Date of Award

5-1984

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Gerald Begy

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the predictive validity of four factors tested in a kindergarten sample—visual selective attention, auditory selective attention, IQ, and reading readiness. This study was to investigate which of the four factors was the most accurate predictor of reading achievement at the end of first grade and fifth grade, and which of the testing elements form the best combination for accurately predicting reading achievement.

The original studies, investigating the visual and auditory selective attention abilities of children completing a kindergarten program, were conducted by Cuccu and DeChristopher in 1978. The original number of subjects attending a suburban western New York public school was 50.

The four tests used as predictor variables were given during the kindergarten school year 1977-78. Visual selective attention was determined using a sorting task designed and administered by Cuccu. Auditory selective attention was determined by using dichotic listening tapes administered by DeChristopher. Verbal IQ was determined using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test administered by the classroom teacher, and reading readiness was determined using the pre-reading skills composite score on the Metropolitan Readiness Test (MRT) administered by the classroom teacher.

One year later, 34 of these children remained in the school for their first grade year and 31 were included in this follow-up study. First grade reading achievement was determined using the total reading score on the Metropolitan Achievement Test, Primary I Level. In 1983, 16 of the original kindergarten sample completed their fifth grade year, and 15 were included in this study. Fifth grade reading achievement was determined using the total reading score on the Metropolitan Achievement Test, Intermediate Level.

Multiple stepwise regression revealed that reading readiness was the best single predictor of reading achievement at the end of first grade. The best combination of predictor variables was reading readiness and visual selective attention. IQ was found to be the best single predictor of reading achievement at the end of fifth grade, and the best combination of predictors was IQ, visual selective attention, and reading readiness.

Tests of selective attention are not regularly administered in kindergarten. Results of this study indicate that visual selective attention tested in kindergarten may be a useful additional screening procedure and could be important in determining the type of formal reading instruction most appropriate for the beginning reader.

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