Assessing Reading Fluency
There were three questions being asked: 1) Does an adjusted words per minute score measure reading fluency, 2) Is an adjusted words per minute score predictive of reading fluency, and 3) What characteristics distinguish a fluent reader from a non-fluent reader? There were two studies conducted to address these concerns. Study 1 consisted of sixty college students and Study 2 consisted of twenty-three second graders, twenty-five fourth graders, and twenty-one sixth graders. It was found that an adjusted word per minute score on the oral reading assessment was neither correlated with nor predictive of reading fluency, for either study. With regard to distinguishing characteristics, there were no consistently significant findings other than accuracy between fluent and non-fluent second graders on the open-maze sentence and paragraph delivered sentence-by-sentence assessments. The fact that the results were mixed with regard to reading speed and accuracy being distinguishing factors between fluent and non-fluent readers on the oral reading assessment, and the fact that, the results were also mixed with regard to the Lexical Decision Task should make one wonder if perhaps reading speed and accuracy are actually natural by-products of maturation and not necessarily secondary characteristics of reading fluency.
Assessing Reading Fluency
These findings lend credence to the theory that current intervention practices in the schools may be teaching our students to ―bark‖ at text. They also lend credence to the idea that there may be a third pathway for processing words/text, a pathway that contains a semantic module that isn‘t quite fully developed and is in fact in the learning process. Finally, the findings also support the idea that development of gist in the phonological store may depend on a student‘s ability to metacognitively monitor their reading to the point of being able to retain more appropriate gist of sentences rather than trying to rehearse a complete replication of the whole sentence. To this end, it was proposed that a longitudinal (mixed methods) study be performed to assess these qualities.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2011. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisors:Dr. S. Jay Samuels, Dr. Mark L. Davison. 1 computer file (PDF); xviii, 270 pages, appendices A-N.
Alt, Shirley Jean.
What differentiates a fluent reader from a non-fluent reader and how should we assess it: implications for the classroom..
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