Resource Teachers: Literacy Annual Report 2006

Publication Details

This report presents the 2006 data on students who were on the roll of a Resource Teacher: Literacy (RT:Lit) to receive literacy support.

Author(s): Lisa Ng, Research, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: January 2008

Executive Summary

RT:Lits are a specialist group of registered teachers who work with students in years 1 to 8 who are experiencing literacy difficulties. While it is acknowledged that RT:Lits will carry out a range of functions, the primary purpose of the current report is to identify students RT:Lits support, the nature of the support provided and to investigate whether there are shifts in student achievement as a result of the RT:Lits' interventions.

For those students on the RT:Lit roll, support can be provided through indirect in-class support to the teacher or directly through individual or small-group tuition with the student. In 2006, 107 RT:Lits provided indirect in-class support to 1,912 students, through formally supporting the classroom teacher providing them advice and modelling. In addition, they worked directly with 1,959 students through providing regular tutoring either on an individual basis or as part of a small group.

For students who received indirect in-class support, most students were assisted in reading literacy, the vast majority of whom were supported in reading literacy only. Two out of every three students were boys. Over half were New Zealand European / Pākehā, and just under a third of the students were Māori. The majority of students were in their middle years of primary schooling, being between seven to ten years of age. While over half of the students completed their indirect support, and one–fifth would require continuing support the following year, there were some differences between students. Boys were more likely than girls to require continuing indirect in-class support, as NZ European/Pākehā students when compared with Māori or Pasifika students. This may suggest that boys and NZ European/Pākehā students stayed on the RT:Lit roll for a longer period of time. These findings were different to 2005, where Pasifika students were more likely to require continuing indirect in-class support.

The majority of students directly supported were provided with one-to-one tuition, and a quarter received small group tuition, while a small proportion received both forms of tuition at various stages. For students who were directly assisted by the RT:Lit either on an individual basis or as part of a small group, the patterns of gender, age, and ethnicities were similar to students who received indirect in-class support (although the percentage of boys directly supported was greater than the percentage of boys indirectly assisted). However, there were a number of key differences, not only between those indirectly supported and those directly supported, but also between the individually tutored and small-group tutored students of the directly supported group. Some of the differences may be a result of RT:Lits responding to the level of students' needs and thus providing the support considered most appropriate, or may be a result of the different opportunities that can be provided through the different forms of support. For example, those supported indirectly through the classroom teacher were more likely than those tutored directly within a small group, and those tutored individually, to have received support in only one area of literacy. This may be because small-group work was more suitable to have just one focus, while other areas of literacy can be introduced and addressed when working with a student on an individual basis. Similarly, students individually tutored were more likely to be younger than those receiving small-group tuition, which could be that individual support is deemed more appropriate for younger students.

By the end of 2006, most students had completed their regular tutoring programme with the RT:Lit, although some would continue on a monitoring programme with the classroom teacher at the beginning of 2007. One in five would require further regular tutoring with the RT:Lit, and one in seven did not complete their programme because they were referred for further specialist assistance, they had moved out of the area served by the RT:Lit, or for some other reasons. Some differences in these outcomes were evident for different students, for example according to ethnicity, whether English was the first language, and whether or not the student had received literacy support prior to support from the RT:Lit.

Progress and outcomes from the RT:Lit programme were recorded for students supported in reading literacy. For median gains per session, some differences were evident between students, with higher median gains per session for girls (slightly higher), and lower median gains for Pasifika students. For students supported in reading literacy who had completed their regular tutoring with the RT:Lit the general shift in reading levels from admission to completion was similar to previous years, with a mode of five to five-and-a-half years at entry and seven to eight-and-a-half years at exit.

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