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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Michael B. Gilbert

First Committee Member

Robert R. Hopkins

Second Committee Member

Juanita G. Curtis

Third Committee Member

Randall Rockey

Fourth Committee Member

A. L. Mikels


Problem: The problem was divided into two parts. The first part investigated the question whether students who were taught reading comprehension skills by the PIRAMID objective-based approach showed a greater gain than students who were taught the same skills by use of the basal reader approach. The second part was to ascertain the degree of concordance between results of the criterion-referenced test (CRT) and results of the norm-referenced test (NRT).

Purpose: The purpose was twofold: (1) to compare gains in reading comprehension achievement of an experimental group with gains of a control group, and (2) to compare the pretest and posttest results obtained from the CRT with those obtained from the CRT to determine the extent of relationship between the two measures.

Methodology: The study was conducted in thirty-four fourth and fifth grade classrooms in three school districts in Northern California with a sample of 670 students participating. An experimental group consisted of 369 students and a control group consisted of 301 students. Of the total sample of 670, 407 were classified as students of low socioeconomic status (SES) and 263 were classified as students of middle SES. The experimental group teachers taught reading comprehension by the PIRAMID objectives-based approach and the control group teachers taught reading comprehension by the basal reader approach. The two groups were assigned to a Nonrandomized Pretest and Posttest Control Group Design. Pretests and posttests on the CRT and the Stanford Achievement Test were administered in one school district and pretests and posttests on the CRT and the Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills were administered in the other two ·school districts. Analyses of covariance procedures were used to test Hypotheses 1-6 and a Pearson Correlation analysis was used to test Hypotheses 7 and 8.

Findings: (1) The experimental group showed a significantly greater gain than the control group as evidenced by both measures. (2) Fourth grade subjects showed a significantly greater gain than fifth grade subjects as evidenced by the CRT. (3) Subjects of middle SES showed a significantly greater gain than subjects of low SES as demonstrated by both measures. (4) The experimental approach was more effective for fourth grade and middle SES subjects as evidenced by an approach by grade and an approach by SES interaction on the CRT. No significant differences occurred when grade or interactions were taken into consideration on the NRT. The correlation between results of the CRT and the NRT was substantially high and consistent across all measurements.

Conclusions: It was concluded that the PIRAMID objectives-based approach was more effective than the basal reader approach in teaching reading comprehension skills to fourth and fifth grade students of low and middle socioeconomic levels. The CRT was highly comparable to the CRT in assessment of reading achievement.

Administrative Implications: This study has implications for the elementary school principal relating to staff development programs, alternative school organizational patterns, the use of instructional objectives to provide balance in the total curriculum, the establishment of a resource center, parent education, budgetary provisions, and evaluation.

Recommendations: The following recommendations are presented: (1) to replicate this study with a larger sample size and a broader range of SES groups; (2) to conduct a study similar to the current study in which the amount of investigator supervision would be reduced; (3) to conduct a similar study on the PIRAMID math instructional system in the subtest area of math concepts; (4) to follow up the current sample in this study to determine how lasting would be the effects of the experimental approach; (5) the PIRAMID Consortium should seek ways to reduce the amount of testing involved with its Instructional System; (6) establish grade equivalent norms on the PIRAMID CRT's; and (7) the California State Department of Education should refine its method of determining SES by including other indicators rather than relying solely on parents' occupation.



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