[PS-2.28] The impact of teacher competence on Individual Educational Plans for children with reading difficulties

Åvall, M. , Wolff, U. & Andreasson, I.

Department of Education, Gothenburg, Sweden

In Sweden, an increasing number of children are defined as having some form of difficulty in school. A majority of them have reading problems. In a meta-analysis conducted by the National Reading Panel (2000), explicit instruction in phonemic awareness, phonemic decoding skills, fluency, construction of meaning, vocabulary, and guided reading were found to signify effective reading instruction. For children with reading difficulties, the same components of instruction are needed, but have to be even more intensive, more explicit, and carried out in small groups or in one-to-one tutoring (Foorman & Torgesen, 2001). The hypothesis in the present study is that the knowledge about the structure of language among teachers is of critical importance for the design of the reading interventions. However, Moats (2009) argues that teachers? knowledge about phonology, morphology and orthographic rules is too low. According to the Swedish legislation, a pupil shall be given remedial tuition if there is an apprehension that the educational targets will not be achieved. An Individual Educational Plan [IEP] of the special support should be drawn up in consultation with the pupils and their parents. The aim of the present study is to investigate the relation between teachers? actual knowledge of the structure of language, as well as their educational background, and the quality of the pedagogical interventions planned in the IEPs. The IEPs (N=150), which comprise one part of the empirical material are gathered from 61 teachers in 11 municipalities in Sweden. The other part comprises a teacher (N = 61) test concerning the structure of the Swedish language. Preliminary analyses indicate a large variation of the quality between IEPs including the assessments of educational needs. The overall question is how the interventions are expressed in the IEPs depending on kind of difficulties, and to what extent they will mirror teacher competence.