What is reading comprehension?

What is reading comprehension?

First Author: Yusra Ahmed -- University of Houston
Additional authors/chairs: 
Jeremy Miciak; Pat Taylor; David Francis
Keywords: Reading comprehension, Interference, reading strategies, Vocabulary, Modeling of reading
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose - Reading comprehension (RC) is typically measured as a unidimensional construct. However, RC requires multiple component skills, including: (1) depth and breadth of word knowledge (vocabulary), (2) world knowledge (background knowledge), (3) the ability to make inferences, and (4) reading strategies. Previous research has evaluated the contributions of these four sub-skills to RC using standardized and experimental tests (e.g., standardized measures of vocabulary and experimental measures of background knowledge, inferences and strategies). However, individual items on standardized RC test themselves require vocabulary, background knowledge, inferencing and reading strategies. Thus, we test a measurement model in which RC is comprised of (a) a general factor with all items of the RC test loading on this factor, and (b) four specific factors, with items loading (or cross-loading) on the factors depending on the skills required to answer items correctly.
Method – We use our understanding of experimental measures to derive reliable sub-scales of component skills from a state-wide assessment using item-level data. Data were collected for students (N = 461,397) in grades 3-8 in Connecticut (collected in 2008-2013).
Results - The results will help us identify the factor structure of RC, the stability of structure over time, the relations among components and reading achievement.
Conclusions – Results will expand what we know about the construct of RC, it’s component skills, their effect on academic achievement at the same time-point and longitudinal development across elementary and middle school.