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Title: The impact of implementing an individualised peer-tutoring programme on low-attaining secondary school readers
Author: White, Amber Holley
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This study focuses on improving the reading skills of a group of low-attaining secondary school students and their perceptions of themselves as readers. While other studies have mainly focused on younger students’ initial efforts to learn to read or on specific aspects determined by the author’s theoretical perspective, this present study’s pragmatic approach enables the complex needs of older low-attaining readers to be recognised. In the study, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of reading were explored and a peer-tutoring programme was designed to address the participants’ needs in these areas. The unique feature of this programme involved students moving from a position of being tutees to becoming tutors and their different perceptions as they took on these different roles is explored. Over two twelve-week phases, four secondary readers and their peer tutoring partners were cases which enabled an exploration of the effects that this intervention had on their reading attainment and their perceptions of themselves as readers. By employing a parallel concurrent mixed method design, the cognitive elements were observed through the employment of summative pre- and post-tests and formative assessments conducted every three weeks. The emotional and social elements of the reading process were detected through three open-ended interviews in each phase, along with recorded weekly observations of the partnerships participating in the sessions, providing a means for the complexity of the adolescents’ relationships with text to evolve. Both the quantitative and qualitative data indicate that by the end of the study all participants’ reading levels had progressed and they had all experienced positive changes to their perceptions of themselves as readers. With the exception of one tutee, all participants displayed substantial progress in standardised testing, while the individuals who assumed the tutor role experienced greater gains to their perceptions of themselves as readers. However, the participants who acted in both roles showed greater improvements to their self-perceptions than those who had only assumed one role. These findings highlight the importance of addressing the social needs of secondary students who are low attainers in reading. Reimagining cross-ability peer tutoring provided a means to meet these cognitive, emotional and social needs. By having low-attaining readers in both the tutee and tutor roles, positive relationships developed between the partnerships and tutees were provided with a role model that they emulated by the second phase of the study.
Supervisor: Maine, Fiona Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: reading intervention ; Peer-tutoring ; reader self-concept ; low-attaining students ; low-attaining readers ; cross-ability peer tutoring ; secondary readers ; self-perceptions