Getting KnERDI with Language: Examining Teachers' Knowledge for Enhancing Reading Development in Code-Based and Meaning-Based Domains
Davis, D. S., Samuelson, C., Grifenhagen, J., Delaco, R., & Relyea, J. (2021, October 19). READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY.
Much of the early research on teachers’ knowledge for reading instruction used instruments that primarily emphasized code-based aspects of reading, unintentionally signaling that meaning-focused knowledge is not essential for teaching foundational reading to elementary-age children. In this study, we developed the Knowledge for Enhancing Reading Development Inventory (KnERDI; pronounced 'nerdy'), an instrument that measures teachers’ knowledge in two domains: alphabetic code/word reading and meaning/connected text processes. Using this instrument, we sought to determine if teachers’ knowledge of the two proposed domains was highly associated and if knowledge was related to level of education and amount of teaching experience. We report on the reliability and validity of the KnERDI and describe patterns in educators’ performance on this instrument. We found that the KnERDI measured both domains with acceptable reliability in multiple samples of educators enrolled in an online professional development course. Educators scored higher on the meaning/connected text process subscale than on the alphabetic code/word reading subscale. The two subscales were strongly correlated, indicating that teachers’ knowledge as measured on the KnERDI is a unidimensional construct. Advanced degree completion was not consistently related to educators’ scores on the KnERDI, but there was a positive association between educators’ performance on the instrument and their years of experience teaching early reading, particularly with respect to the code-based domain. We discuss potential uses of the KnERDI in future research and practice, positive trends in educators’ performance on the instrument, and challenges in measuring educators’ knowledge for supporting higher-level language and comprehension processes.