Case Study Evaluation Rubric by whq15269

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									David Profitt
Summary of Academic Case Study
Internship: 2005-2006, Kettering City Schools

                              Background Data/Local Norms

For my academic case study, I worked with a first grade student, Taylor, in reading.
When I first met Taylor, she was being referred for evaluation due to increasing,
excessive reading difficulties. The team was concerned that Taylor didn’t understand the
purpose of reading, nor the process of reading itself. Examples were given by the team
showing that they believed Taylor did not realize that words would form sentences and
that sentences should have meaning. Taylor’s classroom teacher was concerned that on
some days Taylor could not even know the sound of all the letters. However, this
inability seemed random, as there were occasional days when she could do this task.
These were referred to as her “on” days.

I met with Taylor’s teacher to discuss her overall goals for her students in reading. Mrs.
X stated that by March, her students should be able to identify 20 unique words per
minute in scaled DRA readings (pre-created for the students reading level in specially
designed, graded books). This class uses DRA assessments to measure the reading
progress of all students. Students are progressing through the DRA curriculum and are
expected to be at Level F by the mid point of the first grade year. This class also uses
DIBELS scores to assess student need. DIBELS scores are taken three times per year.

In discussing “fluency”, the classroom teacher and I agreed that fluency is defined as
reading with no more than 2 errors or 5+ second hesitations per 30 seconds of reading. In
addition, Students who do now know a word will recognize that they have erred and will
use the word attack skills they have been taught to decipher the word. Recognizing the
error means that students will recognize when they have not correctly identified a word
(rather than just filling in an obviously incorrect word and moving on) and will use their
taught skills to decipher the word. For the purpose of this case study, I counted every
uniquely identified word as a correct word and used simple math to come up with a
unique words per minute score.

Having decided what goals were acceptable for the class as a whole, I referred to the
Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to see what tasks would be required of students
who are to read fluently at a first grade level. The ODE breaks down the task analysis as

Pre-Kindergarten Skills:
       1. Identify matching sounds and rhymes in familiar story or poem passages and
       2. Identify sounds in words by isolating their syllables using snapping, clapping or
       rhythmic movement (e.g., cat, cher-ry).
       3. Be able to distinguish sounds that are different (e.g., environmental sounds,
       animal sounds, phonemes).
       4. Recognize words which share phonemes and repeat the common phoneme
       (e.g., /b/ as in Bob, ball, baby; /t/ as in Matt, kite, boat).
       5. Identify and list some upper and lower case letters in addition to those in the
       child’s first name.
       6. Understand that words are made up of letters.

Kindergarten Skills:
      1. Identify and complete rhyming words and patterns.
      2. Count the number of syllables in words by using clapping, snapping or
      3. Recognize and name all upper- and lower-case letters.
      4. Recognize, say and write the common sounds of letters.
      5. Recognize that words are separated by spaces; individual letters are not.
      6. Hear and repeat the separate phonemes in words; identify the initial consonant
      sound in a word and blend phonemes to say words.

Grade 1 Skills:
       1. Identify and differentiate among letters, words and sentences.
       2. Identify and repeat the beginning and ending sounds in words.
       3. Demonstrate an understanding of letter-sound correspondence by saying the
       sounds from all letters and from a variety of letter patterns, such as consonant
       blends and long-and short-vowel patterns, and by matching sounds with their
       corresponding letters.
       4. Decode using letter-sound matches.
       5. Use knowledge of common word families (e.g., -ite or -ate) to sound out new
       6. Blend up to four phonemes into words.
       7. Add, delete or replace sounds in a word to create new or rhyming words.

Having decided what Mrs. X’s goals were for her class, and how she defined these goals,
and having decided what the ODE stated were the steps required for students in reading, I
polled the class to get an overall picture of their current standing. In Early November,
DRA style probes were administered on three occasions to determine the mean academic
level of the class as a whole as well as the academic level of the target student. These
were compared to DIBELS scores to get a picture of the class and to add extra
confirmation to the accurate ranking of the DRA scores. Mrs. X agreed that the DRA
probe scores were “right on.” After the implementation of the intervention, weekly DRA
charting was used to chart the progress of the target student. In addition to regular polling
of the target student, DRA data was polled from the class in its entirety on two additional
occasions: Early December, and Early January. Results of the Initial November polling as
well as the subsequent monthly polling are shown below:
                               Problem Identification, Baseline and Analysis

Based on the results of the DRA probing one student not currently on an IEP was identified for
intervention (Taylor). Because of the severe discrepancy this student showed compared to her peers, she
was referred for official evaluation (MFE) at the same time the intervention project was started. She did
not qualify for special education services except under Speech and Language. Taylor’s academic concerns
were identified and operationally defined using class goals and the DRA developed local norms. Taylor’s
goal was agreed upon by the team and stated as follows:

       Taylor will be able to read fluently with six unique words per minute out of the Level D book by
       March 1, 2006. This will be below the rest of the class, but considered quite an accomplishment
       for Taylor, and will involve her beginning to improve at a rate comparable to her peers. It will also
       involve bringing her to a level commensurate with the original November level of over half of her

Baseline was established based on the three DRA probes of the class as a whole. Taylor scored three
successive scores of 0 (zero) on these probes. Monitoring was continued throughout the intervention

Because of Taylor’s lower performance level, error analysis was done concerning how Taylor was
reading. These skills would then be addressed in the intervention. This was done through a direct
observation of the skills she employed when attempting to read from books found in her classroom
curriculum. A list of the types of errors she made was created. It was decided that:

      Taylor knew what a book was and what a book was for.
      Taylor knew where the title of a book was and where the story was found in the book. Taylor
       stated that she reads at home but that she usually has to read alone.

Specifically in reading, Taylor:

      Does not recognize the concept of “silent E” or the combinations of two vowels together. Taylor
       confuses “th” for “sh” Confuses the letters J and G. Confuses “ch” for “sh” at the end of a word.
       Struggles with vowels if they start a word.
      Taylor otherwise can usually tell you the beginning sounds of words, but typically can not progress
       beyond this sound.
      She does not remember words she has been told immediately before (ie – the word reappears
       shortly, and again, she does not know it).
      She relies heavily on picture cues, and will insert words based on the cues, even if the actual word
       is spelled very differently. She will also be able to tell you how the word she uses should start to
       be spelled (what letter it should start with) but does not seem to apply this rule to the printed word
       to see if it would fit.
      If Taylor uses words that do not work or make sense, she just goes on and doesn’t seem to notice
       the absurdity of her sentence with the incorrect words.
      Taylor seems to get stuck on small words *cup, pup, we, our* as well as bigger words. Taylor
       seems to attempt to sound out bigger words as well as smaller words. There seems to be little
       connection to word size, at least within the confines of the simpler words used in her reading level
       books. Even though she sounds out parts of the words, she is unable to put them together to make
       the whole word.

In addition to the skills analysis above, a performance analysis was conducted using record reviews,
teacher interview, parent interview, and student interview. Because Taylor was also undergoing an MFE
evaluation, extensive research was put into her case. There were no notable family medical histories,
vision difficulties, or hearing difficulties discovered in this process. It was noted that Taylor’s parents
were working through separation and custody issues. Taylor’s mother worked nights, so Taylor spent
much time alone and at a baby-sitter’s, often being awaken in the middle of the night to return home with
her mother. Taylor seems to enjoy her classmates and teacher. She speaks positively of both. Observing
Taylor in her classroom, I noted that Taylor seems to be more distracted than her peers, and is often told to
“go here” to catch up. When others are looking at the board, Taylor is often looking elsewhere. When
others are looking at their papers, working, Taylor is often looking around. This may be due to confusion
as to what she is supposed to be doing on her papers. Taylor had decent KDI scores (104) but has not
progressed as would be expected. She received Early Childhood Intervention Care services before
Kindergarten. Taylor has received much one-on-one adult support during the past year.

                                            Hypothesis Testing

It has been theorized by Taylor’s teacher and others who have worked with her that she can do more work
than she is doing. It is thought that Taylor does not understand that a book is supposed to tell you
something and that sentences are a combination of words which give information. This is evidenced in the
fact that she does not seem to notice when she reads something incorrectly and it doesn’t make sense, and
that she doesn’t question the validity of her explanation of what a word is based on what she knows about
letters and sounds (For Example: she says the word is cup, but the word in question is spelled

The hypotheses below were developed.

   1. If Taylor recognizes that a guessed word does not make sense, she will work to correct the error
      and read the sentence correctly.
   2. If Taylor is given a story with pictures, Taylor will use the pictures to guess at words, regardless of
      similarity of spelling. If Taylor does not have picture cues, she will instead work at and attempt to
      sound out unrecognized words.

To test hypothesis #1, Taylor was given a story to read. When she came to a word she did not know, she
would fill it in with a similar word (there were no pictures in this story, see #2) but the word substituted
would often not make sense. Taylor filled in 4 nonsense words in the reading, creating four sentences that
did not make sense when read as a whole. Hypothesis 1 was not supported. Taylor in fact does NOT
correct words which do not make sense and try to find another word that would fit in the sentence.

To test hypothesis #2, Taylor was given two equally leveled stories to read. For the first reading, Taylor
was given the story with the pictures (the book itself) and Taylor would read inserting words that could be
found in the picture for words she did not know. For example, she would say “pig” for the printed word
“animals” because there was a large pig in the picture accompanying the text. Taylor made seven such
substitutions on this reading On trial two, Taylor was given the same story, but this time, typed out on a
piece of paper in large font. Here, Taylor did not make the same types of substitutions. Instead, Taylor
would work on the word for a longer time, and if an incorrect word was made, it was considered a similar
looking or sounding word. In every case, the substituted word started with the same sound as the unknown
word. There were 4 such similar substitutions on this story.

Hypothesis 2 was supported. Taylor did in fact use picture cues when they were available (not to her
advantage) and would be forced to work harder to figure out unknown words if no picture cue was
available. Her success rate wasn’t much better – but the words she chose show that she was at least trying,
and she did have the beginning sounds correct, Also, she used these sounds to try to guess at a word (as
apposed to using picture cues to try to guess at a word).

Based on the results of the hypothesis testing, Taylor began intervention with reading. Because the
hypothesis that she relies on pictures and as a result of having pictures and ignores spelling and word
structure when guessing at a word proved true, a part of the readings Taylor would work with were plain
text readings, taken from DRA leveled story books. Also, Taylor was reminded for every guessed
“nonsense” word, that if it doesn’t make sense in the sentence, she should not use it, but instead should
work to find another word. She also had an opportunity to use books with pictures (both types of readings
were used in sessions) because she needs to see that the words she is using based on visible pictures are
not the correct words.


For the intervention, a goal statement was written. It read:

       Taylor will read at the DRA level C book with 6 unique words per minute fluency by March 1,
       2006. Taylor will not utilize nonsense words, but will search for words that make sense in the
       paragraph or sentence and Taylor will use letter cues rather than picture cues to find the correct

These goals were designed to attack the problem as described by the team. Taylor’s teacher agreed to the
intervention method as described. Throughout, Mrs. X seemed happy that I was working with Taylor with
books leveled according to the DRA program already in place in the school. Because the referral team was
concerned that Taylor didn’t see the cohesiveness of sentences, the intervention requires the re-reading of
any sentence which contains a word which requires assistance (to prevent the sentence from being left
with a non-fluent break because of assistance). The entire format applied to the intervention was taken
directly from two researched based intervention methods. Sentence Repeat and Word Attack Hierarchy are
two of the Error Correction and Word Drill Techniques interventions found in The Savvy Teacher’s
Guide: Reading Interventions that Work which was found at the download section of, a website for educators. The intervention’s procedure was agreed upon by Mrs. X
and the rest of the team.

As the intervention progressed, a weekly log was kept of my meetings with Taylor. This showed that,
except when impossible (absences, vacation periods, etc.) the intervention was carried out as it was
planned (at least twice per week). The log is as follows:
Academic Case Study Intervention Integrity Checklist:

Date intervention held – Minimum of 25 minutes reading time.
Goal is twice per week (have offered three if I have time.)
Lines separate weeks:

11/15/05 – first intervention session combined with hypothesis testing based on previous
11/17/05                                                                     observation.
11/22/05 – Student not available
11/24/05 – Thanksgiving Break!
12/20/05 – Christmas Break!
12/22/05 – Christmas Break!
12/27/05 – Christmas Break!
12/29/05 – Christmas Break!
01/10/06 (final probe ended up being taken at this session)
01/12/06 – Moved out of District!

Total of 13 intervention sessions over 6 school weeks/ 9 real world weeks.
                            Evaluation and Recommendations

Taylor’s intervention progress was monitored with a DRA probe once per week and
plotted on the above chart. As can be seen, Taylor began to make improvement after the
second week of intervention. From this point, she progressed at the rate desired. Taylor’s
intervention ended earlier than hoped because she moved out of the district. However, in
the 7 weeks of the intervention, Taylor improved her reading. She started reading 0 (zero)
unique words per minute and ended reading 3.04 unique words per minute, with regular
improvement over the previous five weeks. In addition to the limited unique words per
minute score, Taylor has gone from reading 0 words from a DRA level 3 book (no matter
how much time given) to reading 22 unique words from a DRA level 4 (one level harder)
during the course of the intervention. It takes her a while to sound things out, and for this
reason, she scores low when considering unique words per minute. Additionally, Taylor
has learned good habits, such as looking at letters and not pictures to help her with the
word and restarting any sentence on which she struggles with a word, so that she can hear
the entire sentence as it should sound.

Further evidence of her progression can be seen in many positive teacher comments
relating to her overall improvement in the classroom. These comments can be used to
verify the overall effectiveness of the intervention on classroom performance. Because
Taylor was going through the MFE process, the team was able to meet after two months
of intervention to discuss her progress and agreed that she was doing much better than
she had been previous to the intervention.

Limitations associated with the intervention include the fact that Taylor did not have
anyone to read with at home and therefore could not practice her skills outside of school
with the aid of another. Because of this, there was the fear that she would become
dependent on working with the tutor to know she is reading correctly.

It was planned that the intervention would continue until March, as discussed in the
goals. Further, it had been decided that Mr. Profitt would check with Taylor’s classroom
teacher once a month for the remainder of the school year to check on Taylor’s continued
progress in reading abilities. However, because Taylor has left the district, we will have
to hope for the best for Taylor at her new school home.

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