The goal of this study was (1) to investigate the development of decoding(efficiency), reading comprehension, vocabulary and spelling during theelementary school years and (2) to determine the differences between poor,average and good performers with regard to the development of theseskills. Twice each year two standardized tests for each skill wereadministered. For two successive periods, one of the tests for each skill wasthe same. To describe the development in terms of a latent variable evolvingacross grades, the structured-means version of the structural equationmodel was used. The growth was expressed in terms of effect size. Withrespect to the first question, clear seasonal effects were found for readingcomprehension, vocabulary and spelling, while the seasonal effect fordecoding efficiency was restricted to the early grades. Progress tended tobe greater from fall to spring than from spring to fall. For decodingefficiency, and to a lesser degree for vocabulary and spelling, growthshowed a declining trend across grades. For reading comprehension, theprogress in grade 2 was lower than the progress in grade 3, but progresswas declining across higher grades. With respect to the second question,it appeared that initially low performers on reading comprehension,vocabulary and spelling tended to show a greater progress, especially inperiods where the largest amount of instruction was given. Although it wasfound that the low, medium and high ability groups remain in the sameorder, as far as their means are concerned, these findings do not confirmthe existence of a Matthew effect for reading comprehension, vocabularyand spelling. For decoding efficiency no clear differential effect could befound: the gap between the poor and good performers did not widen overtime for this skill.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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