Comparison of Reading Growth between Two Language Arts Programs, “Open Court” and “Think”
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AuthorFrancione, Dennis P.
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AbstractThis research study attempts to explain and compare two language arts programs, THINK and OPEN COURT. These programs are incorporated in the instructional program at Interim Junior High School, Rochester, New York, hereafter called Interim, an alternative, non-graded, open classroom school where this researcher is an English staff member. The strengths and weaknesses of both programs will be compared in an effort to comment on which of the two would help students meet any state tests in reading. As an alternative school, Interim was in a unique position to field test a combination of programs. After days of inservice, team meetings, and consultation with the principal, Interim's Language Arts team elected both THINK and OPEN COURT. Through those choices the team would be able to offer students a selection and a challenge in the language arts instructional program. Also, by offering both programs, this researcher could evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each program and try to match staff, students, and programs Since THINK requires a teacher and a paraprofessional for its operation, the Language Arts team felt a need for both programs to be structured in a team teachering approach so that class size would be equally matched. The seventh and eighth grade students in OPEN COURT and THINK were separated according to the grade level scores obtained on the Metropolitan Reading Test given districtwide. The team divided into sections. A section taught OPEN COURT, totalling five classes; and another section piloted THINK, totalling five classes. The OPEN COURT classes were designed as a control group. This control group was to be diagnosed and evaluated with the five THINK classes, which were designated as the experimental group. OPEN COURT classes were divided heterogeneously, and individual classes had students of remedial (1.0 - 4.9), average (5.0 - grade level), or accelerated (above grade level) abilities. THINK classes consisted of students grouped heterogeneously too. Groupings again combined remedial (1.0 - 4.9), average (5.0 - grade level), and accelerated (above grade level) students. After OPEN COURT and THINK students took the Metropolitan Reading Test, it was determined that THINK students demonstrated some growth in their reading scores. It may be said that certain remedial and average students enrolled in THINK received significant growth in their reading scores because of the double exposure to language arts they received daily. These students were given THINK as an English class and a supplementary Reading class with OPEN COURT as its basal reader.