Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dissertation dish: Two CHC or WJ III related dissertations

A comparison of teachers' and school psychologists' understanding of the cognitive abilities underlying basic academic tasks by Petruccelli, Meredith Lohr, Ph.D., Temple University, 2008, 162 pages; AAT 3319970

  • The Cattell-Horn-Carroll Theory of cognitive functioning is a well-validated framework for intelligence. Cross-battery assessment is a means utilizing CHC theory in practice. School psychologists write recommendations with the assumption that teachers understand the cognitive abilities underlying basic academic tasks in the same way. Theoretically, the more similar the understanding of these two groups, the greater the likelihood of appropriate referrals and intervention fidelity. Teacher perceptions of their students' cognitive abilities impact the referrals that they make and intervention strategies that they implement. In this study, teachers and school psychologists were asked to sort basic academic tasks into the CHC broad abilities.
  • The central research questions being asked are as follows: Are school psychologists and teachers equally proficient at identifying the broad cognitive ability demands of a basic academic task? How do the responses of the participants compare to the theoretical model presented? Do teachers and school psychologists become better at identifying the cognitive demands of a task with experience or higher levels of training?
  • In order to answer the first research question, MANOVAs were performed. There was a significant overall difference between groups on their responses. While teachers and school psychologists differed significantly on five of the eight CHC broad ability scales. School psychologists were only significantly better at consistently identifying the basic academic tasks that utilized Fluid Reasoning.
  • To answer the second research question, principal components factor analysis was performed. The factors created displayed limited similarity to the theoretical factors. Pearson correlations between the theoretical factors and the factors created through factor analysis revealed multiple positive correlations that accounted for more than 10% of the variance. The theoretical scales that were more significantly correlated were Fluid Reasoning, Auditory Processing, and Processing Speed.
  • To answer the third research question, Pearson correlations were calculated. This analysis revealed that neither group develops a better understanding of the cognitive abilities required to perform academic tasks with experience. Level of education is not related to accuracy for teachers on any of the items. Level of education is significantly correlated with accuracy in identifying tasks that require Visual Processing for school psychologists.

The relationship between aspects of cognitive functioning and academic skills in a clinically referred population
by Garcia, Jessica, Ph.D., Nova Southeastern University, 2008, 86 pages; AAT 3325542


  • This research involves an examination of the relationship between performance on academic achievement tasks and performance on measures of cognitive functioning, including components of intelligence, memory, and attention. The purpose of this study was to determine what cognitive factors predicted performance on measures of academic achievement above and beyond other cognitive variables. While previous research has demonstrated a relationship between intelligence and academic skill acquisition, the present research examined which cognitive factors uniquely predicted scores on different areas of academic functioning as assessed by the Letter Word Identification, Reading Fluency, Calculation, and Math Fluency subtests of the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement, Third Edition. The components of intelligence, based upon the factor structure of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition, as well as the Verbal and Visual Memory Indices of the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning-Second Edition and the omission and commission errors of the Conner's Continuous Performance Test-Second Edition were utilized as measures of cognitive functioning. Four linear, standard multiple regressions were conducted with all independent variables entered into the analysis simultaneously. Results revealed that performance on the WISC-IV Perceptual Reasoning Index significantly predicted scores on a measure of math calculation above and beyond other cognitive variables. Furthermore, performance on the WISC-IV Processing Speed Index, significantly predicted scores on measures of reading fluency and math fluency above and beyond other cognitive variables. No cognitive variables uniquely predicted word reading when all cognitive variables were considered simultaneously
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