Date

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School Psychology

First Adviser

Shapiro, Edward S.

Other advisers/committee members

Manz, Patricia H.; Calhoon, Mary B.; Riley-Tillman, T. Chris

Abstract

Reading comprehension is a complex but critical skill that students must master to ensure future academic success. (e.g. Cain & Oakhill, 2007; Kintsch & Kintsch, 2005). Currently available reading comprehension scales are inadequate as classroom-based screeners for students struggling with reading comprehension; while some scales are psychometrically problematic, others are too lengthy and cumbersome to function well as a screener. (e.g. Keenan, Betjemann, & Olson, 2008). Research supports the validity of teacher-completed behavior rating scales of academic skills as an effective method of assessing students' academic progress that could address the current instrumentation gap in practice (e.g. Demaray & Elliot, 1998; Speece, Ritchey, Silverman, Schatschneider, Walker, & Andrusik, 2010). In response to noted weaknesses in the status of current reading comprehension screening assessments, a research team developed a rating scale of reading comprehension behaviors called the Rating Scale of Academic Skills - Reading Comprehension, Narrative (RSAS-RCN). This study conducted a pilot psychometric validation of the initial version of the RSAS-RCN measure. Participants included 41 general education teachers and 119 third, fourth, and fifth grade students across three school districts in eastern Pennsylvania. Students were administered the RSAS-RCN during the spring, and a small subset of students were re-administered the RSAS-RCN a week following the first administration. Students were also administered a standardized test of reading comprehension and a state standardized test of reading achievement. Results indicated that the RSAS-RCN is a highly reliable, single-construct scale and that the RSAS-RCN yielded consistent results over repeated administrations and a moderate to strong relationship with other tests of reading abilities. These results suggests that the RSAS-RCN may be a valuable new screening tool for reading comprehension measurement and are consistent with prior research supporting the use of teacher-completed rating scales as a measure of students' academic skills. Implications for practice and future research are also discussed.

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