The purpose of this study was to identify subgroups of adult basic education (ABE) learners with different profiles of skills in the core reading components of decoding, word recognition, spelling, fluency, and comprehension. The analysis uses factor scores of those 5 reading components from on a prior investigation of the reliability and construct validity of measures of reading component skills (MacArthur, Konold, Glutting, & Alamprese, 2010). In that investigation, confirmatory factor analysis found that a model with those 5 factors fit the data best and fit equally well for native and non-native English speakers. The study included 486 students, 334 born or educated in the United States (native) and 152 not born nor educated in the US (non-native) but who spoke English well enough to participate in English reading classes. The cluster analysis found an 8-cluster solution with good internal cohesion, external isolation, and replicability across subsamples. Of the 8 subgroups, 4 had relatively flat profiles (range of mean scores across factors <0.5 SD), 2 had higher comprehension than decoding, and 2 had higher decoding than comprehension. Profiles were consistent with expectations regarding demographic factors. Non-native speakers were overrepresented in subgroups with relatively higher decoding and underrepresented in subgroups with relatively higher comprehension. Adults with self-reported learning disabilities were overrepresented in the lowest performing subgroup. Older adults and men were overrepresented in subgroups with lower performance. The study adds to the limited research on the reading skills of ABE learners and, from the perspective of practice, supports the importance of assessing component skills to plan instruction.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 18, 2010
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