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Title: Effect Of Item Text Characteristics On Children's Growth In Reading
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Park, Hye-Sook
Effect Of Item Text Characteristics On Children's Growth In Reading
Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University, 1999
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Children, Academic Development; Cognitive Ability; Modeling, Multilevel; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Reading); Test Scores/Test theory/IRT; Tests and Testing; Verbal Memory (McCarthy Scale)

This study investigates children's growth in reading reflected on the Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT) reading comprehension item responses from the National longitudinal Survey of Youth data over several years. Based on the idea that reading comprehension is determined by characteristics of both readers and texts, this study investigates the relative impact of both. Using a three-level hierarchical generalized linear model, in which item (level-1) are nested within time points (level-2) and time points are nested within individuals (level-3), this study assesses relationships among text characteristics, cognitive abilities, environmental factors, and reading ability (as indexed by the Peabody text).

Reading ability did not grow at a constant rate; in fact it exhibited variable patterns that were influenced by verbal memory and text characteristics in different ways at different points in children's reading development. In general, short sentences, frequently used vocabulary, and high density facilitated reading comprehension, but the temporal influences of the patterns of three text characteristics differed.

The effect of age on children's reading comprehension was manifested differentially depending upon sentence characteristics. In the case of sentence length, the effect of age was manifested only with short sentences. The positive contribution that frequently used vocabulary made to reading comprehension increased over years, but the growth rates were also different. The effect of age on reading comprehension was greater with sentences written using high frequency vocabulary than with low frequency vocabulary. The effect of propositional density increases constantly. The effect of age on reading comprehension was manifested greatly with high density sentences, that is, coherent sentences, rather than with low density sentences.

In addition, verbal memory was statistically significant in predicting both the average effect of sentence length over time and the rate of growth of sentence length slope. There was an interaction effect between verbal memory and length of sentences over time. In the case of short sentences, the effect of verbal memory was practically as well as statistically significant. However, in the case of long sentences, the effect of verbal memory was almost absent. As verbal memory increased, vocabulary frequency had a greater effect on reading ability. However, verbal memory did not influence the effect of propositional density.

The differential contribution of each psycholinguistic variable over time implies that achievement, as measured by a reading comprehension test, is a complex entity that is greatly dependent on the nature of the text contained in the test.

Bibliography Citation
Park, Hye-Sook. Effect Of Item Text Characteristics On Children's Growth In Reading. Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University, 1999.