The relationship between reader self-perception and reading achievement for Black males in special education
Research has demonstrated that students' feelings about themselves as readers are crucial predictors of good literacy outcomes. For students with special education classifications, the stigma of being designated as such may adversely affect self-perception in general. Given that students in special education often experience both low self-perceptions and low reading achievement, it is important to understand how these students feel about themselves as readers. The focus of the two articles in this dissertation is the relationship between special education status and self-perception in reading.
The first article is a comparative study of 418 sixth-grade Black, Hispanic, and White males and females in and not in special education. Analysis of variance and analysis of covariance of a survey of reader self-perception and an assessment of reading comprehension are used to investigate the extent to which any negative effects of special education on reader self-perception may differ by gender and racial groups and whether the differences found could be explained by reading achievement. Key findings indicate a negative effect of special education designation on reader self-perceptions for males across all racial groups sampled; however, the effect was most dramatic among Blacks and Whites. Moreover, given that Whites generally had higher average reader self-perceptions whether in special education or not, the most negative effect was on Black males. Controlling for reading comprehension did not dramatically change the results of the analysis.
The second article uses a grounded theory approach to examine responses given by 12 Black males in special education during a semi-structured interview about their reader self-perceptions and their understanding of special education and disabilities. Cross-case comparisons reveal that while some of the students did have low reader self-perceptions as readers and low reading ability, many of them had average to high reader self-perceptions in spite of their low reading ability. Additionally, many of the interviews reveal support for the Matthew Effects theory, while also highlighting additional issues at play in the reading achievement and self-perceptions of these students not accounted for by the theory.
0525: Educational psychology
0529: Special education
0535: Reading instruction