Shelton, A. (2012). Comparing the performance and preference of students experiencing a reading aloud accommodation to those who do not on a virtual science assessment (Publication No. 3510444) [Doctoral dissertation, Temple University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1022482368
Temple University (Philadelphia, PA); ProQuest document ID: 1022482368
The read-aloud accommodation was provided to students with learning disabilities (LD) via headphones during participants' interaction with a virtual environment assessment presented on computers.
Participants were 791 students in grades 6, 7, and 8 in urban and near-urban schools in the Mid-Atlantic (U.S.). Data are missing from 509 students regarding disability status; accordingly, students without disabilities total 250 (of 282), and 32 students had learning disabilities (LD). Other demographic variables are reported. Additional data and analysis are reported for English language learners, not included in the analysis and results here.
The dependent variables included student scores on selected and constructed response items at the end of three science-content modules from the Situated Assessment using Virtual Environments (SAVE) project. Additional measures included patterns of assessment tools use and interactions with testing materials, which were recorded as students completed tests. Participants provided demographic data and attitudinal surveys about science and about self-efficacy (Self-Efficacy in Technology in Science, or SETS; Ketelhut, 2007). Participants also completed a post-test survey inquiring about their testing experience.
Students using the read-aloud accommodation scored a higher total score than students not using read-aloud for one of the science content modules, but no difference in scores for other content module tests. When controlling for learning disability status, there were no score differences in any of the modules. Students indicated on surveys about their generally positive perceptions about the read-aloud testing condition. An example survey question asked about participants' use of read-aloud, specifically of listening to the characters explain the problem. Most test-takers (87%) indicated that they had done so to varying degrees from very much to very little, and only 13% responded that they did not do so at all. Another survey item inquired about the degree to which the characters speaking was distracting; 34% responded that they disagreed and 22% responded that they strongly disagreed with that notion, and about 27% indicated a neutral response about distractedness. Only 17% indicated that they were distracted by the characters speaking. Students with learning disabilities tended to have a more positive perception of hearing the segments of characters speaking, and tended not to find them distracting but rather useful to form their test answers. Additional interview data provide information on the experiences of individuals who were different types of students. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.