Reading into Reading First Data
In the Winter 2010 edition of the Peabody Reflector, there is an article with the heading “Early Reading First data shows impressive gains.” This article, a summary of results of a preliminary study, describes research that appears to be seriously flawed.
Based on the summary presented, it appears that the project’s research design has the following flaws:
1) There is no control group mentioned. How can any results be linked to an intervention if there is no control (comparison) group?
2) It appears that ELL children were administered a vocabulary test in English shortly after their arrival to their first formal school appearance. To report their mean score as 55 appears to be an egregious example of the misuse of a test, as it looks suspiciously like the “floor” or lowest score possible.
3) The African American children’s scores increased from 88 to 94. This result is not impressive unless a control group would show virtually no improvement. Dr. Susan Gray, whose work preempts this study by about 50 years, demonstrated more impressive gains in a similar population in her Early Training Project conducted at Peabody in the 1960s! She had a control group!
And finally—the project director is quoted as saying “These final scores [a mean of 85.3 on a test whose average score per national norms is 100] are what I would expect to see as average scores in economically advantaged populations … .” On what basis would he expect economically advantaged populations to have a score significantly below the national norm?
I believe it would be helpful to have a follow-up article to apologize for these apparent flaws or present additional information to explain these apparent flaws.
Richard Brozovich, PhD’66
Editor’s note: An article regarding the Reading First data reported on last issue is currently under review by Reading Research Quarterly. Until then, readers may want to see “Cross-site Effectiveness of Opening the World of Learning and Site-Specific Strategies for Supporting Implementation” in Early Childhood Services, 3(3), 179-191, by M. K. Ashe, S. Reed, David K. Dickinson, & S. J. Wilson published in 2009.
Charting a Path for Charter Schools
It is with great enjoyment that I see charter schools, performance incentives and individualized computerized learning programs in the most recent edition of your magazine. As a graduate of Peabody (MEd’03), founding teacher of KIPP Academy Nashville in 2005, and current principal of Rocketship Los Suenos Academy in San Jose, Calif., I couldn’t be more excited that more people are gaining access to some true innovations in the movement towards closing the achievement gap.
The new movement of charter schools, known as Charter Schools 2.0, is interested in creating highly successful and replicable charter schools, not in opening a few schools and making an impact on a relatively small number of families. Opening hundreds of charter schools across the country in the next decade will make a huge impact in a country that currently has 5 million elementary school students enrolled in failing schools.
Thank you for your efforts in sharing developments with the greater Peabody community. A deeper understanding of low-income education in this country is necessary if we are to build an educational system that is truly equitable.
Adam Nadeau, MEd’03
San Jose, Calif.
Cheers for Paul Dokecki
Of course! While studying Herodotus, Homer, etc., Paul sat in the center rear seat creating music for his drums. And we still stood around him after quizzes/exams to find out what the correct responses were. Our class kept tabs on Paul. Whenever something of importance was accomplished, we all shared the news, by telephone in the ’60s and ’70s, even the ’80s.
Now it’s email, Twitter, etc. We who graduated [from Manhattan College] with Paul in 1962 have continued our admiration.
Paul F. Trudeau, PhD, CGP
I took Paul’s Professional Ethics class as part of my master’s degree program in the late ’90s, and I enjoyed it immensely. It ranks high on my list of all-time favorite classes. Ever. Paul is a total treasure. Glad to see this piece about him.
Tamra Gentry, MEd’98
Paul taught a graduate seminar in 1974 called Intervention. That class, with Dr. Dokecki’s modeling and inspiration, launched my career first as a clinician working with Indian tribes throughout the west, and now as a forensic psychologist working with intellectually disabled adolescents. Thanks, Paul.
Steven Abernathy, MS’76
Watermelon with Dr. Crabb
I greatly enjoyed the picture on page 8 in the winter issue of the Reflector since it is my father, Dr. A. L. Crabb, in the hat. He delighted in such mild exaggerations as depicted here—one should never overdo it, of course.
I will share that picture with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They already know of most of his other accomplishments, and this should not be omitted!
And if you know, I’d like to know the name of the other gentleman in the photo.
Alfred Leland Crabb Jr.,
Editor’s note: We contacted the Special Collections staff at the Jean and Alexander Heard Library, which provided the photo. The other man in the photo is listed as Clifton L. Hall, and the photo is from July 4, 1951. It appears in the 1952 Pillar.