- Do students with reading disabilities who receive a read-aloud accommodation perform better than those not receiving a read-aloud accommodation on items classified as difficult to read, after controlling for overall test performance?
- Do students with reading disabilities who receive a read-aloud accommodation perform better than those not receiving a read-aloud accommodation on items classified as difficult to read, after controlling for overall test performance (Bolt & Thurlow, 2006, p. 8)?
Data was used from three consecutive years of math sections of a statewide assessment. The data was given to the researchers after the assessments were completed. The data was from various math test items anticipated to have different results when compared to the read-aloud accommodation.
Summary of Methods
Participants—the participants included 1,837 fourth-grade students and 2598 eighth-grade students with specific reading disabilities who were required to take an unnamed state’s assessments. All students chosen were receiving special education services and whose learning disability was related to reading. Students were required to take the regular state assessment, the state assessment with accommodations, or an alternate assessment. School IEP teams decided if accommodations or alternate assessments were necessary for students. Students who took the tests were divided into two groups: Group A was provided either no accommodations or setting and time accommodations and Group B was provided read-aloud accommodations and could have had setting and time accommodations.
Setting—there was no formal setting for this study since data was gathered after testing for three years.
Procedures—only multiple-choice math items were chosen for this study. The same multiple-choice questions were given for every year of data. There were 32 questions for fourth graders and 31 questions for eighth graders. Items were classified according to reading complexity. Items were tallied for number of words, syllables, and verbs and classified as “reading-easy (RE)” or “reading-hard (RH).” They were also classified as either “math-easy (ME)” or “math-hard (MH).” Items were then cross-classified as RE/ME, RE/MH, RH/ME, or RH/MH.
Report Data—the results showed that the fourth graders in Group B did much better on the questions that were RH and RH/ME. There was a significant difference in between the groups in eighth grade as well on the RH questions. Both groups did well on the RE/ME questions.
Efficiency Data (if reported)—none reported
Reliability Data—none reported
Validity Data (if reported)—none reported
This study shows that students receiving special education services are more likely to do better on multiple-choice standardized assessments with the read-aloud accommodation on questions that were harder to read. As a math teacher, I agrees with the findings based on her experiences. I have read many SOL tests aloud and have seen how the read-aloud accommodation for students with reading disabilities have been helpful to the students to help them pass. For example, on a practice Algebra I SOL test, I did not give two students the read-aloud accommodation because it was not for a grade. The students would not have passed if the test had been the real assessment because they would have scored below 400. But, on test day, the students were provided the read-aloud accommodation and both students scored over 460. I also agree with the findings that not all questions may need to be read to students. It would be hard for SOL test writers to specify which questions could be read aloud and which could not.
Bolt, S. E., & Thurlow, M. L. (2006). Item-level effects of the read-aloud accommodation
for students with reading disabilities. (Synthesis Report 65). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service Number ED495897).
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