Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bloggin' tidbit - principles I have learned

I've now read two books on blogging. The first, by Hugh Hewitt, provided much of the initial impetus I needed to start my blog. The second, Naked Conversations, is a much better (and less politically-focused) book and is recommended reading to anyone who wants to better understand the blogphere.

From both books I've extracted a list of principles that I hope I follow in my blog. They are relatively simple. I'm listing them here for others who are contemplating the plunge into a blog. Also, I'm listing them here as an informal, adhoc listing of principles that I hope IQs Corner reflects. If readers of my blog find me straying from these principles....please let me know via a comment....my readers need to hold me accountable.

According to what I recall from these two books, the following are select key principles (there are many more) to a successful blog.
  • Be a trusted source.
  • Have or build a reputation/authority in a domain of knowledge.
  • Be transparent.
  • Be authentic.
  • Blog about topics for which you have a passion. [PS - "passion" reminds me of the excellent book I recently read called Exuberence ,by Kay Redfield Jamison - another book I recommend]

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What does the WISC-IV measure? CHC-organized CFA study

[Double click to make image larger.....sorry for the poor quality. It is the best I can do at this time]

The latest issue of School Psychology Review has an excellent article on confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the WISC-IV norm data, by a research team led by Tim Keith. As I've mentioned before, I always read anything written by Tim Keith, particularly if it involves structural equation modeling (SEM) of cognitive batteries. In the language of the PGA golf tour.....Tim is "dah man" in my book for good analyses (with SEM/CFA methods) in the arena of applied psychometrics.

Currently a pdf copy of this journal issues is not available...so no link to the article is provided. Below is the formal reference citation, journal abstract, select important comments/conclusions by the researchers, one editorial comment by this blogmaster, and an invitation to anyone at Psych Corp to provide a guest blog post response.
  • Keith, T., Fine, J., Taub, G., Reynolds, M. & Kranzler, J. (2006). Higher-Order, Multi-Sample, Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—Fourth Edition: What Does it Measure? School Psychology Review, 35 (1), 108-127.
Abtstract
  • The recently published fourth edition of Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children represents a considerable departure from previous versions of the scale. The structure of the instrument has changed, and subtests have been added and deleted. The technical manual for the WISC-IV provided evidence supporting this new structure, but questions about consistency of measurement across ages and the nature of the constructs measured by the test remain. This research was designed to determine whether the WISC-IV measures the same constructs across its 11-year age span and to explicate the nature of those constructs. The results suggest that the WISC-IV indeed measures consistent constructs across ages. The scoring structure of the test was not supported in these analyses, however. Comparison of theory-derived alternative models suggests a model more closely aligned with Cattell-Horn-Carroll theory provides a better fit to the WISC-IV standardization data than does the existing WISC-IV structure. In particular, it appears that the WISC-IV measures crytallized ability (Gc), visual processing (Gv), fluid reasoning (Gf), short-term memory (Gsm), and processing speed(Gs); some abilities are well-measured, others are not. We recommend that users regroup the Perceptual Reasoning tests, and Arithmetic, to better reflect the constructs measured by the WISC-IV. Specific suggestions are also provided for interpretation of WISC-IV scores.

Select Author Comments/Conclusions
  • The present research did find overall support for the invariance of the constructs across the instrument’s 11 age-differentiated groups. The theoretical and scoring model contained in the WISC-IV technical manual was not supported, however.
  • For the WISC-IV, CHC theory provided an alternativeand likely a more valid understanding of construct measurement than did the structure that guided its development and the ensuing scoring structure. Results from these analyses indicate that CHC theory provided a better fit to the standardization data thandid the instrument’s four factor theoretical model. Specifically, the findings from this research indicate that a model separating PRI into measures of fluid reasoning and visual-spatial processing fit the data better than a model with a single PRI factor.
  • The Word Reasoning subtest, although designed in part to measure fluid reasoning, measures a verbal factor, comprehension-knowledge. The results also indicate that the Picture Completion subtest measures both crystallized intelligence and visual-spatial processing. As hypothesized by the WISC-IV’s developers, the Matrix Reasoning subtest is mainly a measure of fluid reasoning. However, the Symbol Search subtest measures not only processing speed, but also the CHC factor visual-spatial processing.
  • The results also indicate that the Arithmetic subtest is a complex measure of cognitive abilities; it measures primarily fluid reasoning, but may also measure working (or shortterm) memory and crystallized intelligence. These findings concerning Arithmetic are consistent with previous findings on the WISC-III and continue the debate concerning what this subtest measured in previous versions of the WISC (Keith & Witta, 1997; Kranzler, 1997). They also suggest that the WISC-IV Arithmetic subtest, like previous versions, provides an excellent measure of g.
Comment from blogmaster
  • I take issue with the last statement above, namely, that the Arithmetic subtest may be a good measure of Gf and possibly g. As appropriately pointed out the Keith et al (in their limitations section), a significant limitation of this study is the lack of other construct indicators from important CHC domains. When cross-battery CFA studies with prior editions of the Wechsler have included indicators of Gq (primary math achievement tests), Arithmetic always demonstrates strong loadings on Gq...not Gf. For example, a recent joint CFA study of the WISC-III and WJ III (Phelps, McGrew, Knopik & Ford, 2005) found, when evaluated within the context of a relatively "complete" set of CHC indicators, the WISC-III Arithmetic test is primarily a measure of Gq (.60+ loading) , with some possible low Gs variance (.20+ loading). Additional support for this interpretation was provided in Woodcock's (1990 [warning....the Woodcock article is 3.8 MB in size] seminal (and first) CHC/Gf-Gc cross-battery organized empirical publication where the Wechsler Arithmetic test, across 8 different CFA analyses, demonstrated a median Gq loading of .753. Most of the studies that continue to suggest that Arithmetic may be a great indicator of Gf/g are typically within-Wechsler CFA studies, studies that do not include an appropriate set of Gq factor indicators.
Invitation for guest blog post response
  • Given that my WJ III authorship status may be viewed as biasing my reading of the Keith et al article, I hereby extend an open invitation to anyone from Psych. Corp. to send me (in Word format) comments and or concerns they have about the original Keith et al study and/or my post. Is anyone from Psych. Corp reading this blog? I would present your comments "as is" as a guest blog post.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Are boys at an eductional disadvantage due to slower cognitive processing speed? New Intelligence research article

Interesting article in the journal Intelligence, based on analysis of the, WJ (1977), WJ-R (1989) and WJ III (2001) nationally representative norm samples, that suggests that males may be at a disadvantage in learning due to generally slower cognitive processing speed (Gs as per CHC theory) than females. Given my WJ III authorship status (and potential conflict of interest), I'm only posting the reference, abstract, one summary comment from the article, and a URL link (so readers can read and form their own conclusions).

The important question from this study, which I hope stimulates some comments at this blog and/or discussion over on the CHC listserv, is "what are the educational implications of this finding?"
  • Camarata, S. & Woodcock, R. (2006). Sex differences in processing speed: Developmental effects in males and females. Intelligence, 34, 231-252. (click here to view)
Abstract
  • The purpose of this study was to compare the cognitive abilities and selected achievement performance of females and males across the lifespan on standardization samples of broad cognitive abilities in 1987 participants (1102 females, 885 males) from the WJ III, 4253 participants (2014 males, 2239 females) from the WJ-R, and 4225 participants (1964 males and 2261 females) from the WJ-77. Preschool through adult cohorts were included in the analyses. The results indicated that males scored significantly lower on estimates of Gs (processing speed) in all three normative samples, with the largest difference evident in adolescent subgroups. A secondary finding was significantly higher scores for males on estimates of comprehension knowledge (Gc) in all three samples. Follow-up analyses of the achievement tests also indicated lower performance for males on speeded tests such as reading fluency and writing fluency. There was a high degree of concordance across tests and no sex difference was observed in overall estimates of general intellectual ability (GIA) on the WJ III. The educational implications of these findings are discussed with an emphasis on the adolescent (high school) cohort.
Additional comment from authors regarding potential educational implications:
  • "...reading and writing fluency were significantly lower in males in the data from achievement testing, a difference that is likely related, at least in part, to the processing speed difference. Consider that many classroom activities, including testing, are directly or indirectly related to processing speed. The higher performance in females may contribute to a classroom culture that favors females, not because of teacher bias Hoff-Sommers, 1998) but because of inherent sex differences in processing speed and the relationship this parameter has with classroom activities and potential learning differences in males and females."
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Friday, April 28, 2006

Neuropsychological assessment - Validity evidence for Dean-Woodcock Sensory Motor Battery

A recently published article reports discriminative validity evidence for the Dean--Woodcock Sensory-Motor Battery, which is part of the Dean-Woodcock Neuropsychological Battery.  Given my authorship interest in the WJ III component of this battery, I need to alert readers to my potential conflict of interest in making this post.  As a result, I'm simply posting the article title, abstract, and URL (to the article) without editorial comment.
  • Volpe, A., Davis, A & Dean, R. (2006). Predicting global and specific neurological impairment with sensory-motor functioning .Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 21, 203–210. (click here to view article)
Abstract
  • The present study assessed the ability of the Dean–Woodcock Sensory-Motor Battery (DWSMB) to distinguish between normal subjects and neurologically impaired individuals. Scores from the subtests of the DWSMB for 250 normal and 250 neurologically impaired individuals were randomly assigned to two equal groups to allow for cross-validation. The DWSMB was able to correctly identify 92.8% of the cases, identifying 94.4% of the normal population and 91.2% of the neurologically impaired subjects. The cross-validation correctly identified 87.2% of the total cases, identifying 91.2% of the normal subjects and 83.2% of the neurologically impaired subjects. An additional discriminant analysis indicated that the DWSMB correctly identified the following cases: 44.9% cardio-vascular accidents, 66.7% multiple sclerosis, 40% seizures, 42% traumatic brain injuries, 62.7% dementia, and 54.5% Parkinson’s disease. The results add to the validity of the DWSMB by providing evidence of its ability to differentiate between neurologically impaired and normal individuals.


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Recent literature of interest 04-28-06 posted

This weeks recent literature of interest can be found by clicking here.

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Scientists identify "intelligence gene"

I suppose I need to make this post as it is appearing all over the scientific blogsphere.  I haven't had a chance to read the original article and I'm a novice at behavioral genetics.  So reader....judge for yourself.


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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Passing of a school psychology legend - Nadine Lambert


The following text was posted by Tom Fagan to the NASP listserv re: the sudden passing of a legend in school psychology--Nadine Lambert
  • "Dr. Frank Worrell reported today on the CDSPP listserv the death of Dr. Nadine Murphy Lambert, apparently in an auto accident. Born on October 21, 1926, Nadine was 79 years old. She earned her B.A. in psychology at UCLA in 1948, her M.A.. in education at Los Angeles State U. in 1955, and her PhD in psychology at the University of Southern California in 1965. She worked for the California State Department of Education as a reseach consultant conducting demonstration research programs for emotionally handicapped children in 16 school districts in Southern California. In this capacity she served as a colleague of the reknowned Eli Bower, contributing much to the efforts to establish mental health programs in the schools. She joined the faculty at UC-Berkeley in 1964 as Director of its School Psychology Program, and served on the Berkeley faculty to the present. Among her distinctions she served as president of the CASPP (1962-1963), held the Distinguished Service Award from Division 16 (1980), as well as the Division's Senior Scientist Award (2005), an APA award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Psychology as a Professional Practice (1986), and in 1998-1999 she received APA's award for Distinguished Contributions of Applications of Psychology to Education and Training. She had also served on and/or chaired the APA Board of Directors and the APA Board of Educational Affairs. If there was an important professional activity or board in school psychology, Nadine was almost always involved. She joined APA in 1956 and became a Fellow of divisions 15 and 16 in 1974. Although not a member of NASP, she was granted Honorary Membership in NASP in 1996. She regularly attended NASP and APA conventions and I had the pleasure of talking with her a few weeks ago at the NASP convention in Anaheim. She was NASP's Legends in School Psychology speaker at its 1998 convention. Her absence is an enormous loss to the school psychology community, although her presence will always be known. You may see a recent photo and brief biography at her departmental website."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Rapid cognitive assessment of knowledge structures - Guest post by John Garruto

The following is a guest post by John Garruto, school psychologist with the Oswego School District and member of the IQs Corner Virtual Community of Scholars. John reviewed the following article and has provided his comments below.

  • Kalyuga, S. (2006). Rapid cognitive assessment of learners’ knowledge structures. Learning and Instruction, 6, 1-11. (click here to view article)

Last week, I attempted to get a head start on this summer’s coursework by reading my text on psychopharmacology. I needed to read the pictures a few times on the properties of neurotransmission and, even now, I am sure I would mess it up. However, if a new intelligence test comes out on the market and one were to describe the task to me, I could likely quickly identify the broad and narrow ability associated with it. This is related to the concept of schema…our mental representations of various learned concepts. The more advanced the information in our schema--the easier it is to pick up new information. Furthermore, we can access the information within our well-developed schemas rapidly.

Kalyuga’s article gets at the heart of our knowledge structures or schemas. Kalyuga discusses that the draw on working memory is not as substantial when our schemas are well developed. When information is so familiar to us…we can quickly draw upon that information, use it, and "refile" it for later use (my interpretation-not mentioned in the article.) When information is still new-we are still solidifying our learning-we may need to call upon many of the related concepts in working memory.

  • I would probably be well served to comment on Kalyuga’s specific study-although I did not find the study to be as significant as the information leading up to it. In general, Kalyuga examined four types of schemas: change, group, vary, and restate. He related it to the types of schemas one used to solve word problems. The subjects were required to write only the first step to solving the math word problem. If the first step was a setting up of the problem, less points would be offered. If the first step (automatically retrieved) was the answer or something where a logical second or third step was actually as a first step…higher points were offered (because the students did not need to analyze the problem-it had been rapidly executed already.) Although time certainly decreased for rapid assessment, the score was higher for traditional assessment methods. The point of Kalyuga’s article is well taken that we can use rapid assessment to determine how well developed our schemas are and subsequently target intervention. However, because attack of advanced word problems has been drilled into many students that one needs to show all work and all steps-that can be a learned habit.
  • So although the specific study did not have a lot of personal relevance, I have to say that the background leading up to it was huge. How one attacks a problem is just as important as the answer (which is why school psychologists should pay careful attention to test behavior). John Horn, in Dawn Flanagan’s and Patti Harrison’s excellent second edition of Contemporary Intellectual Assessment (2005), talks about the role of the expert and how the expert uses different processes. There has been talk, for example, that one could use both visual-spatial reasoning as well as fluid reasoning to solve the block design tasks. Which technique is used can be a testament to how developed the skill is.
  • The bottom line…there seems to be tremendous utility for linking new information with older information. The more we learn new information into our existing schemas, the more meaningful that information is. The more meaningful it is, the easier it is to learn new information that is related. This taxes working memory less and allows us to acquire the new information more quickly. The idea of rapid cognitive assessment (almost by an associative technique) makes some sense just to show how familiar the material actually is. This can be a rich area for exploration in terms of linking assessment with intervention.

Abstract
  • Traditional assessment methods are not always suitable for diagnosing learners’ knowledge structures at different levels of their expertise. This paper describes an alternative schema-based rapid assessment technique and its application in the area of arithmetic word problem solving. The technique is based on an assessment of the extent to which working memory limits have been altered by solution schemas held in long-term memory. In an experiment (N = 55, Grade 8), the average test time was reduced by a factor of 2.8 in comparison with a traditional test, with a significant correlation of 0.72 between scores on both tests.


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ISIR 2006 intelligence conference registration information available


Registration information for THE conference on the study of human intelligence, The Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR), has just been made available. The conference is scheduled for December 14, 15, and16, 2006 in lovely San Francisco. This is a GREAT conference.

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A cup of coffee for ADHD?

From the Myomancy blog an article about use of coffee instead of Ritalin for treatment of ADHD


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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Off task - the perfectly poured latte


According to the gang at Caribou Coffee @ 2423 Division Street, St. Cloud, MN (the best coffee house in the area.....my mobile office location), the top of the latte in this picture is a perfectly poured latte.....the half moon is the key.

This masterpieace was poured by Jeannie, the store manager, at the "bou" on 4-25-06.

There is a God.

Quote to note - prejudice

George Aiken
  • "If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon."


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Mind and machine integration - neuroelectronics

Thanks to Mind Hacks for the tip regarding an interesting overview article on "neurolectronics---the science of interfacting digital components of neural wetware."  Interesting yet a bit scary stuff.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Contribution of vocabulary, retrieval fluency and working memory to reading comp - Guest post by J. Schneider

The following is a guest blog post by Joel Schneider (Clinical psychologist, Illinois State University), a member of IQs Corner Virtual Community of Scholars project. Joel reviewed an article by Calvo (2004) that investigated the relative contribution of vocabulary (Gc-VL), retrieval fluency (Glr-FI), and working memory (Gsm-MW) to reading comprehension (Grw-RC) [Click here for definitions of CHC theory codes]
  • Calvo M. G. (2004). Relative contribution of vocabulary knowledge and working memory span to elaborative inferences in reading. Learning and Individual Differences, 15, 53-65.

In evaluation reports, clinicians often make statements such as, “Susie’s low working memory appears to interfere with her reading comprehension.” It is true that working memory deficits do appear to cause reading comprehension problems but it is not exactly clear how.

A recent study (Calvo, 2004) investigated how different cognitive abilities might be related to different aspects of reading comprehension. This study had participants read pairs of sentences in which a “predictive inference” might occur. To illustrate, here is a pair of sentences that I made up:
  • As Brad pulled out the blue math worksheet he had worked on so hard last night, he noticed that everyone else was turning in a yellow worksheet. He had done the wrong homework assignment on accident!
Notice how the first sentence has enough information to allow the reader to anticipate the revelation in the second sentence. Previous research suggests that making these predictive inferences is an effortful (i.e., consumes limited attentional resources) process that seems to occur late in the reading process (about 1 second after the initial gaze fixation).

Using eye-tracking methods to measure the duration and location of gaze fixations of participants (from a Spanish undergraduate sample) as they read these types of sentences, some inferences can be made about how different cognitive abilities might relate to reading comprehension. Calvo found that different cognitive weaknesses were associated with different reading behaviors:

Cognitive Weaknesses/Associated Reading Behaviors
  • Slow access speed/Long gaze fixations on all parts of the sentences.
  • Small vocabulary /Freq. looking back while rdg first half of the 2nd sentence
  • Low working memory /Freq. looking back while rdg 2nd half of the 2ndsentence
The first finding makes perfect sense: people with slower “access speed” (long-term memory retrieval fluency in CHC terms) need to look at words longer to retrieve their meanings from memory before moving forward. Thus, retrieval fluency is a general efficiency factor related to automatized processes that occur before inferences are made.

The other two findings are intriguing. Why would vocabulary be related to looking backward while reading the first half but not the second half of the second sentence? Likewise, why would working memory be related to the opposite pattern?

Although Calvo’s interpretation is more complex than is indicated here, I’ll do my best to summarize: While reading the first part of the second sentence, people with larger vocabularies have already found words to conceptualize the essence of their predictive inference and thus do not need to look back when their hunch is confirmed.

After the entire second sentence has been read, any additional information contained in the second sentence needs to be integrated with the initial inference. People with high working memory ability are able to hold a mental representation of that inference in their heads longer while simultaneously processing new information. They do not need to look back to the first sentence as often as people with “leaky” working memories.

Thus, if Calvo is correct, both vocabulary and working memory are related to making predictive inferences while reading but they are important at different stages of the inferential process. Vocabulary facilitates the ease and speed of making initial inferences whereas working memory facilitates the “tying together” of new information with initial inferences.

Abstract
  • Eye fixations were assessed during the reading of continuation sentences confirming inferences suggested by a preceding context sentence. In multiple regression analysis, individual differences in available prior vocabulary knowledge, working memory span, and speed of access to prior word knowledge served as predictors of eye fixations. Accessibility speed was associated with first-fixation time and gaze duration across all sentence regions. Vocabulary knowledge was associated with reduced looks-back from the target word that represented the inference in the continuation sentence. Working memory span was associated with reduced gaze duration and looks-back from the final word of the continuation sentence. It is concluded that accessibility is a general reading efficiency factor. In contrast, both vocabulary knowledge and working memory make specific, although delayed, contributions to inferences: Vocabulary knowledge facilitates the selection of linguistic representations for the inference; working memory helps to integrate meanings in situation model construction of the inference.
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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Can crossword puzzles slow age-related cognitive decline?

Interesting post on PsychPORT.com regarding the value (or lack thereof) in working crossword puzzles to slow age-related cognitive decline.


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IQs Corner achieves 60,000th hit

Sometime yesterday this humble blog received it's 60,000th hit. Thanks to all the regular readers who make this activity rewarding.---Kevin McGrew

Friday, April 21, 2006

Cognitive science of computer games conference

Thanks to the Positive Technology Journal for the tip re: an interesting conference on the Cognitive Science of Games and Game Play, July 26-29, in Montreal Canada.  Let the games begin!!


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Revisiting the double deficit dyslexia hypothesis (again) - guest post by J. Evans

The following is a guest post by Jeff Evans (SLP and Assessment Project Director with Pearson Assessments ), a member of the IQs Corner Virtual Community of Scholars project. Evans provides a much more detailed set of comments than were originally made by the blogmaster in a prior post re: this article (visit prior post to view pdf copy of article)
  • Vukovic, R. K., & Siegel, L. S. (2006). The double-deficit hypothesis: a comprehensive analysis of the evidence. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39(1), 25-47.

  • Abstract: The double-deficit hypothesis of developmental dyslexia proposes that deficits in phonological processing and naming speed represent independent sources of dysfunction in dyslexia. The present article is a review of the evidence for the double-deficit hypothesis, including a discussion of recent findings related to the hypothesis. Studies in this area have been characterized by variability in methodology?how dyslexia is defined and identified, and how dyslexia subtypes are classified. Such variability sets limitations on the extent to which conclusions may be drawn with respect to the double-deficit hypothesis. Furthermore, the literature is complicated by the persistent finding that measures of phonological processing and naming speed are significantly correlated, resulting in a statistical artifact that makes it difficult to disentangle the influence of naming speed from that of phonological processing. Longitudinal and intervention studies of the double-deficit hypothesis are needed to accumulate evidence that investigates a naming speed deficit that is independent of a phonological deficit for readers with dyslexia. The existing evidence does not support a persistent core deficit in naming speed for readers with dyslexia.
It is interesting how quickly we accept "good ideas" and begin to incorporate them into our work. Or not. I had almost come to accept the double-deficit hypothesis as fundamental to my understanding of dyslexia. This article was a reminder that good science takes time, and a community effort. Below are a few comments/conclusions from my reading of this article.
  • There is limited evidence that naming speed should be characterized separately from the phonological skills family, as naming speed and phonological tasks tend to be positively correlated, and phonological interventions have been found to reduce the occurrence of naming speed deficits.
  • The results from previous studies have suggested that a naming speed deficit is not necessarily a core deficit of dyslexia and that naming speed deficits characterize dyslexia only in the presence of concurrent phonological deficits.
  • The results of this review shed light on the current evidence for the double-deficit hypothesis, identified gaps in our understanding of the hypothesis, and identified outstanding issues yet to be resolved.
  • Consistent with the conclusions of a prior review (McCardle et al., 2001), the findings from this review suggest that evidence in support of the double-deficit hypothesis of developmental dyslexia remains limited.
  • One could make the argument that low naming speed is characteristic of some readers with dyslexia, who are also characterized by phonological deficits, but the evidence does not support a persistent core deficit in naming speed across individuals with dyslexia.
  • There is a lack of evidence to support the hypothesis that deficits in naming speed skills are independently related to reading impairment. Research that has examined the independence of naming speed from phonological awareness has demonstrated inconsistent findings, with most studies supporting naming speed as a phonological variable.
  • It was difficult to explicate common theoretical, methodological, and psychometric criteria and standards used in double-deficit and naming speed studies. There was tremendous variability surrounding sample characteristics and the identification of reader types. And there is the persistent finding that measures of phonological processing and naming speed are significantly correlated, resulting in a statistical artifact that makes it difficult to disentangle the influence of naming speed independently of phonological processing.
  • Much of the research cited in support of the double-deficit hypothesis of dyslexia was not actually designed with this hypothesis in mind, and there appear to be just as many theoretical as empirical studies of the double-deficit hypothesis.
  • A significant gap in the double-deficit literature is the lack of properly designed intervention studies.
  • As Wagner and Torgesen (1987) outlined, to evaluate the relations between a variable and a process, converging evidence must be found from cross-sectional, longitudinal, and intervention studies. With respect to the double-deficit hypothesis, the majority of the research has employed cross-sectional designs, and evidence from longitudinal studies remains sparse.
  • Intervention studies designed to remediate dyslexia by targeting naming speed processes are particularly important to properly investigate the double-deficit hypothesis.
  • A study that would contribute to our understanding of the double-deficit hypothesis would match groups of children with dyslexia who have similar phonemic awareness skills but differ significantly in RAN performance. These groups would then be randomly assigned to a phonologically based reading program and a control group, and a subtype-by-treatment interaction could be examined, also referred to as at-tribute-by-treatment interaction (ATI).
  • At this time, the variation in reading ability and definitions of dyslexia employed in the double-deficit literature and the yet undefined relationship of RAN to a particular aspect of the reading process have resulted in a lack of clarity about slow naming and its specific role in reading ability.
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Recent literature of interest 04-21-06 posted

This weeks recent literature of interest can be found by clicking here.

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Quote to note - Psychiatry

Joey Adams
  • "A psychiatrist is a fellow who asks you a lot of expensive questions your wife asks for nothing."


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Dancing improves reading? More on a possible relationship between rhythmic skills and academic performance

Hat tip to Myomancy blog for picking up on the story that summarizes a study that demonstrated that the performance on the Disney Dance Dance Revolution computer game improved reading in 6xth grade students with ADHD. 

As pointed out in the Myomancy blog, these findings relate to prior posts at IQs Corner regarding the intriguing positive results of synchronized metronome tapping interventions (e.g., Interactive Metronome) on ADHD and academic performance. 


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Types of human memory

Some interesting ideas being tossed around at the Developing Intelligence Blog  re: how to slice and dice the various aspects of human memory.  Today's post discusses the difference between implicit and explicit memory systems


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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Academic motivation--multiple variables (Guest post by John Garruto)

The following is a guest post by John Garruto, school psychologist with the Oswego School District and member of the IQs Corner Virtual Community of Scholars. John reviewed the following article and has provided his comments below.
  • Bong, M. (1996). Problems in Academic Motivation Research and Advantages and Disadvantages of Their Solutions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 21, 149-165. (click here to view)

I (John Garruto) was reading about a new instrument recently crafted on student motivation called the School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory (SMALSI) by Kathy Stroud and Cecil Reynolds. I remember thinking to myself, “How likely is it to encapsulate motivation by rating scales?” Bong (1996) addressed many of the same concerns on academic motivation:
  • In this article, she elaborates on the issue of motivation being loosely viewed as a single construct conundrum in education. Bong does a nice job of discussing the various theories present with regard to academic motivation, identifying some of the limitations with respect to empirical basis (as well as the highly varying, yet all very plausible schools of thought on the issue.) For example, she discusses is motivation a problem from an internal point of view (such as in the case of attribution theory) or one that is somewhat influenced by environmental variables? Giving a variety of solutions, she suggests using path analysis and structural equation modeling (with more creedence to the latter) as a way to determine how multiple variables can be influential to outcomes. Such principles can be useful as we know from CHC theory where certain cognitive constructs influence (to varying degrees) academic outcomes. Empirical research is a worthwhile pursuit in the education arena, which seems often dominated by intuitive theories.
  • What seemed to be missing from the article is the focus on importance from the idiographic point of view. The world of each student is different and as school psychologists, we need to understand the student’s intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics to really hypothesize what is at play. Such a statistical endeavor again is highly wortwhile, but one would do well to remember Kevin McGrew’s mantra of “we are the instrument.”
  • One other concern I noted was with the operationalization of motivation. I see motivation as the driving force to push us forward to achieve a goal. Much of what the article discussed seemed to be academic facilitators and inhibitors (factors that can increase or decrease our propensity toward goal attainment). Some similarities, but not quite apples to apples. Certainly combining what was noted in Bong’s proposed framework with our personal knowledge of the student would likely be a well-served endeavor to truly measure (and intervene) on the issue of motivation.
Abstract
  • In this article, problems in current academic motivation research and their solutions are discussed. From a theoretical standpoint, it is argued that the field suffers from a lack of comprehensive models that are capable of capturing the full dynamics underlying observed behaviors. Different theoretical orientations among researchers often result in a rather arbitrary inclusion or exclusion of variables which leads to the misspecification of models. A lack of discriminant validity among motivational constructs exacerbates the problem. Furthermore, the issue of motivational influences on specific phases of information-processing and their interaction with different types of knowledge has largely been neglected. From a measurement perspective, heavy reliance on self-reporting questionnaires is once again criticized. It is argued that such practice overlooks motivational fluctuation both over time and across domains, assuming a greater degree of generalization of academic motivation without empirical support. Several solutions are suggested for each problem and their advantages and disadvantages are considered.
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ADHD and electronic media as culprit?

Interesting  Mind Hacks blog post regarding the controversial topic of electronic media possibly contributing to ADHD in chilren.


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Brain injury statistics from CDC

Tip-of-the-hat to the braininjury blog for the post regarding the latest brain injury statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)


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IQs Corner Virtual Community of Scholars project




Announcing the IQs Corner Virtual Community of Scholars experiment.

The objective of this project is simple. To increase the dissemination of up-to-date scholarly research to other scholars and practitioners with interests related to IQs Corner Blog. I, Kevin McGrew, benevolent dictator of this blog, make routine posts regarding articles I have read (click here for one example) on an consistently inconsistent basis. However, I've been frustrated by the volumn of great articles I find anda lack of time to read and post more. Thus, I decided to invite a select and small group of individuals to share in the pool of published articles I harvest on a weekly basis (from my weekly "recent literature of interest" posts), with the expectation that they will read the articles and provide guest posts to this blog.

Contributors will be cited as the source of the "guest blog post." If these quests posts are successful, the Virutal Community of Scholars contributors may be asked to become regular conributors to the IQ Corner blog (and will be granted posting privileges). That is, the IQs Corner blog may morph from the activity of one person (McGrew) to a community of regular contributors. Group ownership of the blog would be the goal

Participation by these motivated individuals is voluntary. This is an experiment. Stay tunned. The first guest post is almost ready.


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Mislabeling of special education students

Interesting post at the Special Education Law Blog re: the mislabeling of special education students.


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sublinimal learning

Interesting post at the Eide Neurolearning Blog re: brain studies of subliminal learning.  Does anyone remember the "subliminal man" skits on Saturday Night Live?


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Monday, April 17, 2006

Bloggin tidbit - State of the Blogsphere April 2006

The "state of the blogsphere" report from Technorati has been posted.  Again, the growth and influence of the blogsphere continues to grow at a tremendous rate.


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Brain development of math centers during preschool years

Tip-of-the hat to Mind Hacks for the post re: the development of "math" regions of the brain as early as four years of age.


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Off task - incredible machines video

If you are needing a mental break, take a look at the Incredible Machines post that has been one of the top URL's as per Bloglines the past week.  Just for fun.




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Cognitive processing speed (Gs) references

Today, over on the NASP listserv, questions have been posted re: the research-based implications of processing speed deficits in children.  Although I have not taken the time to cull specific references, I just ran a quick search of the IAP Procite Reference Data Base using the keyword "processing speed".  I found 91 recent references.  They can be found by clicking here.


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Friday, April 14, 2006

Recent literature of interest 04-14-06 posted

This weeks recent literature of interest (actually, for the last two weeks) can be found by clicking here. This list is jammed with lots of interesting articles.....I wish I could read them all. So much to read...so little time. I might need to enlist some help from IQs Corner regular readers to review some of these jems. I have an idea formulating.


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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Quantoids corner - excellent primer on issues with correlation coefficients



I just ran across an excellent article by Goodwin and Leech (in the Journal of Experimental Education) that summarizes six common factors that can influence the magnitude and interpretation of the correlation coefficient, a metric that has long been a major part of the statistical engine of individual differences research. The authors do a nice job of explaining, in one place (versus information scatterd across texts and articles), six common misunderstandings regarding the proper care and interpreation of correlational data. The abstract is below.

Kudos to the authors. This is a must reading by individuals reporting correlations as well as users of correlational data (readers of test technical manuals, journal articles, etc.) [click here to view]

Abstract
  • The authors describe and illustrate 6 factors that affect the size of a Pearson correlation: (a) the amount of variability in the data, (b) differences in the shapes of the 2 distributions, (c) lack of linearity, (d) the presence of 1 or more “outliers,” (e) characteristics of the sample, and (f) measurement error. Also discussed are ways to determine whether these factors are likely affecting the correlation, as well as ways to estimate the size of the influence or reduce the influence of each.
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Bloggin tidbit - podcasting without the iPod


Is this the same as a podcast without the iPod?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lloyd Dunn, pioneer in test development and developmental disability education, passes away


Lloyd Dunn, pioneer of developmental disability education and the development of many prominent psychoeducational tests (e.g., PPVT, PIAT), passed away at his home in Las Vegas on April 6. He was 89. Additional information was published in the Vanderbilt Register.

He will be missed. His contributions were not only in important products, but the training and mentoring of many prominent contemporary test authors.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Birth order and IQ (intelligence) - put popular belief to rest?


Whenever I've heard people make the comment: "....of course, it is because you (he/she) is a first (second, etc.) born in your family".......I have always cringed. Even if some of the significant findings that have been reported in individual studies are real, the correlations (and effect sizes) are typically small....too small to make blanket generalizations re: birth order being the end all explanation for someone's certain behavior, outcomes in life, etc. Yet....people like to believe in these simplistic psychological notions.

Today, a news report directed my attention to a methodologically sound large-scale study that discounts the relationship between birth order and intelligence. The abstract for the study mentioned in this news release (below), along with a link to the article (click here), are provided for readers of IQs Corner. The news report, abstract, and complete article should be of interest to those who want to present a balanced picture to the general public regarding the importance of birth order and intelligence.

Study Abstract
  • Many studies show relationships between birth order and intelligence but use cross-sectional designs or manifest other threats to internal validity. Multilevel analyses with a control variable show that when these threats are removed, two major results emerge: (a) birth order has no significant influence on children’s intelligence and (b) earlier reported birth order effects on intelligence are attributable to factors that vary between, not within, families. Analyses on 7- to 8- and 13- to 14-year-old children from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth support these conclusions. When hierarchical data structures, age variance of children, and within-family versus between-family variance sources are taken into account, previous research is seen in a new light.

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School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory (SMALSI) - fyi

This past week I made three more posts re: the concept of academic aptitude (combination of cognitive and conative abilities).

At last months NASP convention I ran across a new instrument that appears to have potential to tap some important non-cognitive aspects of a child's academic aptitude. The new scale is by Kathy Stroud and Cecil Reynolds and is called the School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory (SMALSI). I only had time to quickly page through the items at the publishers booth, so I currently have not reviewed the conceptual and/or psychometric underpinnings of the instrument. This is just an FYI post. Dr. Reynolds has graciously provided me a couple of pdf files that provide additional information regarding the SMALSI...they can be found by clicking here (some handout material) and here (ordering information).

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NCSPM student progress monitoring newsletter posted.

The latest issue of Progress Monitor, the newsletter from the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring has just been posted.

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Bullying and gifted students

From PsycPORT.com - a news release article on the effect of bullying on students with exceptional intellectual ability (gifited).
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Psychology of impulsivity

Tip of the hat to Mind Hacks for the post re: a New York Times article regarding the psychology of impulsivity

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Pro and con of fMRI research

Thanks to the Eide Neurolearning Blog for the post (and article) re: the pro's and con's of fMRI study research.

Is fMRI Modern Phrenology? - What It Is & What It Isn't


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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Beyond IQ Byte # 2- Educational implications of ability conception research


Completing my trilogy on the conative construct of ability conception (click here and here for prior posts), below are some of the major educational implications from the ability conception research literature. Most of this information is drawn from Dweck [Dweck, C. S. (2002). The development of ability conceptions, In A. Wigfield, & J.S. Eccles (Eds.), Development of achievement motivation (pp. 57-91). San Diego: Academic Press. - click here for more information on this excellent book), with minor augmentations from Kaplan and Midgley (1997) and Perkins et al. (2000).
  • All children, regardless of age, have an easier time making effort than ability inferences
  • Although it was once thought that the ability conceptions of preschool and kindergarten children were relatively immune to the effects of learning failure, recent research “has shown that a sizable proportion of these young children show clear signs of impairment when they encounter a series of salient, visible failures (such as jigsaw puzzles they cannot complete) or when they meet with criticism for their performance”. However, when compared to older students (ages seven and above), the failure experience during the preschool years must be particularly obvious and powerful in order to exert a long-term impact on motivation via academic ability conception formation. Young children may draw ability inferences, but do not typically see future outcomes as being constrained by them. Buffering young children, particularly those at risk for significant and powerful early learning failure experiences (e.g., students with disabilities), would appear to be an important educational goal.
  • When students are at an approximate seven-to-eight year level of developmental functioning, significant changes in ability conception occur. It has been suggested that increased reasoning ability, around ages to 7-8, contributes to children giving greater weights to ability information than personal motivation. The student’s conception of ability now becomes more distinguised from social-moral qualities and becomes defined more as an internal quality, more consistent with external sources (adults), and is the result of greater self-criticism and social normative comparisons. It is during the seven-to- eight year developmental period that students become more concerned about their abilities, especially in response to negative feedback and evaluation (normative feedback information has more impact).
  • After ability conceptions begin to crystallize (after the 7-8 year period), ability conceptions start to exert a greater impact on academic performance. This increased coalescence of ability conceptions is believed to be due to ever increasing reasoning skills, which, in turn, results in children becoming more accurate in thinking about the relations between their abilities, effert, and performance. Students may not be able to verbalize their ability conception, but it is believed that students now can separaate ability as a factor separate from effort.
  • Two general ability conceptions emerge at approximately the seven-to-eight year developmental level and become crystallized at approximately the ten-to-twelve year level. The least adaptive ability conception is a “trait-oriented system” (entity view of ability) where students view their abilities as relatively fixed internal quantities. Learners with an entity view are more likely to anchor their conceptions of ability in broad abilities or capacity, constructs that are more fixed than motivation and knowledge. When encountering academic failure, it is hypothesized that a trait academic ability conception increases the chances that the student will view themselves as deficient on a stable inherent characteristic and, thus, they will anticipate and predict future failure. Since the trait is fixed, there is a self-belief that it cannot be changed via effort. The result can be a decrease in academic and intrinsic motivation, the devaluation of effort, and the interpretation of academic outcomes as reflecting on an internal personal trait. In contrast, a process-oriented system (incremental view of ability) conception is more adaptive as it focuses on the view that ability can be developed and that effort and strategies are important for success. Learners holding an incremental view are significantly more likely to include the constructs of knowledge and motivation in their personal descriptions of their abilities, constructs that are typically viewed as more malleable (less fixed). The process-oriented ability conception is postulated to be more adaptive as the student sees room for improvement in personal ability via effort and work. Furthermore, an individual holding an incremental view of ability tends to focus on learning and is likely to be inclined to analyze a challenging situation and employ a variety of strategies to get around an obstacle. An incremental or process view is associated with higher levels of intrinsic motivation and academic self-efficacy. In general, entity “holders” prefer performance goals over mastery or learning goals, and vice versa. Entity learners tend to be more affected by comparisons to others (normative performance comparison information; e.g., grades).
  • Of particular relevance to students with learning problems, particulary after an individuals ability conception is at the more crystallized stages, is the finding that when students are low in skills and abilities (in a social normative comparison sense), there is an increased probability of effort-avoidance. An individual who is low in academic skills and abilities, and who also holds an entity or trait view of ability (a view that fosters the belief that effort or motivation is not helpful), is hypothesized to view any attempt at increasing effort as risky. Increased effort that results in failure can only reinforce the belief that "I'm dumb." The power of failure to impair academic performance increases via a decrease in intrinsic motivation.
  • Social normative grading and evaluation systems tend to foster the more vulnerable and maladaptive view of academic ability as a fixed trait. In addition, students with an entity view of academic abilities tend to choose the less desirable academic performance goal orientation rather than a learning goal orientation (which is associated with the incremental view of abilities). Entity-oriented students also tend to attribute their failure (locus of control) more to ability rather than effort. The ability conception research suggests that educational environments that place a greater relative value on changes in skills and knowledge (vs. an emphasis on relative standing in a group) may influence the development of the more adaptive and positive incremental/process view of academic abilities.
  • Research has suggested that friendships which, in part, are formed based on perceived psychological similarity in academic competence, exert a modest influence on the adoption of academic and ability self-competence beliefs.

Beyond IQ Byte #1 - overview of academic ability conception

As promised earlier today, below is a brief overview of the construct of academic ability conception. [The text is from an unpublished manuscript I worked on during the past few years.]
  • Ability conception is a person’s beliefs, self-evaluation, and self-awareness regarding their academic-related skills and abilities.
Contemporary goal setting theory suggests that the development of adaptive or maladaptive
learning patterns, vis-à-vis the adoption of different academic goal orientations, may be mediated by a student’s perception and beliefs about their personal skills and abilities (Kaplan & Midgley, 1997). Academic ability conception is an individual’s beliefs and self- evaluation regarding the nature of their academic-related skills and abilities. This includes the student’s personal view on how their skills and abilities operate or work (Dweck, 2002; Kaplan & Midgley, 1997; Perkins et al., 2000).

Although related to academic self-efficacy, academic ability conception is concerned with the student’s personal beliefs about the nature and level of their academic competence. Academic self-efficacy focuses on the student’s conviction or belief that they can succeed at a given academic task. Ability conception is hypothesized to play an important role in the
development of academic motivation. Once students “have developed a clear and coherent understanding of ability, the particular conception of ability they adopt will determine a great
deal about their motivational patterns. It will influence such things as whether they seek and enjoy challenges and how resilient they are in the face of setbacks” (Dweck, 2002, p. 59).

Ability conception research is related to research on "thinking dispositions" (Perkins et al., 2000), particulary the distinction between individuals who hold "entity" versus
"incremental" theories of intelligence. See prior post for more information regarding this thinking disposition.


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