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Last modified: 6/10/2016 9:13:48 AM
Research and Evaluation

Early Literacy Acquisition in PGCPS: Developmental Trajectory Patterns  

 Berhane Araia, Ph.D.  



The study is based on longitudinal data for a cohort that was followed through administrative data from kindergarten (2009-10) through the end of third-grade (2012-13). The report focuses on the typical pattern of growth in reading and examines differential patterns of growth among subgroups of students. The research finds that the average student grew more than would be expected in kindergarten but the rate of growth started slowing down in the first grade. The slowing down of the rate of growth resulted in the average student falling below-grade expectation in second grade. In the third grade, the rate of growth recovered slightly.  Nevertheless, the average student’s reading ability was below expectation at the end of the school year in third-grade. The slumping of growth occurred from the middle of the first–grade through end of second-grade, with slight variations in the onset and degree of the slump for various groups of students. The study also identified six unique developmental groups. A common characteristic of students who read proficiently by the end of the third-grade was that they recovered earlier and at higher rates from the observed slumping of the rate of growth. The predictors of end of third grade underperformance were falling below the expected path of proficiency early in the trajectory or a delayed recovery that started late in third grade. The findings also indicate that students who were ready for school in the domains of language and literacy at kindergarten experienced smaller slump of growth. Students who were ELL or SPED at kindergarten experienced higher deceleration of the rate of growth. In sum, the typical pattern of growth of the sample shows a rapid acquisition of the basic skills during the stages of emergent and early reader followed by a decline in the rate of progress during the transitional reader stage and some recovery of the rate of progress in the third grade.

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