Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Frances Moroney Whited


The purpose of this research was to investigate whether or not third or fifth grade children who were clearly successful or unsuccessful in determining the meanings of derived words which exhibited vowel-shift patterns, would demonstrate trends toward either a visual or auditory preference, or toward mixed modalities. The researcher designed vowel-shift test, which consisted of twenty-nine derived words and three pseudowords, presented both visually and auditorily, was administered to forty-three third graders and sixty-nine fifth graders in a suburban western New York school district. The vowel-shift test instrument consisted of derived words which were not ordinarily found in basal reader series at third and fifth grade levels but contained a vowel alternation and retained orthographic similarity to the base word. Those students who scored 2 ½ standard measures of error above or below the mean were further tested with the Visual Auditory Preference Assessment to determine modality preference. The VAPA consisted of three treatments of simultaneously presented visual and auditory stimuli. All three treatments presented a series of five digits visually while at the same time five different digits were presented auditorily. All data were analyzed descriptively. The results of this study indicated that in the third grade high or low groups, or in the fifth grade high group there appeared to be no trends toward a modality preference. It seemed, however, that the third grade low group was not using visual and phonological clues to a significant degree, whereas both high groups seemed to be using visual and phonological information to access the meanings of the derived words. The low group at the fifth grade level demonstrated an auditory preference which may indicate that these students were not using the visual information to access the meanings of the derived words. Longitudinal studies and studies which incorporated tactile and kinesthetic modalities were recommended.