: Tori Chanda

Article Citation:

Spironelli, C., Penolazzi, B., & Angrilli, A. (2010). Gender differences in inference

generation by fourth-grade students. Journal of Research in Reading, 37(4), 356- 374.

doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9817.2012.01531.x

What is studied?

The researchers wanted to determine if there were any gender differences among

elementary school students in regards to the inferences they made during English Language Arts.

130 girls and 126 boys in the fourth grade completed think-aloud tasks while reading a practice
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text as well as an experimental narrative text. The students came from 13 classrooms in three

elementary schools in an upper Midwestern urban area in the US. The racial background is

primarily Caucasian, with African American, Asian and Hispanic students as well. Spironelli et.

Al (2010) note that gender differences in performance on reading comprehension assessment

seem to be due to the comprehension activities rather than the decoding activities associated with

reading. This is why the researchers chose to look for gender differences in language

comprehension skills, with a specific focus on inferencing. “Without effective inference

generation, Students in later school grades struggle with reading to learn; they exhibit

difficulties in understanding the material presented to them in texts”. (Spironelli et. Al, 2010).

Specifically, the researchers hope to find that females generate more reinstatement inferences

than males.

What methodology is used?

The study used mixed methods for the methodology. Students had to complete a Reading

Comprehension Test prior to the study beginning. It contained 11 short texts with two to six

multiple choice questions after each text. Participants were given 35 minutes to read the 11 texts

and answer 48 multiple choice questions.

The think aloud task contained one practice text and one experimental text which was 21

sentences long. The think-aloud task was given to students during individual sessions. Before

beginning, the experimenter modelled way to respond ‘out-loud’ and then informed students they

would have to answer two comprehension questions after. Students read each text sentence by

sentence. After each sentence the student would make a comment and the experimenter would

record the response.

How is the data analyzed?


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The data from the task was transcribed and coded into the following categories:

connective inferences, reinstatement inferences, knowledge-based inferences, associations, text

repetitions, paraphrases, questions, affective responses, evaluative comments, and meta-

cognitive comments. Inferences were also coded based off of whether they were accurate and

consistent with the text or not. The researchers also “examined the number of reinstatement

inferences generated and the proportion of reinstatement inferences of all responses provided by

participants during the think-aloud tasks” (Spironelli et al., 2010). Also, researchers looked at

the total number of think-aloud responses produced to determine if one gender gave more

responses than another. One- way ANOVA was used to were conducted during this study.

What does the researcher (s) find?

Females generated more reinstatement inferences than males. Females also produced

more responses overall than males. There was no significant correlation between basic reading

comprehension skill and the number of reinstatement inferences the students made. Gender

differences were not found on the comprehension assessment.

What conclusions does the researcher (s) make?

The researchers note that gender differences are not inherent and can be changed. With

proper practice and guidance students can improve on tasks regardless of gender. Reading

interventions that focus on inferences may be helpful for male students at the elementary school

level. Encouraging all readers to make inferences when they process texts can help reduce

gender differences and improve reading comprehension.

Individual Article Review Sheet

Your Name: Tori Chanda


LEARNING STYLES OF ELEMENTARY STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE ON 34
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

Article Citation:

Truckenmiller, A., Eckert, T., Codding, R. & Petscher, Y. (2014). Evaluating the impact of

feedback on elementary aged students’ fluency growth in written expression: A

randomized controlled trial. Journal of School Psychology, 52, 531-548.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2014.09.001

What is studied?

The researchers wanted to look at elementary-aged students’ writing fluency growth in

response to three informative pieces. They wanted to look at the instructional practices, the sex

differences, and the student’s initial level of writing fluency. 133 third grade students from three

urban elementary schools participated in the study. 46 students were randomly assigned to an

individualized performance feedback condition, 39 students to a practice-only condition, and 48

students to an instructional control condition. The study lasted for 8 weeks. 78% of the students

qualified for free or reduced lunch and 80% of the students came from low SES households.

What methodology is used?

A mixed methodology was used for the study. Students had to complete a Test of Written

Language- Third Edition to quantify each student’s writing ability. Students also had to complete

a Curriculum-based measurement probe in written expression (CBM-WE). This was given

weekly. Students were given a different story starter each week. They were given a short

sentence fragment that they then needed to continue writing a narrative story about. There was

also a survey that assessed student’s own perception of the writing procedures.

There were two groups in the study. Group one was part of the individualized

performance feedback condition. Students received a packet containing feedback about the

CBM-WE from the previous week to assist them in answering the current weeks CBM-WE. The
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second group, the practice-only condition, was not given feedback.

How is the data analyzed?

The Test of Written Language-Third Edition was evaluated in conventions, language, and

story construction. The Curriculum-based measurement probe in written expression was

evaluated for Total Written Words (TWW) and Correct Writing Sequence (CWS). TWW was

calculated by counting all words, even if they were misspelled. CWS looked at correct spelling,

punctuation and grammar. The survey was rated on a 5 point Likert-type scale. Multi-level

growth modeling was used in the study. Truckenmiller et al. (2014) discussed how it retains

individual differences by modeling each individual’s intercept and slope estimates, it detects

variables affecting incremental changes in outcome variables, it accommodates missing data, and

it detects variables that may affect outcome measures.

What does the researcher (s) find?

Students wrote an average of 31 words in 3 minutes. Girls outperformed boys when it

came to the total words written. Both girls and boys made significant progress if they were in the

feedback group. Students who were given weekly feedback achieved a higher level of TWW by

the end of the study compared to the control group. The growth rate for the feedback group was

stronger than the control group.

What conclusions does the researcher (s) make?

The finding is useful for teachers to think about when figuring out instructional practices

in the classroom. Students who were exposed to writing on a frequent basis improved more with

their writing then students who did not. Performance feedback is a critical tool for teachers.

Truckenmiller et al. (2014) conclude that performance feedback and not practice is a primary
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change agent and can be added to typical instructional practices. As teachers we need to ensure

we are providing feedback to all students to help close any writing fluency gaps that we may see.

Individual Article Review Sheet

Your Name: Tori Chanda

Article Citation:

McCormick, M. & O’Connor, E. (2014). Teacher-Child Relationship Quality and

Academic Achievement in Elementary School: Does Gender Matter? Journal of

Educational Psychology, 107, 502-516. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0037457

What is studied?

The researchers studied children’s math and reading achievement from first through fifth

grades in relation to teacher-student relationships. McCormick and O’Connor (2014) discuss the

attachment theory and how children who have a positive relationship with their teacher are able

to rely on their teacher and actively explore the school environment. A high quality relationship

may increase students’ learning due to the supportive environment in which children are

motivated and engaged.

McCormick and O’Connor (2014) set out to answer two questions: 1) Do higher levels of

teacher-child closeness and conflict relate to higher levels of math and reading achievement in

elementary school? Similarly, are change in teacher-child closeness and conflict associated with

changes in math and reading achievement in elementary school? Do associations between

teacher-child closeness and conflict and math and reading achievement in elementary school

vary by gender?
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Participants came from 10 American cities. The random sampling was designed to

include families from different economic backgrounds, ethnic groups, and geographical

locations. 1,364 mothers and children enrolled in the study. The analysis relied on first, third, and

fifth graders. 48% were female, 80% were Caucasian, 13% were African American, 6% were

Hispanic and 5% were Asian (McCormick & O’Connor, 2014). More than three quarters of the

students had mothers who were married and 35% of the mothers had a college degree. 96% of

the first grade teachers were women and 92% of the teachers were Caucasian (McCormick &

O’Connor, 2014).

What methodology is used?

A quantitative methodology was used in the study. A fifteen item Student Teacher

Relationship Scale was used to look at teacher perceptions of the quality of relationships in the

three grades (McCormick & O’Connor, 2014). They rated how applicable different statements

were to a current relationship with a particular child. There are two parts to the scale: conflict

and closeness. The closeness piece is in regards to how warm a teacher is to the child and how

well the communication goes. For example, one statement says ‘I share an affectionate, warm

relationship with this child’. The conflict piece is in regards to how disastrous and

antagonistic the interactions are. For example, ‘this child and I always seem to be

struggling with each other’.

A reading and math achievement test was given to all three grades by a field interviewer.

They looked at letter-word identification for reading and applied problems for math. The letter-

word scaled consists of 57 items indicating reading identification skills and word decoding. The

applied problems scale is 60 items and indicates skills to analyze and solve mathematical

problems. This achievement assessment is widely used and demonstrates consistency. The
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researchers took into consideration different covariates that they would need to control. They

looked at the home environment, child characteristics, gender, race, maternal characteristics,

household characteristics, and teacher characteristics.

How is the data analyzed?

The Student Teacher Relationship Scale used a 5-point Likert scale to look at the data. A

score of 1 referred to ‘definitely does not apply’ and 5 meaning ‘definitely applies’. The reading

and math assessment were measured with the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery

(McCormick & O’Connor, 2014). W Scores were given and were used because it makes it easier

to document change over time. The measurement looks at the person’s ability and task difficulty.

To look at the main question, the researchers used hierarchical linear modeling. “Hierarchical

linear modeling allows one to model change over time in an outcome with repeated measures”

(McCormick & O’Connor, 2014).

What does the researcher (s) find?

McCormick and O’Connor (2014) found that students’ reading and math scores

increased over time and teacher-child closeness decreased over time. Teacher-child conflict

increased between first and third grade and then decreased in fifth grade. Boys had significantly

higher levels of conflict with their teachers. Boys had significantly higher levels of math and

reading achievement than girls in first grade, but it wasn’t as significant in third and fifth. The

researchers found that a slight increase in teacher-student conflict led to a very slight

decrease in reading achievement. They also found that a slight increase in teacher-child

closeness was associated with a higher score in reading achievement. The closeness effects were

nonsignificant for math achievement. There was a significant negative effect for teacher-child

conflict and math achievement for girls, but not for boys. There was no gender difference for
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teacher-child closeness and reading achievement.

What conclusions does the researcher (s) make?

The study shows the longitudinal connections between teacher-child relationships and

academic achievement during elementary school. “Teachers’ role in promoting an emotionally

supportive context and creating warm, respectful relationships with all students show not be

overlooked because of concerns about curriculum and direct instruction” (McCormick &

O’Connor, 2014). Looking to see whether the associations varied by gender have important

implications for practitioners. Girls who had a conflictual relationship with teachers showed

lower math scores and slower growth in math across time. It was closeness that mattered more

for reading development. A close relationship will allow teachers to provide a positive support

system to encourage children during reading. As children became older, closeness mattered more

than conflict for academic outcomes.