NCREL Grant project
Evaluating The Development of Scientific Knowledge
and New Forms of Reading Comprehension During Online Learning
This intervention project was funded by
the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory/Learning Point Associates
and was conducted from January - June, 2005. Members of the New Literacies
Research Team worked in collaboration with Jonna Kulikowich from
Pennsylvania State University and Stacy Lyver, a seventh grade teacher from
Somers School District in Somers, Connecticut.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of varying
levels of intensity of Internet integration into seventh grade classroom
science instruction. Intensity of integration was defined by the
duration of Internet access as well as the duration of instruction in
the new literacies of online reading comprehension. Four randomly
assigned sections received different intensity levels of Internet integration
during a twelve-week unit on human body systems.
The intervention involved varying intensities of Internet Reciprocal
Teaching. With this model, strategy instruction supported locating,
critically evaluating, synthesizing and communicating information while
using the Internet. Teachers provided guided demonstrations, think-alouds,
and scaffolded practice of strategies. In small groups, students participated
in shared dialogues to initiate strategies and shared their thinking
while acting as models for one another.
Science instruction and strategy support was guided by interactions
with The Human
Body Project Website and Human
Body Systems Blog. Jill Castek's online conference presentation
at the International Reading Association features examples of lessons where
students crafted online encyclopedia
entries about famous respiratory scientists, exchanged
for publishing information online, researched heart facts
while taking notes, and clarified and summarized
content for a respiratory poster project.
Instruments used to evaluate the effects of intensity of Internet
Reciprocal Teaching and duration of Internet access on reading comprehension
and science learning included the following: (a)
Online reading comprehension was measured with
two instruments including the Online Reading Comprehension Assessment
with Instant Messaging (ORCA-IM) and Online Reading Comprehension Assessment
with Blog (ORCA-Blog); (b) Declarative science knowledge was measured
using multiple choice/short answer unit tests about the digestive, circulatory,
and respiratory system; (c) Conceptual
science knowledge was measured using concept maps of
the human body systems; and (d) Traditional
reading comprehension was measured using the Degrees of Reading
Power (DRP) test (Touchstone Applied Science Associates, 2004).
- Click here for the Final NCREL Report (PDF FIle).
- Internet integration in a seventh
grade science classroom resulted in higher achievement levels in online
reading comprehension. This was true for both the ORCA-IM and ORCA-Blog;
two assessment instruments with good psychometric properties.
Each assessment required students to locate, evaluate, synthesize and
communicate information on the Internet.
- Conceptual knowledge development in
science was greater among students in the high-intensity Internet integration
group and the control group.
- Consistent with new literacy predictions,
we found no association between either of the measures of traditional
reading comprehension (January and June DRP) and the measure of online
reading comprehension (ORCA-Blog). No evidence of gains on a test of
traditional reading comprehension following treatment.
- Summary: Internet integration
generates greater online reading comprehension ability. Our results suggest
it is better to have no integration or high-intensity integration of the
Internet for developing concept knowledge, but not low or moderate intensity
integration. Our study also provides preliminary data that suggests
online and traditional reading achievement tests are not correlated.
For more information, view the grant proposal
or email principal investigators Dr. Donald J. Leu or Dr. Douglas Hartman.
Please use the following reference to cite this project:
Leu, D. J. Jr., Castek., J., Hartman, D., Coiro, J., Henry, L.A.,
Kulikowich, J., & Lyver, S. (2005). Evaluating the development
of scientific knowledge and new forms of reading comprehension during online
learning. A grant funded by the North Central Regional Educational
Laboratory, a subsidiary of Learning Point Associates (LPA).