The relationship of language ability, teacher effectiveness, and parent/school interaction to primary students' reading achievement

Mary Louise Ercolano Malyska, Fordham University


The purpose of the investigation was to determine if there were significant relationships between (a) Our Class and Its Work (OCIW) student effectiveness ratings of teachers, (b) kindergarten and first-grade language assessments, and (c) parent/school written, telephone, and conference interactions with CAT reading scores beyond the.05 level on a population of 308 elementary school children in Grades 1-4 in a northeastern suburban district. A second purpose was to determine if the above measures are a factor in explaining the exit of remedial students from mandatory compensatory programs. First-, third-, and fourth-grade students' ratings of the teacher's pacing were significantly correlated with CAT scores. First-graders' OCIW ratings of Instructional Time and Opportunity to Learn were positively correlated with reading achievement; first-graders' OCIW ratings of Structuring Comments were negatively correlated with CAT measures. For the entire sample, the OCIW ratings accounted for 12.1% of the variance associated with reading achievement. The pertinent finding was that different grade levels of student reading achievements were related to explicit perceived teacher-child interactions. The following relationships, although significant, were not indicative of causality, but may be useful in research in accounting for variance of reading achievement not attributed to other measures. Kindergarten/first-grade language achievement scores were significantly correlated to reading achievement in the third grade, $r(54) = .39,\ p < .001,$ and the fourth grade, $r(40) = .48,\ p < .001.$ The implication was that the language screening test result was correlated with later reading comprehension levels of third- and fourth-graders but not first- and second-graders. Researchers should assess factors at each grade level rather than using a global measure for several grades. Parent written, r(56) = $-$.39, $p < .001,$ phone, r(56) = $-$.29, $p < .001,$ and teacher contact frequencies were significant and inversely related to reading achievement in the first grade only. The significance of the finding was that academic problems elicit parental contact in the first grade more than in later grades. Conferences were not correlated with reading achievement, as only one parent did not hold a parent/teacher conference. Finally, 5 students who did exit the remedial reading program rated their teachers as having more enthusiasm and providing better feedback than 22 students who did not exit the program. The above finding was attributed to the success of these students in mastering their curriculum requirements. The kindergarten/first-grade language assessment did not differentiate between students who did or did not exit the remedial reading program. The reason for this finding may have been due to the small sample size. However, this relationship should be investigated, as the early language skills were correlated with later reading comprehension for the entire group. The external validity of the study is limited to a suburban school population. Further research is needed to investigate the relationship between early language skills with later reading achievement levels and for lower SES levels.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Elementary education|Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Malyska, Mary Louise Ercolano, "The relationship of language ability, teacher effectiveness, and parent/school interaction to primary students' reading achievement" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9809006.