DOD SCHOOLS: Additional Reporting Could Improve Accountability for Academic Achievement of Students with Dyslexia
Contributor(s)GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
Humanities and History
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AbstractDOD provides both online and classroom-based professional development to teachers who work with students who struggle to read, and it used 2004-to-2006 funds designated for professional development on dyslexia to supplement those efforts. Most of this professional development prepares teachers to assess student literacy and provides them with strategies to teach students who have particular difficulties, such as reading comprehension and fluency. The department offers its staff training online through a professional development program known as Scholastic RED, a series of courses that focuses on raising reading achievement and improving classroom instruction. In responding to our survey, almost all principals indicated their staff had taken these courses, and more than 80 percent of the principals rated the classes as very useful for such specialized instruction. Also, under a recent initiative, DOD provided its special education teachers and specialists, such as speech therapists, with training on how students develop literacy skills and how to teach reading across all grade levels. According to a survey conducted by DOD, most special education teachers and specialists surveyed said they had completed this training. With the 2004-to-2006 funding designated to support students with dyslexia, DOD purchased additional seats for its Scholastic RED courses, purchased tools to assess students literacy skills, and developed two online courses that include specific modules on dyslexia. The online professional development includes a newly developed course: Fundamentals of Reading K-2 and a course under development for grades 3 to 5. After piloting the K-2 course, it was made available to all teachers in February 2007, and according to our survey results, 29 percent of the schools serving those grades had used it by the end of the school year. The grades 3-to-5 course, according to DOD officials, will be available system wide to all staff in the 2007-08 school year.