Improving Writing and Reading Comprehension Through Blogging about Experiences in Class Piano

Improving Writing and Reading Comprehension Through Blogging about Experiences in Class Piano

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Standardized testing for students in public schools has become the most significant means for assessing students and teachers during the past fifteen years across the United States. In Florida, the Florida Comprehension Assessment Test (FCAT) is administered every year in March to all students between third and tenth grades for reading and math. In fourth, eighth, and tenth grades writing assessments are also administered. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law monitors each school's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Improvement in each designated group monitored by NCLB must reach a designated percentage according to requirements determined by the Florida Department of Education. This study compared two groups of students in a piano class at a public high school in Florida. Each group consisted of eleven students between ninth and twelfth grade. Students from each group were individually paired, according to similar musical backgrounds, FCAT test scores, District Benchmark Assessment Reading Scores for ninth- and tenth-grade participants, scores from a brief writing sample Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) for eleventh and twelfth-grade students and a music theory test designed by the Florida Vocal Association for all participants. A weblog was created for test group participants. Once a week, between October 5 and November 17, these students were asked to submit comments on the blog concerning material covered in class the previous week, ask questions of each other about concepts or techniques, and offer suggestions to assist each other. Students from the control group received the same class piano instruction, but did not contribute to the blog. The English teachers of the students from both groups had no prior knowledge of who comprised each group and were asked to assess each student's progress or level of writing, while participating in English class. Their assessments are based on general writing assignments during class throughout the duration of this project. The benchmark tests for September and November were used as pre-test and post-test for the ninth- and tenth-grade students. Juniors and seniors were required to take another brief sample PSAT as a post-test. Any results based on improved writing or reading comprehension skills were inconclusive because of the brief duration of this study. However, the blog is a strong vehicle for critical thinking, problem solving, and cooperative learning among its participants. This study will continue through March, when the FCAT will be administered to students in ninth and tenth grades. In May, when test results are available, a diagnosis and comparison of previous and present scores for reading and writing will be made between the two groups, both individually and collectively. If significant differences indicate that the test subjects have made more progress than the control subjects, a class blog will be used as part of the piano class curriculum the next school year.Standardized testing for students in public schools has become the most significant means for assessing students and teachers during the past fifteen years across the United States.


Title:Improving Writing and Reading Comprehension Through Blogging about Experiences in Class Piano
Author: Nancy A. Atkinson
Publisher: - 2009
ISBN-13:

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