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An Investigation of a Cross-Content Academic Vocabulary Intervention in an Urban Middle School

Cianciosi-Rimbey, Michelle (2017) An Investigation of a Cross-Content Academic Vocabulary Intervention in an Urban Middle School. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This case study was designed to investigate the implementation of a cross-content academic vocabulary intervention in an urban school. Two aspects of the intervention were the focus of interest: student learning and teacher sensemaking. Participants included four content-area teachers and their sixth-grade students. Each week, students received instruction on general academic vocabulary words in their social studies, science, and math classes through a variety of activities. Results of the posttest revealed that students scoring in the basic/below basic categories on a state reading test showed statistically significant positive differences in their learning as compared to a comparison school and maintained those differences on the delayed posttest. Additionally, this investigation examined how teachers made sense of the intervention and how their sensemaking shaped implementation, an area that has been underexplored in similar studies. Teachers’ sensemaking was influenced by a number of factors related to knowledge and experiences, policy initiatives, and the social context in which teachers worked. A number of adaptations were made to the program as a result of how teachers made sense of the intervention in their context. This investigation reveals the complex nature of intervention implementation in schools. It also provides evidence for the importance of attending to vocabulary learning in middle school grades. Even without high fidelity of implementation of the program, multiple exposures to words across varied contexts was shown to be effective with readers who did not demonstrate high levels of literacy achievement.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cianciosi-Rimbey, Michellemac208@pitt.edumac208
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorKucan, Lindalkucan@pitt.edulkucan
Committee MemberMcKeown, Margaretmckeown@pitt.edumckeown
Committee MemberCrawford, Patriciapcrawfor@pitt.edupcrawfor
Committee MemberGold-Kestenberg, Erikaerikagk@pitt.eduerikagk
Date: 30 May 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 April 2017
Approval Date: 30 May 2017
Submission Date: 21 May 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 134
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: vocabulary intervention, teacher sensemaking
Date Deposited: 30 May 2017 15:48
Last Modified: 30 May 2017 15:48


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