School Psychology Review

General Issue
Volume 39, Issue 1 (2010 )

Editor: Thomas J. Power

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  • Response to Intervention for Middle School Students With Reading Difficulties: Effects of a Primary and Secondary Intervention

    Sharon Vaughn, Paul T. Cirino, Jeanne Wanzek, Jade Wexler, Jack M. Fletcher, Carolyn D. Denton, Amy Barth, Melissa Romain, and David J. Francis

    pp. 3-21

    Abstract. This study examined the effectiveness of a yearlong, researcher-provided, Tier 2 (secondary) intervention with a group of sixth-graders. The intervention emphasized word recognition, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Participants scored below a proficiency level on their state accountability test and were compared to a similar group of struggling readers receiving school-provided instruction. All students received the benefits of content area teachers who participated in researcher-provided professional development designed to integrate vocabulary and comprehension practices throughout the school day (Tier 1). Students who participated in the Tier 2 intervention showed gains on measures of decoding, fluency, and comprehension, but differences relative to students in the comparison group were small (median d = +0.16). Students who received the researcher-provided intervention scored significantly higher than students who received comparison intervention on measures of word attack, spelling, the state accountability measure, passage comprehension, and phonemic decoding efficiency, although most often in particular subgroups.

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  • Rethinking Response to Intervention at Middle and High School

    Lynn S. Fuchs, Douglas Fuchs, Donald L. Compton

    pp. 22-28

    In “Response to Intervention for Middle School Students With Reading Difficulties: Effects of a Primary and Secondary Intervention,” Sharon Vaughn and colleagues (2010) described a study in which they provided professional development to content area teachers, with the goal of integrating vocabulary and reading comprehension instruction throughout the school day in Tier 1 (i.e., in the general education classrooms). Against this enhanced instructional backdrop, the researchers randomly assigned at-risk students whom they identified based on inadequate performance on the previous year’s high-stakes state reading assessment, to two conditions: business-as-usual school services or a researcher- designed, 32- to 36-week Tier 2 reading intervention focused on decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The researchers delivered this Tier 2 intervention in large groups (i.e., 10–15 students per group) to reflect a logistically feasible model for implementation in real schools. The instruction was conducted for nearly 100 hr per student (SD = 23.1) at one site and 111 hr (SD = 11.6) at a second site. With this ambitious randomized control trial, they examined the efficacy of a response to intervention (RTI) Tier 2 intervention at sixth grade.

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  • A Longitudinal Examination of Young Children's Learning Behavior: Child-Level and Classroom-Level Predictors of Change Throughout the Preschool Year

    Ximena Domínguez, Virginia E. Vitiello, Michelle F. Maier, Daryl B. Greenfield

    pp. 29-47

    Abstract. The studies presented in this article longitudinally examined preschool children’s learning behavior, which has received increased attention in recent years because of its positive influence on school readiness. The first study used a statewide database (N = 23,434) to examine whether and how learning behavior changed over time. The second study (N = 275) examined whether children’s behavioral adjustment and classroom quality significantly predicted learning behavior baseline scores (learning behavior at the beginning of the preschool year) and rates of change throughout the year. Results from both studies indicated that children’s learning behavior became more adaptive throughout the year. Results from the second study suggested that children’s shyness was negatively associated with baseline scores and classroom organization was positively associated with rates of change over time. These findings highlight the importance of identifying children who exhibit underactive behavior such as shyness, as well as the potential role classroom quality may play in fostering adaptive learning behavior.

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  • Identifying Quality in Preschool Education: Progress and Challenge

    Jan N. Hughes

    pp. 48-53

    Domínguez, Vitiello, Maier, and Greenfield (2010) have conducted a methodologically sophisticated study describing the growth of learning behavior among Head Start children. By doing so, they contribute to a growing body of evidence that holds promise for realizing the potential of preschool education to prepare all children for a successful school entry. Recent research has demonstrated the benefits of preschool education for early school success and for narrowing the achievement gap between racial/ethnic and income groups of students (Bogard & Takanishi, 2005; Gormley, Gayler, Phillips, & Dawson, 2005). As a result, most states now provide funding for preschool education, at least for students at risk for academic difficulties (Barnett, Hustedt, Friedman, Boyd, & Ainsworth, 2007).

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  • Teachers' Perceptions of Word Callers and Related Literacy Concepts

    Elizabeth B. Meisinger, Barbara A. Bradley, Paula J. Schwanenflugel, Melanie R. Kuhn

    pp. 54-68

    Abstract. The purpose of the study was to investigate teachers’ perceptions of word callers related to the concepts of reading fluency and reading comprehension. To this end, second-grade students (N = 408) completed a series of reading fluency and reading comprehension assessments, and their teachers (N = 31) completed word caller nominations and a questionnaire regarding their concepts related to these issues. Our findings suggested that teachers often overnominated children as word callers. Further, questionnaire data indicated a great deal of ambiguity and inconsistency exists regarding teachers’ understanding and use of the term word caller. By contrast, teachers seemed to possess a veridical understanding of the related terms reading fluency and reading comprehension.

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  • Meta-Analysis of Acquisition and Fluency Math Interventions With Instructional and Frustration Level Skills: Evidence for a Skill-by-Treatment Interaction

    Matthew K. Burns, Robin S. Codding, Christina H. Boice, G. Lukito

    pp. 69-83

    Abstract. Implementation of effective interventions relies on the use of assessment data to adequately describe the learning problem and offer potential solutions. The use of curriculum-based assessment and measurement when combined with the learning hierarchy could offer a paradigm for decision making based on a skill-by-treatment interaction. Meta-analytic procedures were used to analyze the link between skill proficiency and interventions categorized as addressing acquisition or fluency needs. Results suggest that the skill-by-treatment paradigm may be useful for matching skill levels in math to successful interventions and illustrate the need for additional research examining fluency interventions, particularly for students with instructional-level skills.

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  • School Transitions Among Military Adolescents: A Qualitative Study of Stress and Coping

    Catherine P. Bradshaw, May Sudhinaraset, Kristin Mmari, Robert W. Blum

    pp. 84-105

    Abstract. The research on highly mobile military adolescents has produced mixed findings. Whereas early descriptive studies reported that adolescents experiencing multiple residential moves exhibited symptoms of what was termed military family syndrome, more recent quantitative studies have found few negative effects after controlling for prior status. However, most of the extant research has been conducted during peacetime, and thus may not generalize to today’s mobile military students, whose parents are facing deployment at increasing rates. The current study used qualitative methods to (a) describe the transition-related stressors experienced by mobile military students; (b) describe the efforts employed to help these students cope with their stress; and (c) identify strategies that schools can use to ease the transition process for mobile military students, as reported through 11 focus groups conducted with military students, their parents, and school staff. The findings suggest that the move-related stressors experienced by mobile military students affected their adjustment to the new school environment. Recommendations for supporting mobile military students are provided.

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  • School Functioning in Youth With and Without Anxiety Disorders: Comparisons by Diagnosis and Comorbidity

    Matthew P. Mychailyszyn, Julia L. Mendez, Philip C. Kendall

    pp. 106-121

    Abstract. This article reports on school functioning for 227 youth ages 7–14 (M = 10.3) with principal diagnoses of separation anxiety disorder (n = 40), social phobia (n = 58), generalized anxiety disorder (n = 76), or no diagnoses (n = 53). School functioning data were gathered via parent and teacher report. Youth with no diagnoses demonstrated significantly higher levels of school functioning than those with separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder. The specific anxiety-disordered groups were differentiated to some degree on parent and teacher report of school functioning. Analyses revealed that differences were often attributable to increasingly complex comorbidity. These results underscore the need for services for youth with anxiety given the range of challenges they face in the school environment.

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  • Gender as a Factor in School-Based Mental Health Service Delivery

    Allison A. Friedrich, Linda M. Raffaele Mendez, Stephanie T. Mihalas

    pp. 122-136

    Abstract. There is a large research base indicating numerous gender differences in prevalence rates of psychopathology, the expression of psychopathology, and the etiology of psychopathology across different disorders (Zahn-Waxler, Shirtcliff, & Marceau, 2008). Such documented gender differences in mental health among children and adolescents have significant implications for the provision of school based mental health services. This article provides an overview of the research documenting differences in mental health among children and adolescents and a description of the delivery of gender-informed mental health services through a public health model framework of service delivery. Gender-informed prevention and intervention strategies are presented using specific examples to provide practitioners with a greater awareness of gender differences and their implications for providing mental health services to children and adolescents. The article concludes with recommendations for the field of school psychology.

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  • A Control-Group Comparison of Two Reading Fluency Programs: The Helping Early Literacy With Practice Strategies (HELPS) Program and the Great Leaps K-2 Reading Program

    John C. Begeny, Kelly M. Laugle, Hailey E. Krouse, Amy E. Lynn, Michelle P. Tayrose, Scott A. Stage

    pp. 137-155

    Abstract. Reading fluency is a critical component of effective reading instruction for students of early elementary age. However, national data suggest that 40% of U.S. fourth-grade students are nonfluent readers. Implementing evidence-based, time-efficient, and procedurally standardized instructional strategies may help address this problem. This study evaluates the efficacy of two such programs designed to supplement a core reading curriculum for all emerging readers: the Great Leaps K–2 Reading Program, which is currently used in schools throughout the United States, and the Helping Early Literacy With Practice Strategies (HELPS) Program, which was developed for the purposes of this study. Each program was implemented with second grade participants, and each program was evaluated against a wait-list control group. Results indicated that students receiving the HELPS Program scored significantly better than students in the control group across several measures of early reading, with effect sizes ranging from medium to large. No other statistically significant differences were found. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of increasing the use of evidence-based reading practices in schools.

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