Academic journal article The Journal of Research in Business Education

Integrated Reading Literacy Interventions: A Qualitative Study of the Defining Characteristics and Classroom Practices of Inservice Teachers of High School Business

Academic journal article The Journal of Research in Business Education

Integrated Reading Literacy Interventions: A Qualitative Study of the Defining Characteristics and Classroom Practices of Inservice Teachers of High School Business

Article excerpt

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to contribute an understanding of integrated reading literacy interventions in business course phenomena via the review, analysis, synthesis and detail of data. Method: The qualitative research method was utilized in the study via the focus group tool to explore the phenomenon. The data were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded to determine findings. Results: Findings of the study seem to confer with previous research findings, in regards to defining characteristics. Although, it emerged that participants often selected lower level integrated reading literacy interventions that focused on phonemic awareness, in lieu of more complex interventions for improving learners' reading comprehension, in lieu of the fact the participants were primarily practicing in high school settings. Learners in high school settings are more likely to struggle with comprehension than phonemic awareness. Further, participants indicated little agreement on the frequency for utilizing integrated reading literacy comprehension strategies in high school business courses.

This study was supported by a research grant from the Delta Pi Epsilon Research Foundation

Introduction

The act of integrating academic content into business courses received initial policy attention with the passage of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act (1984). The Act explicitly indicated that coursework defined as vocational, at the time, and now defined as career and technical, should occur with the integration of academic content (i.e. reading and math). However, the act did little to define the characteristics or suggest models to carry out the task (Johnson, Charner & White, 2003). Two decades later, the National Assessment of Vocational Education (2004) indicated that career and technical education (hereafter referred to as CTE) courses had no significant impact on student academic achievement. The 2006 reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act responded by strengthening the call for integrated academics with the addition of an accountability measure that tied future federal funding to the results of the standardized academic assessments required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (2002).

The accountability allowed CTE researchers to narrow their agenda to focus on the integration of reading and mathematics, as those were the two areas assessed by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (2002). Stone, Alfeld, Pearson, Lewis and Jensen (2006) reported that although the body of literature that investigated integrated academic content in CTE courses had grown, further research continued to be complicated by several factors. Three of those influential factors were the definition of integration was ambiguous, integrated instructional interventions were under researched, and CTE teachers were underprepared to implement strategic academic integration models for the teaching of reading and mathematics. The DPE Research Project Committee (2009) continued this call by identifying integrated reading strategies as an area which needed additional research. In this study, we focus on the integration of reading in the context of teaching for and about business.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to contribute to an understanding of integrated reading literacy interventions in business course phenomena via the authors review, analysis, synthesis and detail of the qualitative research method and procedure implemented in the collection of that data. As a result, knowledge is added to the body of literature that enhances the description, defining characteristics and practices of high school-level (grades 6-12) teachers for the integration of content for and about business with reading skills and knowledge.

The study sought answers to the following research questions:

1. What do teachers of high school-level business courses perceive to be the defining characteristics of integration, literacy and interventions? …

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