Thursday, June 12, 2008

IQ Research bytes # 3: Reading fluency and writing dispositions

A couple of interesting articles related to school learning in reading and writing.

First, there has been much recent interest (in the area of LD eligibility) in reading fluency. The following article identifies three different types of fluency....fluency at the word level, at the semantic level of phrases and sentences, and at the level of paragraph text comprehension. All three were found to be related to reading comprehension.

Klauda. S. & Guthrie, J. Relationships of Three Components of Reading Fluency to Reading Comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100 (2), 310–321 (click to view)
  • Abstract: This study examined the relationships of 3 levels of reading fluency—the individual word, the syntactic unit, and the whole passage—to reading comprehension among 278 5th graders heterogeneous in reading ability. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that reading fluency at each level related uniquely to performance on a standardized reading comprehension test in a model including inferencing skill and background knowledge. The study supports an automaticity effect for word recognition speed and an automaticity-like effect related to syntactic processing skill. In addition, hierarchical regressions using longitudinal data suggest that fluency and reading comprehension have a bidirectional relationship. The discussion emphasizes the theoretical expansion of reading fluency to 3 levels of cognitive processes and the relations of these processes to reading comprehension.

Second, as I've written before, I have a strong belief in the importance of conative variables in school learning. I've outlined a suggested model (MACM - Model of Academic Competence)of such factors in the "Beyond IQ Project" . The following article touches on some of these variables in the development of a writing dispositions scale. As per the MACM model, I would consider the factors the authors identified as being similar to domains in the MACM model (persistence in writing = academic motivation; confidence in writing = academic self-efficacy and ability conception; passion toward writing = intrinsic motivation and academic interests/attitudes). An important finding from this study is that it is possible to develop empirical measures of MACM constructs.

Piazza, C. & Siebert, C. (2008). Development and Validation of a Writing Dispositions Scale for Elementary and Middle School Students. Journal of Educational Research, 101 (5), 275-285. (click to view)
  • Abstract: The authors report the development and validationof the Writing Dispositions Scale (WDS), a self-report instrument for measuring affective stances toward writing. The authors collected survey data from 854 elementary and middle school students and randomly split the data to facilitate both an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The findings of the EFA demonstrated that an 11-item WDS has desirable internal and content reliability and discriminant validity. The CFA supported the item selection of the EFA and demonstrated excellent factorial validity and reliability. The analyses confirmed that writing dispositions are related to 3 affective stances: confidence, persistence, and passion toward writing.

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