A comparison of three reading comprehension tests using eye movements.

A comparison of three reading comprehension tests using eye movements.

First Author: Diane Mézière -- Macquarie University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Lili Yu; Erik Reichle; Titus von der Malsburg; Genevieve McArthur
Keywords: Eye movements, Reading comprehension, Standardized testing
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: The goal of this project is to determine the degree to which three widely-used reading comprehension tests assess the same cognitive processes.

Method: Seventy-nine adults completed three reading comprehension tests: the Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT-5), the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-4) Sentence Comprehension subtest, and the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC). In these tests, participants read passages or sentences and then answered comprehension questions or provided a missing word (cloze procedure). Participant’s eye movements were monitored while completing all three tests.

Results: Correlations between reading comprehension test scores were significant but moderate (.59 - .63). Eye movement data revealed that participants made longer fixations, and had slower reading speed, for the GORT than the WRAT and YARC. However, they made more fixations in the WRAT than the GORT and YARC. Gaze duration was more strongly correlated to comprehension scores in the GORT and YARC than the WRAT. The opposite pattern was found for total reading time, which was more strongly correlated to the WRAT than the GORT and YARC. Moreover, word frequency and length effects on gaze duration and total reading time were larger in the GORT than the WRAT and YARC.

Conclusions: The comprehension measures related more strongly to lexical processing in the GORT and YARC, and to post-lexical processing in the WRAT, suggesting that the tests do not measure these cognitive processes to the same extent. This has implications for the interpretation of reading comprehension test outcomes in both research and clinical practice.