The Impact of Two Projects
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There were two major projects that were implemented in the 1990s which had components designed to improve reading achievements of students in Grades 7 to 9. First was the Curriculum Component of the Reform of Secondary Education, (ROSE) by the Government of Jamaica with support from the World Bank. The ROSE curriculum defined four reading levels of students completing primary schooling and developed curriculum and reading materials to improve the reading achievement of students at the first three levels. The fourth level was reading above grade level. Second, was the Jamaica 2000, a bottom-up reform initiative, led by the Jamaica Computer Society Education Foundation with support from the HEART Trust which used Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) as delivered by Auto-Skills software, to promote remedial reading instruction to students in Grades 7 to 9 who were not functionally literate.
The two-fold objective of Reading Achievement: the Impact of two Projects was to determine if there was any empirical evidence to suggest that CAI made any additional contribution to improvement in reading beyond the ROSE curriculum and to identify characteristics of students, who at the end of Grade 9, were still functionally illiterate despite the efforts of both projects or of ROSE alone. The design of the study was to select two matched rural All Age Schools; two matched rural New Secondary Schools and two matched rural Comprehensive High Schools one of each being the beneficiary of both Projects and one of each which only had the benefit of the ROSE Project. All students entering Grade 7 in these six schools in September 1994 were tested using the Nelson’s Reading Achievement Test, again in June 1995 at the end of Grade 7 and again in June 1997 at the end of Grade 9. The Nelson Reading Test was administered using prescribed time set by the publishers of the test, indicating reading power, and on extended time indicating reading capacity. Students who were still functionally illiterate, by extended time, at the end of Grade 9 were assessed on a battery of cognitive and other instruments by the Mico Care Centre.
Reading Achievement: the Impact of two Projects reviewed all major studies that measured reading achievement in Jamaica at the end of primary schooling between 1971 and 1999 and reported the findings of this study in relation to its objectives.
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