2014 LORNE H. WOOLLATT DISTINGUISHED PAPER AWARD
Congratulations to Kathleen Sheehan, the 2014 Lorne H. Woollatt Distinguished Paper Award winner for her paper entitled, “What Proportion of the High School/College Text Complexity Gap is due to Genre-Based Differential Feature functioning (DFF)?”
The Lorne H. Woollatt Distinguished Paper Award is an award named in honor of Lorne Woollatt, a distinguished New York State educator and NERA member. NERA research papers submitted for this award are evaluated on a 35-point scale. The winner is also awarded a stipend for travel to present the awarded paper at the American Educational Research Association Conference (AERA) to be held April 16-20th in Chicago.
Kathleen Sheehan is Principal Research Scientist in the Research and Development Division at Educational Testing Service (ETS) located in Princeton, New Jersey. She has won a variety of awards and patents. This award-winning paper will be presented at the 2015 AERA Conference.
Her paper addresses an important problem in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), with the problem being that they accelerate text complexity expectations for students in grades 1 through 12. This is to close a “vast” and “alarming” gap between the complexity levels of the texts that students read in high school (HS) compared to those that they will be expected to read in college and careers. The paper examines a key assumption underlying the method used to quantify this gap: that scores generated via traditional readability metrics are not subject to genre-based differential feature functioning (DFF). Analyses suggest that a strategy of accounting for genre DFF reduces the estimated magnitude of the gap by nearly 50%. Implications are presented.
2013 LORNE H. WOOLLATT DISTINGUISHED PAPER AWARD
NERA is proud to announce that the winner of the 2014 Lorne Woollatt Distinguished Paper Award is Dr. Michael Deasy for his paper entitled, “Developing Basic and Higher-Level Reading Processing Skills-Exploring Reading Instruction with the PIRLS Database.” The award winning paper was co-authored with Lorrain Dagostino-University of Massachusetts Lowell, James Carifio- University of Massachusetts-Lowell and Mark Fenster-University of Notre Dame Maryland. Dr. Deasy earned his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in Language Arts and Literacy. He continues to teach at the middle school level in the Athol-Royalston Regional School district in Massachusetts.
The Lorne H. Woollatt Distinguished Paper Award is named in honor of a presenter and author, Lorne H. Woollatt who was a distinguished New York State educator and active member of NERA. Entries for the award are evaluated on a 35 point criteria base. The winner receives a stipend for travel to an invited session at the American Educational Research Association Conference (AERA).
Dr. Deasy’s paper explored the relationship between an instructional framework and reading achievement on a fourth grade international reading assessment using data from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2006 (PIRLS). It investigated which elements of the instructional framework best discriminated the level of reading performance, the best overall conceptualization of the framework, and the practice of making country comparisons based on results of international literacy assessments. The major results indicated that, while the instructional framework discriminated well at the top and low ends of the international benchmark scale, it did not discriminate well in the middle levels. The investigation also found that reading instruction that occurred both early and frequently as well as involving word recognition, comprehension, and motivated to read, discriminated the best.
Dr. Deasy presented the paper at the invited State and Regional Educational Association Distinguished Paper session on April 6 of the 2014 American Educational Research Association conference that was held in Philadelphia.