Date of Degree

9-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Educational Psychology

Advisor(s)

Linnea Ehri

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology

Keywords

Listening Comprehension; Partial Read-Aloud; Poor Decoders; Reading Disabilities; Standardized Tests; Test Accommodations

Abstract

This study explored the potential effectiveness of a partial read-aloud accommodation on the reading comprehension scores of third grade students classified as poor decoders. Past research has explored the use of an accommodation in which the test items are read aloud to students. These studies have demonstrated that reading an entire test aloud results in gains for both students with reading disabilities and their peers reading on grade level, thus invalidating this procedure as an appropriate test accommodation. To be appropriate, a test accommodation must benefit only the students with reading disabilities, not their grade level peers. Previous research has not explored the procedure of reading only portions of a test. A partial read aloud accommodation with pacing requires that the examiner read aloud only directions, question items, multiple choice answers and proper nouns, while students are responsible for reading the passages independently. A field research study showed that struggling third grade readers given the partial read aloud condition demonstrated greater gains in reading comprehension test scores than their grade level peers. The present study explored the issue further by comparing this condition to a standard testing condition and a pacing only condition. The latter condition involved teachers guiding the students through the passages and questions, one by one on a schedule, without reading any items aloud. Participants included 82 third grade students (28 poor decoders and 54 average readers) from two schools and one summer program in Queens, New York (Mean Age = 8 years, 9 months). Results revealed a significant interaction (p < .01) between test condition and student classification. Poor decoders showed a greater increase in their test scores under the partial read aloud with pacing condition than under the pacing only or standard conditions, whereas average readers did not benefit from the partial read aloud with pacing procedure. This study supports the use of a partial read aloud with pacing accommodation to help level the playing field for students who struggle with decoding on tests of reading comprehension, as well as the benefit to more closely identifying the nature of a student's reading disability before identifying a valid and appropriate test accommodation.

 
 

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