Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Studies

Committee Director

Jack E. Robinson

Committee Member

Raymond F. Morgan

Committee Member

Margie G. Tully

Committee Member

Jane M. Hager

Committee Member

Stephen G. Greiner


This qualitative research was designed to describe the nature of data sources that inform decision making in reading by experienced second grade teachers. Data was collected on seven subjects from multiple sources: seven, successive interviews, think alouds using videotaped lessons, classroom observations, and inspection of documents such as grade books, student work samples, report cards, and reading tests. Data analysis was accomplished by transcribing all data into a qualitative data base (Padilla, 1991). Text chunks were tagged and filtered by data source. Categories such as oral language and comparison of data were added as they emerged during analysis. The most important theme to emerge in this study was that of teacher change. While the initial purpose was to describe the assessment data base of seven exemplary teachers, they were all found to be in a state of transition from reliance on basal methodology and comparative assessments to a reliance on whole language methodology and authentic assessment practices. Therefore, their data sources were significantly affected by this transition. The results present a significant contribution by describing the data sources and their use for decision making in reading by experienced teachers in a state of transition. Surveys (Barry, 1992; Coulter, 1992) suggest these subjects are representative of a majority of experienced teachers in transition. Therefore, the results may be generalized to those experienced teachers who are not early adopters of innovation. The results are contrasted with the literature on novices and recommendations are presented for preservice education and mentorship programs for beginning teachers. The results are then compared to recommended best practices in authentic assessment and recommendations are made for inservice to facilitate teacher change. The findings indicate that teachers in transition must first acquire a knowledge base of reading as a constructive literacy process. Through an understanding of this cognitive activity, they will be able to confront their own belief systems and make meaningful changes in their daily classroom practices. In addition, acquiring the language of reading as an interactive process will enable teachers to articulate better their own intuitive theories about children and learning.