Examining Teacher Adaptability with Nez Perce Students during a Summer Youth Writing Project

Margaret Vaughn, Curriculum and Instruction

Recent education reform movements emphasize the need for teachers to adapt effective literacy practices depending on the particular needs of their students (e.g., Department of Education, 2009). This emphasis is likely based upon literature demonstrating that the teacher is the most important factor in student achievement (Bransford, Darling-Hammond, & LePage, 2005). Scholars describe the ability of modifying the curriculum to meet the individual needs of students as adaptive teaching (Duffy, Webb & Kear, 2006). Although scholars contend that adaptive teaching is necessary when teaching literacy (Parsons, Massey & Vaughn, 2011; Anders, Hoffman, & Duffy, 2000) and may result in higher student achievement, there remains relatively few studies which examine adaptive teaching in relation to student achievement. Thus, I am interested in examining adaptive teaching and student achievement at Lapwai Elementary School during a supplemental literacy and arts program aimed at increasing literacy skills with the school’s 88% Nez Perce Tribe student population. Specifically, this Seed Grant will fund examining the research developed during the Summer Youth Writing Project. Research on adaptive teaching and student outcome measures is scarce. Therefore, this project will play an important role in advancing knowledge of adaptive teaching and student outcome measures.