(April 26, 2012)

Student presents at Research & Creative Arts Conference

SHREVEPORT, LA — Graduating senior Candace Rushing presented "How Do You Spell /ʃəʊl/: Orthographical Differences Across Fourth Graders at Three SES Levels" at the 18th Annual Student Conference for Research & Creative Arts. The paper is a result of research Rushing gathered from spring 2011 to 2012, in coordination with Dr. Sue Lawrence (Hernandez), recently retired from the Education Department; Dr. Dominic Salinas, Director of the Education Department; and Dr. Matt Weeks, Associate Professor of Psychology.

Candace Rushing
Candace Rushing

"It has been a long but rewarding process," said Rushing, an Elementary Education major. "I am looking forward to continuing my research and using what I learn throughout my career in the field of education."

Rushing explored differences and similarities in non-standard orthographical patterns and strategies of 52 randomly selected fourth graders in nine classrooms at three local schools. Her spelling assessment utilized a cloze procedure wherein the students were asked to spell 138 high-frequency and most-often-misspelled words contextually embedded into 20 sets of sentences.

"My advisor and mentor, Dr. Lawrence, has been a joy to work with," said Rushing. "I don't know how far I would have gotten into this project without her guidance and expertise. Dr. Matt Weeks's expertise also was invaluable in successfully completing the project."

She was awarded second place in the social sciences division for her research during Centenary's annual Student Research Forum, held April 19-20.

Since this presentation was part of a larger research project with 154 fourth graders, Rushing hopes to analyze the results on the remaining 102 students who were not included in the current sample in the future. She plans to continue focusing on targeting spelling deficiencies to develop effective intervention strategies.

The Student Conference for Research and Creative Arts began in 1994 as an effort to provide students an opportunity to present their original work in a professional format and help prepare them for their academic and professional careers. The 18th Annual Conference was held at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, April 25-26.