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Faculty Mentors

Sharene Smoot

Abstract

The purpose of this causal comparative study was to examine the effects of reduced class size on reading achievement for second grade students. It is hypothesized that there will be a significant gain in reading achievement for students in a reduced class setting. It is also thought that of those students, boys and minority students will show a considerable increase in their reading achievement. The experimental group receiving small group instruction (n = 82) while the control group (n = 88) from a previous year received reading instruction as a whole with all of their classmates. The procedure consisted of using Early Intervention Program funded teachers to teach classes in science or social studies which were formed by taking half of the students from one homeroom class and half from another homeroom class. Thus the two homeroom teachers were each able to teach reading to the remaining students as a small group. The dependent variable was the end of the year reading score on the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). The pretest was the Accelerated Reader program STAR test on which the control group had higher mean scores (p =.001). An ANCOVA performed on the CRCT scores was statistically significant in favor of the experimental group when the STAR scores were used as the covariate [F (2,167) = 37.6, p<.001]. The effect size was .31. When race and gender were added as independent variables, the difference by race in favor of the African American students approached statistical significance. Although girls did better then boys on the CRCT in both groups, this difference was not statistically significant. Female minority students s?owed the most dramatic gains indicating that small group instruction may be effective in closing the achievement gap for minority students. The data supported the conclusion that small group instruction was more effective than whole group reading instruction.

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