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Volume 40, Issue 1 (2011)

Teacher Judgments of Students’ Reading Abilities Across a Continuum of Rating Methods and Achievement Measures

pp. 23—38

Abstract. Teacher judgments about students’ academic abilities are important for instructional decision making and potential special education entitlement decisions. However, the small number of studies evaluating teachers’ judgments are limited methodologically (e.g., sample size, procedural sophistication) and have yet to answer important questions related to teachers’ judgments. Thus, a primary goal of the present study was to examine unanswered questions about teacher judgments (e.g., what is the relationship between teacher judgments and students’ performance on widely used reading measures) and to meaningfully improve upon earlier research methodologically (e.g., involving a large enough sample of teachers for sufficient statistical power). In doing so, teachers’ perceptions of students’ reading performance were examined across five different measures of reading ability, including direct measures such as the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and state-mandated end-of-grade tests, and indirect measures such as a brief teacher rating scale. Findings suggested that teachers had considerable difficulty judging students’ reading levels across most of the measures (e.g., DIBELS and end-of-grade tests), and were better judges of high-performing readers compared to low- and average-performing readers. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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