Date of Completion
This pilot study focused on literacy in secondary settings, where classes are content-specific and organized into varying levels. Teacher views on literacy instruction as well as the types of texts used across the disciplines and course levels were explored. The following research questions guided the study: 1) Do early high school teachers view their class’ reading tasks as more discipline- or content-focused? 2) Does the complexity of the texts assigned in early high school vary across the various course levels? 3) Does the complexity of the texts assigned in early high school vary across the disciplines? 4) Does the authenticity of the texts assigned in early high school vary across the various course levels? Interviews from a total of 21 ninth and tenth grade teachers were analyzed, as well as sample texts from their classes. Teacher interviews were examined in order to determine their views—either more content-area based or disciplinary based— on literacy instruction within their content-area classrooms. The sample texts’ Lexile levels were analyzed across discipline (Language Arts, Math, Science, Spanish, and Social Studies) and course level (A, B, DI) in order to find any relationships that existed between text complexity and discipline or level. Finally, the authenticity of the sample texts—in relation to the course level they were being used in—was explored. Results indicated that most content-specific teachers view their literacy instruction as having a more content-area focused purpose rather than a disciplinary focus. Although no relationship was found between the complexity levels of texts across the course levels, a relationship was found between the complexities of texts in certain disciplines. Lastly, results did not show any significant relationship between the authenticity of a text and its course level.
McDonald, Pam, "Literacy Across Disciplines: An Investigation of Text Used in Content-Specific Classrooms" (2016). Honors Scholar Theses. 482.