Date of Award

Winter 2012




Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


Reading proficiency continues to elude a large number of school children, in particular, our economically disadvantaged students (Clark & Akerman, 2006). In a continued effort to decrease the gap between the high-poverty and low-poverty students’ reading scores, this study examined the effect of third-grade and fifth-grade teachers’ use of higher-order thinking (HOT) question levels and student context (whole group, small group, and one-one-one) during reading workshop on economically disadvantaged students’ reading achievement. Teacher questionnaires and researcher observations were analyzed to determine the effect on reading CRCT scores and the two domains within the reading CRCT scores of Literary Comprehension and Reading Skills and Vocabulary Acquisition. In addition, intraclass correlation coefficients compared teacher reported use of HOT question levels to researcher observed teacher use of HOT questions. Results suggested the teachers were not cognizant of the higher-order thinking question level they used during reading instruction. Hierarchical regression analysis of the teachers’ use of HOT question levels suggested the questioning levels of remembering and understanding have a statistically significant effect on the reading CRCT scores of the economically disadvantaged students. However, the combined effect of all the HOT question levels did not statistically significantly affect the reading CRCT scores of third-grade and fifth-grade economically disadvantaged students. HOT questions during whole group reading instruction were statistically significant for the economically disadvantaged students’ scores on the reading CRCT and Literary Comprehension domain. In fifth-grade, student context had a negative correlation across each of the reading assessments with small group have the greatest negative correlation with reading CRCT scores. Recommendations for future research of HOT iii questions effecting economically disadvantaged students include exploring the teachers’ use of HOT questions in varying academic disciplines, the use of one-on-one instruction with economically disadvantaged students, and exploring if student context (i.e. whole group, small group, and one-on-one instruction) affects achievement based on the students’ grade-level.

Bennett, Ruth.pdf (44 kB)
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