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Teachers ́ assessment of children’s oral language and literacy achievement: a multilevel approach

Poster
Authors Irma Brkovic
Gordana Kerestes
Erland Hjelmquist
Tomas Tjus
Published in 18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology. Utrecht, Netherlands: August 29 - September 1
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Department of Psychology
Language en
Links www.ecdp2017.nl/
Keywords oral language, teachers´ assessment, literacy achievement, early schooling
Subject categories Psychology, Educational Sciences

Abstract

Most of the research addressing relations between oral language and reading and writing competencies has been conducted with children having reading and/or writing difficulties. Oral language was mostly measured through its various components, such as vocabulary, with predictor(s) and criteria often sharing method variance. Also, traditional approach to data analyses often fail to account for clustered nature of data collected at both pupils´ and teachers´ level. The aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of oral language to explaining variance in three reading and writing achievement indicators in general population (word decoding speed, reading comprehension, and word spelling accuracy), taking data nesting into account. A total of 723 students (48% girls) from 2nd and 3rd grades participated, together with 31 of their teachers. Teachers assessed the quality of student´s overall use of oral language on six indicators. Reading and writing competencies were assessed by group tests: Word chains, Spelling test and Reading comprehension test, as part of a larger intervention project. Applying hierarchical linear modelling allowed us to control for data nesting and dependence of teacher´s assessments on classroom-level. Average class size was 23 pupils (ranging from 14 to 29). Intraclass correlations (ICC) were calculated for all three outcomes and predictor, and appropriateness of multilevel approach to data analysis was is confirmed. ICC for word-spelling accuracy and word decoding speed was significant for 2nd graders, and word-spelling accuracy and teachers´ assessment of oral language for 3rd graders (ranging from .07 to .24). In both grades, oral language had a significant contribution to reading and writing achievement, when controlling for gender and classroom level nesting. Gender moderated the relationship between oral language and reading comprehension in 3rd grade, with a stronger correlation among girls. The results confirmed the significant contribution of oral language for explaining reading and writing competencies.

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