A comparison of mastery and nonmastery learning approaches to teaching reading comprehension to Title I reading students in grades two through six
Bacon, Ann Hawkins
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This study sought to determine if a mastery learning approach to teaching reading in a supplemental reading program was more effective in promoting reading achievement than a conventional approach. It followed an experimental pretest, posttest design. The treatment group received supplemental instruction in reading with a mastery learning approach using the composite objectives found on the third and fifth grade Texas Assessment of Basic Skills (TABS) test. The control group received supplemental reading instruction using a nonmastery commercial reading phonics skills approach. The subjects were 240 Title I reading students from three elementary schools in Lubbock, The students in grades 2 through 6 were randomly selected from a pool of 384 Title I youngsters who qualified to participate in the Title I remedial reading program. Teachers in the treatment group received training in mastery learning and in the use of the selected materials. Bloom's (1976) cues, participation, reinforcement, and feedback/corrective strategies were used with the treatment group. Mastery was demonstrated by scoring 80 percent or better on each mastery test. Both the treatment and the control groups received reading instruction in the regular classroom. No mastery learning strategies were practiced in these classrooms. The researcher sought to answer the following questions: (1) Is a mastery learning supplemental reading program more effective than a conventional supplemental reading program in promoting achievement in reading comprehension among Title I students? (2) Will a mastery learning approach taught in a supplemental reading program be more effective for boys or for girls than a nonmastery supplemental reading program in promoting reading achievement? (3) Will there be any statistically significant interaction between sex and approach at each grade level? Significance of differences was tested by an ANCOVA inasmuch as t_ test results indicated significant group difference on the pretest. Results of the ANCOVA revealed no significant differences in the reading achievement of students taught by a mastery approach and those taught by a conventional approach. There were no significant differences between sex and approach, and there was no significant interaction between sex and approach.