Journal of Educational Psychology


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  • Web-based text structure strategy instruction improves seventh graders’ content area reading comprehension. 20170313
    Reading comprehension in the content areas is a challenge for many middle grade students. Text structure-based instruction has yielded positive outcomes in reading comprehension at all grade levels in small and large studies. The text structure strategy delivered via the web, called Intelligent Tutoring System for the Text Structure Strategy (ITSS), has proven successful in large-scale studies at 4th and 5th grades and a smaller study at 7th grade. Text structure-based instruction focuses on selection and encoding of strategic memory. This strategic memory proves to be an effective springboard for many comprehension-based activities such as summarizing, inferring, elaborating, and applying. This was the first large-scale randomized controlled efficacy study on the web-based delivery of the text structure strategy to 7th-grade students. 108 classrooms from rural and suburban schools were randomly assigned to ITSS or control and pretests and posttests were administered at the beginning and end of the school year. Multilevel data analyses were conducted on standardized and researcher designed measures of reading comprehension. Results showed that ITSS classrooms outperformed the control classrooms on all measures with the highest effects reported for number of ideas included in the main idea. Results have practical implications for classroom practices. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Examining the impact of inference instruction on the literal and inferential comprehension of skilled and less skilled readers: A meta-analytic review. 20170213
    Inference ability is considered central to discourse processing and has been shown to be important across models of reading comprehension. To evaluate the impact of inference instruction, a meta-analysis of 25 inference studies in Grades K–12 was conducted. Results showed that inference instruction was effective for increasing students’ general comprehension, d = 0.58, inferential comprehension, d = 0.68, and literal comprehension, d = 0.28. Although skilled and less skilled readers responded similarly on general and inference outcomes, less skilled readers benefited more on literal outcomes, d = 0.97, than skilled readers, d = 0.06. Findings suggest that students can increase their inference ability and that less skilled readers gain the extra benefit of increases in literal comprehension. Findings also suggest that instruction provided in small groups is beneficial for increasing readers’ inferential understanding of text. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Language-independent and language-specific aspects of early literacy: An evaluation of the common underlying proficiency model. 20170206
    According to the common underlying proficiency model (Cummins, 1981), as children acquire academic knowledge and skills in their first language, they also acquire language-independent information about those skills that can be applied when learning a second language. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relevance of the common underlying proficiency model for the early literacy skills of Spanish-speaking language-minority children using confirmatory factor analysis. A total of 858 Spanish-speaking language-minority preschoolers (mean age = 60.83 months; 50.2% female) participated in this study. Results indicated that bifactor models that consisted of language-independent as well as language-specific early literacy factors provided the best fits to the data for children’s phonological awareness and print knowledge skills. Correlated factors models that included skills specific to only Spanish and English provided the best fits to the data for children’s oral language skills. Children’s language-independent early literacy skills were significantly related across constructs and to language-specific aspects of early literacy. Language-specific aspects of early literacy skills were significantly related within but not across languages. These findings suggest that language-minority preschoolers have a common underlying proficiency for code-related skills but not language-related skills that may allow them to transfer knowledge across languages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Differential effects of the classroom on African American and non-African American’s mathematics achievement. 20170323
    We examined whether African American students differentially responded to dimensions of the observed classroom-learning environment compared with non–African American students. Further, we examined whether these dimensions of the classroom mediated treatment effects of a preschool mathematics intervention targeted at students from low-income families. Three observed dimensions of the classroom (teacher expectations and developmental appropriateness; teacher confidence and enthusiasm; and support for mathematical discourse) were evaluated in a sample of 1,238 preschool students in 101 classrooms. Using multigroup multilevel mediation where African American students were compared with non–African American students, we found that teachers in the intervention condition had higher ratings on the observed dimensions of the classroom compared with teachers in the control condition. Further, ratings on teacher expectations and developmental appropriateness had larger associations with the achievement of African American students than for non–African Americans. Findings suggest that students within the same classroom may react differently to that learning environment and that classroom learning environments could be structured in ways that are beneficial for students who need the most support. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Classroom stress promotes motivated forgetting of mathematics knowledge. 20170220
    The ability to retain educationally relevant content in a readily accessible state in memory is critical for students at all stages in schooling. We hypothesized that a high degree of stress in mathematics courses can threaten students’ mathematics self-concept and lead to a motivation to forget course content. We tested the aforementioned hypothesis by recruiting students from a college course on multivariate calculus. Students were asked to report their ongoing stress in the course. The forgetting rate was assessed by comparing students’ final exam performance against their performance for a subset of the same final exam items 2 weeks later. We found that among students with a strong mathematics self-concept, a higher amount of ongoing weekly stress during the course was associated with increased forgetting of course content and a higher report of avoidant thinking about the course. Neither of these associations was found among students with a weaker mathematics self-concept. Our results provide evidence for a scientific account of the affective and motivational forces that shape why students forget educationally relevant content. We discuss the various educational practices that cue forgetting and make recommendations for reducing motivated forgetting in the classroom. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Peer victimization trajectories from kindergarten through high school: Differential pathways for children’s school engagement and achievement? 20170130
    This investigation’s aims were to map prevalence, normative trends, and patterns of continuity or change in school-based peer victimization throughout formal schooling (i.e., Grades K–12), and determine whether specific victimization patterns (i.e., differential trajectories) were associated with children’s academic performance. A sample of 383 children (193 girls) was followed from kindergarten (Mage = 5.50) through Grade 12 (Mage = 17.89), and measures of peer victimization, school engagement, academic self-perceptions, and achievement were repeatedly administered across this epoch. Although it was the norm for victimization prevalence and frequency to decline across formal schooling, 5 trajectory subtypes were identified, capturing differences in victimization frequency and continuity (i.e., high-chronic, moderate-emerging, early victims, low victims, and nonvictims). Consistent with a chronic stress hypothesis, high-chronic victimization consistently was related to lower—and often prolonged—disparities in school engagement, academic self-perceptions, and academic achievement. For other victimization subtypes, movement into victimization (i.e., moderate-emerging) was associated with lower or declining scores on academic indicators, and movement out of victimization (i.e., early victims) with higher or increasing scores on these indicators (i.e., “recovery”). Findings provide a more complete account of the overall prevalence, stability, and developmental course of school-based peer victimization than has been reported to date. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Short- and long-term effects of over-reporting of grades on academic self-concept and achievement. 20170316
    This study examined the short- and long-term effects of self-enhancement (i.e., overreporting of academic grades) on academic self-concept and academic achievement. A total of 916, 719, and 647 students participated in the first, second, and third waves of assessment, respectively (mean age at T1 = 15.6 years). At each assessment, students reported their last midterm grades and their self-concepts in mathematics, German, English, and French. Actual midterm grades were obtained from the school administrations. Results showed that self-enhancement was positively associated with self-concept in the short term. However, in the long term, self-enhancement was directly associated with stronger decreases in self-concept and indirectly with stronger decreases in achievement that were linked to inflated self-concepts. Implications for research and educational practice are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Fish swimming into the ocean: How tracking relates to students’ self-beliefs and school disengagement at the end of schooling. 20170213
    In this study, we analyzed how secondary school tracking relates to students’ self-beliefs (i.e., their academic self-concepts in different domains and their beliefs regarding their labor market chances) and school disengagement during a time period that has received little attention in educational psychological research on tracking: when students are at the end of schooling and on the verge of entering the labor market. In doing so, we disentangled 2 distinguishing features of tracking: tracks as social contexts (operationalized via track level and the mean achievement of students’ schoolmates) and tracks as pathways to different future opportunities (operationalized via educational certificates). Using questionnaire, achievement, and administrative school data from 2,155 students from 29 low-track schools, 23 intermediate-track schools, and 35 comprehensive schools in Berlin, Germany, we found educational certificates to be the most important factor shaping students’ self-beliefs and school disengagement. Irrespective of their individual achievement, their schoolmates’ achievement, and their track level, students who received the intermediate school-leaving certificate had higher academic self-concepts, believed that their certificate would give them better chances of success in the labor market, and were less disengaged from school than students who received the low school-leaving certificate. In contrast, students’ track level did not serve as a predictor for the outcomes considered. The achievement of students’ schoolmates (i.e., the big-fish-little-pond effect) was only relevant for students’ academic self-concepts and not for students’ self-beliefs regarding labor market entry or their school disengagement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

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