Charter Schools Review Term Paper

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[. . .] Opportunities to visit schools or districts within or outside of the immediate community.

25. Has the Charter school in your District adhered to rules and regulations required by U.S. educational governance standards?

26. What punitive actions are taken against employees within the Charter School for failure to adhere to regulations set by the school board?

27. Are the attendance policies of the school strictly adhered to?

28. Are parents encouraged to participate in school functions and activities?

29. What is the turnover rate of the Charter school in the district where you reside?

30. Why is the charter school in question chosen above others in the area for attendance?

31. What is the turnover rate of teachers in the Charter School presently the focus of this survey?

32. What elements of the Charter School chosen for attendance influenced that decision?

33. Is there a committee that oversees future initiatives in terms of financial and resource planning for the Charter school?

34. If answer 33 was yes, is that committee elected or appointed and if so by who?

35. Are students encouraged to seek assistance in learning from afternoon tutors or any other provision of the school in relation to homework assistance?

36. Who screens the teachers as they are being interviewed and considered for employment with the school?

Rationale for the Survey Questions

The understanding of the demographics of the school are important however, understanding of the methods of instruction applied by teachers, the punitive measures taken in relation to non-performing schools, and other specifically relevant information.

Limitations of the Study

The fact that there is little existing study material in relation to the Charter School, gathering of data may be somewhat broad due to lack of information as to the direction to move towards n study their functioning capacities and achievement as well as their achievement in the education of students within that school.

Reading Instruction Best Practices

Literature Review

Statement of Thesis -- Number Two

'Best Practices" is a phrase that permeates educational research. Recently the National Academy of Sciences released a report concerning how children learn best. This report suggests that there is a set of best instructional practices that can be gleaned from a review of research in education. This work will review the published research concerning best practices in reading instruction and will further develop a set of categories or dimensions that comprise best practices in reading instruction and will as well include a review of the studies that support each category. Finally this work will conclude the review of literature with discussion of the ways that the different dimensions of best practices in reading instruction relate or the way that they do not relate one to the other.

Reading Instruction Best Practices

Literature Review

In the study of educational issues the term 'best practice' is widely and often used to describe that which is the best possible and most affective method of applications in classroom instruction. Specifically in the area of reading instruction the study the determination of best practice in instruction is important for making determination of the most affective instructional methods due to the importance of reading in the attainment of education.

There are a number of text- and student-related factors that make content area reading difficult for some students. In the report entitled "Teaching Children to Read" the National Reading Panel (NRP) in April 2000 stated that there are five key components to effective reading instruction program which are:

1. Phonemic Awareness

2. Phonics

3. Fluency

4. Vocabulary

5. Comprehension

In order for reading instruction to be effective the instructional design should be explicit and direct and should be individualized instruction as well as individualized remediation. Furthermore the instruction should be integrated into sequenced instruction with practice activities inclusive that are based on mastery of reading in order to ensure both the retention of long- and short-term memory retention and application of that memory.

Phonetic instruction claims to be ready for classroom implementations but there are cautions that teachers should consider:

1. PA training does not constitute a complete reading program however it provides the essential foundational knowledge in the alphabetic system.

2. There are many ways to teach PA effectively. Teachers need to evaluate many ways to teach PA effectively.

3. The motivation of both students and their teachers is a critical ingredient of success.

Phonetic instructional approaches are as follows:

Analogy Phonics - Teaching students unfamiliar words by analogy to known words (e.g., recognizing that the rime segment of an unfamiliar word is identical to that of a familiar word, and then blending the known rime with the new word onset, such as reading brick by recognizing that -ick is contained in the known word kick, or reading stump by analogy to jump).

Analytic Phonics -- Teaching students to analyze letters-sound relations in previously learned words to avoid pronouncing sounds in isolation.

Embedded Phonics -- Teaching students phonics skills by embedding phonics instruction in text reading, a more implicit approach that relies to some extent on incidental learning.

Phonics through Spelling -- Teaching students to segment words into phonemes and to select letters for those phonemes (i.e., teaching students to spell words phonemically).

Synthetic Phonics -- Teaching students explicitly to convert letters into sounds (phonemes) and then blend the sounds to form recognizable words.

In a meta-analysis it was found that "systematic phonics instruction produces significant benefits for students in kindergarten through 6th grade and for children having difficulty learning to read." For example:

1. The ability to read and spell words was enhanced in kindergartners who received systematic beginning phonics instruction.

2. First graders who were taught phonics systematically were better able to decide and spell and they showed significant improvement in their ability to comprehend text.

Systematic phonics instruction was shown to improve the ability of those who were already good readers to spell more effectively. The impact of phonics instruction on the spelling of poor readers was small. It is important to understand that systematic phonics instruction is just one of many components included in a complete program of reading instruction. Other components are instruction fluency, and comprehension strategies. Instruction in systematic phonics is designed to increase accuracy in decoding and in word recognition skills. This facilitates comprehension.

Fluency

In terms of fluency it is purported that reading practice is critically important in achieving fluency. Two approaches of instruction have been used in teaching fluency in reading. The first which is repeated oral reading that is guided. The second is independent silent reading which provides encouragement to students in the initiative of reading on their own with little in the way of guidance or feedback.

The NRP in a series of electronic literature searches made identification of 364 literature searches in relation to the effects of guided oral reading instructional practices. 16 studies were included in the meta-analysis and 21 additional studies were used in the meta-analysis were used in the qualitative interpretation of the methods of instruction. It was concluded by the Panel that procedures of guided and repeated reading instruction had a "significant and positive impact" in relation to word recognition, fluency, and comprehension across a range of grade levels."

Comprehension is a vital component in reading skill development and ultimately in achieving educational attainment. According to Durkin, 1993) comprehension is the "essence of reading" and is essential to not only academic learning in all subject areas but to lifelong learning as well." (NRP, 2005) Three themes emerged in the study of development of reading comprehension skills as follows:

1. Reading comprehension is a complex cognitive process that cannot be understood without a clear description of the role that vocabulary instruction play in the understanding of what has been read.

2. Comprehension is an active process that requires intentional thoughtful interaction between the reader and the text.

3. The preparation of teachers to better equip students to develop and apply reading comprehension strategies to enhance understanding is intimately linked to student's achievement in this area."

Vocabulary Instruction

Knowledge of vocabulary is important of reading skill development. In fact as early as 1925 Whipple noted that reading power growth results in word knowledge growth. There are two stated types of vocabulary which are (1) Oral and (2) Print. If the word that is in print is upon sight unfamiliar to the reader but the reader has that word in their individual spoken language knowledge base then the decoding is fairly easy, however if the word is not in the reader's knowledge base the decoding process if practically impossible.

In determining how reading can be best taught in relation to comprehension the NRP study examined over 20,000 research citations that had been identified through search of electronic and manual literature searches. A comprehensive review of literature in 50 studies dated from 1979 to the present with 21 different methods represented state findings that instruction in vocabulary leads to comprehension gains however appropriate methods are required as tot he age and ability of the… [end of preview; READ MORE]

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