Data Mountain : self-monitoring, goal setting, and motivation training to improve the oral reading fluency of struggling readers in the elementary grades




Didion, Lisa Anne

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Students with and at-risk for reading disabilities (RD) are performing well below proficient level cutoffs on assessments of reading achievement (National Center for Education Research [NCES], 2017) and this has been the trend for the past two decades (NCES, 2017; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Vaughn, 2014; Vaughn & Wanzek, 2014). In particular, students with and at-risk for RD struggle with reading fluency, a foundational reading skill interconnected with other skills critical to reading proficiency, such as comprehension (Algozzine, Marr, Kavel, & Dugan, 2009; National Reading Panel, 2000). Typically, oral reading fluency (ORF) is targeted with repeated reading practices and few alternative approaches have been researched. Data Mountain is a program that includes components related to self-determination (i.e., self-monitoring, goal setting, positive attributions) and has shown promise in enhancing struggling readers’ oral reading fluency (Didion & Toste 2019; Didion, Toste, & Benz, 2019). The present study tested the effects of Data Mountain on the ORF of 83 students with and at risk for RD (47% female) in 2nd through 5th grades (M = 9.97 years; SD = 1.23). A randomized controlled trial design assigned students to one of three conditions: Data Mountain delivered in small groups (DM-G), Data Mountain delivered individually (DM-I), or a reading practice only comparison condition. The two treatment conditions allowed for comparison of program dosage; in a small group, students have additional opportunity for relatedness (i.e., feeling connected to others in social settings; Deci & Ryan, 2012) and peer modeling (Chard, Vaughn, & Tyler, 2002). Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was employed to examine differences in ORF growth across conditions. Moderating effects of grade-level, pretest performance, and English learner (EL) status were tested. Results indicated that treatment students, combined DM-G and DM-I conditions, read an average of 31 more words correct per minute than comparison students at the end of the study. Additionally, Data Mountain students growth rate was twice that of comparison students. There were no statistically significant differences between delivery formats or moderating effects of grade-level, pretest fluency performance, or EL status. The generalizability possibilities of the Data Mountain program across academic disciplines and behaviors are extensive. The transferable possibilities of Data Mountain to be an effective means to provide students with an opportunity to learn self-determination skills and improve ORF, while simultaneously progress monitoring struggling learners is significant to the field of special education


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