The development and validation of an instrument for identifying patterns of instructional literacy practices

Celeste Mize, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this descriptive study was to develop and validate an instrument for identifying instructional literacy practices relative to Cambourne's Four Dimensions of Learning and Teaching: explicit/implicit, systematic/unsystematic, mindful/mindless, and contextualized/decontextualized. Viewing the teaching of reading and writing through Cambourne's (1999) lens of four instructional dimensions (explicit, systematic, mindful and contextualized) offers new potential understandings to teachers, researchers and theoreticians, on previously unexamined aspects of classroom practices. Literacy instruction should be explicit, systematic, mindful and contextualized. The extent to which it is largely the opposite of any of these dimensions may limit learner achievement. In this study the instrument, called the Dimensions of Literacy Instruction (DOLI) was framed by four research questions, which sought to determine if the DOLI was a reliable instrument for identifying literacy practices relative to Cambourne's Dimensions of Learning and Teaching, as well as possessing evidence of content and construct validity. The DOLI was also scrutinized for ambiguity and population. The study was conducted in two phases. The first focused on instrument development and content validity. The second phase examined, construct validation with a pilot study of classroom teachers from kindergarten, first, second, third and fourth grade as well as reading specialists and literacy coaches (N=740) from a large urban school district. Findings confirmed the DOLI possessed evidence of reliability and content validity but the constructs of explicit, systematic, mindful and contextualized literacy practices were not confirmed. Data analysis also revealed the DOLI was not free of ambiguity and inappropriate for the intended population. The possibilities for future research and the potential discourse regarding literacy practices made the study worthwhile. Perhaps this study will motivate researchers to examine literacy practices in theses terms but in a more organic and contextualized way.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Elementary education|Teacher education|Language arts

Recommended Citation

Celeste Mize, "The development and validation of an instrument for identifying patterns of instructional literacy practices" (2006). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3222583.