Individual Presentation or Panel Title

The Achievement Ideology and Vulnerable Readers

Abstract

The study described in this proposal is a critical content analysis of the fourth grade level text from Reading Wonders (2014), the latest reading series published by McGraw-Hill. I employ as my theoretical frame what MacLeod (2009) terms the achievement ideology. This ideology, states MacLeod, is the “social perspective that sees American society as open and fair and full of opportunity. In this view, success is based on merit, and economic inequality is due to differences in ambition and ability” (p. 3). In describing critical content analysis, Beach, et al. (2009) explain that “what makes a study ‘critical’ is not the methodology but the framework used to think within, through, and beyond the text” (p. 130). The method itself is more generally termed content analysis, a research approach in which “the content of a text is interpreted through a process of coding and identifying themes or patterns . . . using analytical constructs from theories or research” (Beach, et al., p. 129). Results of the study demonstrated that the text promoted what might be termed a “culture of success,” championing such values as industry, self-control, risk-taking, and innovation. The second primary finding was that, despite a coherent emphasis on success, the text was so difficult that it would be hard for average readers—much less those who struggle—to succeed in reading it. Results of this study could play a significant role in alerting potential adopters of the limitations of this curriculum.

Presentation Description

The study described in this presentation is a critical content analysis of the fourth grade level text from Reading Wonders (2014), the latest reading series published by McGraw-Hill. Results of the study demonstrated that the text promoted what might be termed a “culture of success,” championing such values as industry, self-control, risk-taking, and innovation. The second primary finding was that, despite a coherent emphasis on success, the text was so difficult that it would be hard for average readers—much less those who struggle—to succeed in reading it.

Keywords

Critical content analysis, Achievement ideology

Location

Forsyth

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Jun 9th, 9:30 AM Jun 9th, 10:45 AM

The Achievement Ideology and Vulnerable Readers

Forsyth

The study described in this proposal is a critical content analysis of the fourth grade level text from Reading Wonders (2014), the latest reading series published by McGraw-Hill. I employ as my theoretical frame what MacLeod (2009) terms the achievement ideology. This ideology, states MacLeod, is the “social perspective that sees American society as open and fair and full of opportunity. In this view, success is based on merit, and economic inequality is due to differences in ambition and ability” (p. 3). In describing critical content analysis, Beach, et al. (2009) explain that “what makes a study ‘critical’ is not the methodology but the framework used to think within, through, and beyond the text” (p. 130). The method itself is more generally termed content analysis, a research approach in which “the content of a text is interpreted through a process of coding and identifying themes or patterns . . . using analytical constructs from theories or research” (Beach, et al., p. 129). Results of the study demonstrated that the text promoted what might be termed a “culture of success,” championing such values as industry, self-control, risk-taking, and innovation. The second primary finding was that, despite a coherent emphasis on success, the text was so difficult that it would be hard for average readers—much less those who struggle—to succeed in reading it. Results of this study could play a significant role in alerting potential adopters of the limitations of this curriculum.