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The Role of Motivation and Engagement in a Fourth-Grade English Language Arts Title 1 Classroom

Palazzi, Sarah (2020) The Role of Motivation and Engagement in a Fourth-Grade English Language Arts Title 1 Classroom. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The purpose of this study was to investigate how supplemental materials and instructional practices such as Turn and Talk affected student comprehension and efficacy in a fourth-grade
classroom with 22 Title 1 students. I paired explicit reading skill and strategy instruction with motivation and engagement constructs and innovative instructional practices to help improve comprehension. On a 1-3 scale, with 1 being “not very fun” and 3 being “desire to do more of that” activity, students rated the instructional practices from 1.8 (graphic organizers) to 2.8 (choose your own). The results of the comprehension measures were inconsistent; students showed improvement on one measure but not on another. Conclusions also cannot be drawn about impact of instruction on comprehension because there was not a control group and students had been exposed to the innovative practices since third grade.
Through detailed reflections, recorded class sessions, interviews with select students, comprehension measures, and student feedback, I investigated elements of instruction that
contributed to building a culture of self-efficacy. Findings indicated that students who read a lot and had help from home saw themselves as good readers and that students who had low scores on a computer-based reading monitoring program (Accelerated Reader/AR) did not see themselves as good readers. From lesson plan notes, video recording of lessons and reflection, I learned that students were more engaged in activities that had an engagement or motivation construct and/or an innovative instructional lesson. Participation was as high as 95% during one innovative instructional practice. Students were also more comfortable taking risks in small
groups and grew their confidence for independent work after small group activities. Implications for educators include continued professional learning in the area of motivation and engagement constructs, a close look at the benefits and drawbacks of AR Reader, and implementation of
innovative instructional practices.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Palazzi, Sarahsap152@pitt.edusap1520000-0002-2544-0593
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCrawford,
Committee MemberCho,
Committee MemberGenest,
Date: 2 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 June 2020
Approval Date: 2 September 2020
Submission Date: 31 July 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 122
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: Action Research, Self-Efficacy, Literacy, Elementary Education, Engagement, Motivation, Pedagogical Strategies
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 15:26
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2020 15:26


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