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Title: The Effects of Improved Automaticity in Basic Academic Skills on the Test Performance: A Study of Learning Difficulties in the Middle-School Years
Contributor(s): Bellert, Anne Maree (author); Graham, Lorraine (supervisor); Pegg, John  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2012
Copyright Date: 2011
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Students in the middle-school years experiencing learning difficulties (LD) in reading and basic mathematics are educationally vulnerable. In many jurisdictions, the learning needs of younger students with LD are prioritised and students in the middle-school years experiencing LD have limited, or non-existent, opportunities to access the intervention support they need to make appropriate progress in learning. During the middle-school years gaps in performance, achievement and motivation between students with LD and their non-LD peers widen, to the point where, for some students, they become an unbridgeable chasm, potentially leading to long-term economic and social disadvantage. This investigation examines the learning progress of 22 students in the middle-school years who experienced persistent LD. These students participated in an educational intervention called QuickSmart, which aimed to support students in developing more efficient cognitive processing in tasks of basic academic skills. The study was implemented in local schools, using the researcher as the teacher in the intervention lessons. QuickSmart was delivered to participant students in pairs, as either a word-reading program or a basic mathematics program, consisting of three, 30 minute lessons per week for 18-22 weeks. The intervention lessons utilised evidence-based strategies and approaches aimed at improving automaticity (that is, reducing response speed and improving accuracy) in basic academic skills. It was theorised that such an improvement in 'the basics' may facilitate more efficient working-memory processing which, in turn, could lead to improved performance on standardised tests. The investigation was designed within a mixed-methods framework incorporating both a quasi-experiment and six individual student learner profiles. The research design also incorporated a comparison group of non-LD peers against which the automaticity progress of the participant students could be evaluated.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 130312 Special Education and Disability
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified
Rights Statement: Copyright 2011 - Anne Maree Bellert
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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Appears in Collections:The National Centre of Science, Information and Communication Technology, and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR)
Thesis Doctoral

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