Monday, November 02, 2009

Dissertation dish: WJ III/KABC-II Gv and ach AND Gs, RAN, Ga, work mem and reading

Visual-spatial thinking and academic achievement: A concurrent and predictive validity study by Yazzie, Anslem, Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 2009 , 92 pages; AAT 3370650

Forty-eight students were administered the Spatial Relations and Picture Recognition subtests of Woodcock-Johnson III Visual-Spatial Thinking Cluster, Rover and Triangles subtests of the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children-Second Edition Visual Processing Cluster, and Word Reading, Math Computation, and Spelling subtests of the Wide Range Achievement Test-Four Edition. According to previous research, several assumptions regarding visual-spatial thinking's correlation with achievement, concurrent validity with other measures, and differences in gender and ethnicity had been found to be variant. Mean differences were compared for significance of performance on overall clusters. Examination of cluster performances indicated that visual-spatial thinking ( Gv ) was equally measured on both cognitive measures. There was a notable relationship between cognitive Gv performances and achievement. When mean differences were made in terms of ethnicity, no statistical difference was found. In contrast, a significant difference was found when gender was examined. Results are discussed in terms of implications for school psychologists, researchers, and teachers.

The relationships among cognitive ability measures and irregular word, non-word, and word reading by Abu-Hamour, Bashir, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2009 , 160 pages; AAT 3369670


This study examined the relationships between and among: (a) Processing Speed (PS) Cluster and Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) Total to reading ability; (b) measures of RAN and PS to irregular word, non-word, and word reading; and (c) the relationships among irregular word, non-word, and word reading. The word reading measures were predicted by using multiple cognitive abilities including Phonological Awareness (PA), RAN, PS, and Working Memory (WM). Sixty participants, 39 students who were average readers and 21 students with reading difficulties in Grades 1, 2, 3, and 4 were recruited.

Correlational designs testing predictive relationships were used to conduct this study. The results indicated that the PS Cluster had the strongest correlation with irregular word reading, whereas the RAN Total had the strongest correlation with both word reading and non-word reading ability. Reading performance was best predicted by RAN-Letters. In addition, the Woodcock-Johnson III Visual Matching test had the strongest predictive power of reading ability among all of the PS measures.

High correlations were found among the reading variables within normally distributed data, whereas there was no significant correlation between irregular and nonword reading within the group of students with Reading Difficulties. These findings provide support for the dual-route theory. Among the 21 students with RD, 10 students presented problems in both non-word reading and irregular word reading; 9 students presented problems just in non-word reading; and 2 students presented problems just in irregular word reading.

A model consisting of RAN, PA, and PS, as included in the study measures, provided the most powerful prediction of all reading skills. These findings also lend more support to the double-deficit model and indicate that PA and naming speed problems contribute independently to variance in reading.

This study provides direction for the assessment of specific reading disability and the cognitive underpinnings of this disorder. These findings support the need to assess PA, RAN, and PS, as well as various types of word reading skills, when making a reading disability diagnosis. Further research may cross validate the results of this study, or add other aspects of reading (eg., reading fluency or comprehension) to this line of research.

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