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Journal of Educational Psychology


The current study reports on a large-scale quantitative analysis of classroom talk practices and links to different measures of reading achievement within upper elementary classrooms. Data involving 745 fourth- and fifth-grade teachers and 18,844 students from the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) study were used. Talk was quantified via various talk-related indicators from 2 observation protocols and a student survey. Dimensionality analyses suggest these indicators represent 4 factors consisting of teacher explaining, questioning, encouraging of student talk, and big-picture communicating. Links to 2 different standardized reading achievement measures were also modeled with improved ratings of teacher explanations and questioning predicting higher standardized reading scores. Relationships varied, though, by different measures of classroom talk (i.e., observational protocols vs. student surveys) and levels of analysis (i.e., the student, class period, or school level). Students’ but not observers’ ratings of talk practices linked to standardized reading at the class period level, whereas observers’ ratings related to standardized reading performance at the school level. Interpretations, implications for future research, and connections to educational practice are conveyed.