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The sound-amplified environment and reading achievement in elementary students

, University of Arkansas, United States

University of Arkansas . Awarded


This study was designed to address the result using sound enhancement technology in classrooms as a method of enhancing the auditory experience for students seated in the rear sections of classrooms. Previous research demonstrated the efficacy of using sound distribution systems (SDS) in real time to enhance speech perception (Anderson & Goldstein, 2004; Boothroyd, 2004), oral reading/decoding (Martin, 2000; Wise et al., 2007), phonemic awareness and phonics skills (Flexer et al., 2002; Long, 2007), on-task behavior (Blake et al., 1991), as well as teachers' vocal fatigue (Gotaas & Starr, 1993). However, there is a paucity of research addressing the long-term impact on student achievement in an acoustically enhanced environment.

A retrospective longitudinal design was used to track reading performance of students during their elementary years. Standardized assessments were selected as the outcomes measure since administration of such assessments is now required as part of compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act (2001).

A quantitative methodology was utilized in the analysis of data for this study. A paired-sample t test was used to compare reading achievement results from years prior to installation of the sound distribution system (SDS) equipment to one, two, and three years of instruction in a sound-amplified environment.

Subjects included groups of grade level classes with SDS equipment already in place. Retrospective data from standardized assessments administered from 2005 through 2009 were obtained from the Arkansas Department of Education website for the analysis.

The reading performance of students placed in classrooms that had been equipped with SDS equipment was measured using the combined scores from three different reading achievement tests.

Results showed a positive trend in reading achievement scores for the combined observation groups. The control groups showed inconsistent gains and losses in reading achievement scores. Of interest were the findings indicating the greatest positive gains in reading achievement were seen for those grade levels which had the baseline scores which were significantly below average. Also noted were that positive gains in reading achievement scores were generally not realized immediately. Gains tended to increase as the length of time spent in the SDS environment also increased.


Betebenner, E.W. The sound-amplified environment and reading achievement in elementary students. Ph.D. thesis, University of Arkansas. Retrieved March 24, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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