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. 2015 Aug;107(3):884-899.
doi: 10.1037/edu0000026.

Examining General and Specific Factors in the Dimensionality of Oral Language and Reading in 4th-10th Grades

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Free PMC article

Examining General and Specific Factors in the Dimensionality of Oral Language and Reading in 4th-10th Grades

Barbara R Foorman et al. J Educ Psychol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The objective of this study was to explore dimensions of oral language and reading and their influence on reading comprehension in a relatively understudied population-adolescent readers in 4th through 10th grades. The current study employed latent variable modeling of decoding fluency, vocabulary, syntax, and reading comprehension so as to represent these constructs with minimal error and to examine whether residual variance unaccounted for by oral language can be captured by specific factors of syntax and vocabulary. A 1-, 3-, 4-, and bifactor model were tested with 1,792 students in 18 schools in 2 large urban districts in the Southeast. Students were individually administered measures of expressive and receptive vocabulary, syntax, and decoding fluency in mid-year. At the end of the year students took the state reading test as well as a group-administered, norm-referenced test of reading comprehension. The bifactor model fit the data best in all 7 grades and explained 72% to 99% of the variance in reading comprehension. The specific factors of syntax and vocabulary explained significant unique variance in reading comprehension in 1 grade each. The decoding fluency factor was significantly correlated with the reading comprehension and oral language factors in all grades, but, in the presence of the oral language factor, was not significantly associated with the reading comprehension factor. Results support a bifactor model of lexical knowledge rather than the 3-factor model of the Simple View of Reading, with the vast amount of variance in reading comprehension explained by a general oral language factor.

Keywords: adolescent literacy; decoding; oral language; reading comprehension.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Figure 1a is Model 1, with one factor; Figure 1b is Model 2, with four correlated factors; Figure 1c is Model 3, with three correlated factors; Figure 1d is Model 4, the bifactor model. Note. CELF = Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, 4th ed. (Recalling Sentences subtest); CASL = Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (Grammatical Judgment subtest); PPVT = Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, 4th ed.; SARA = Study Aid and Reading Assessment (V = vocabulary; M = morphology); SWE = Sight Word Efficiency, Forms A and B; PDE = Phonetic Decoding Efficiency, Forms A and B (both from the Test of Word Reading Efficiency); FCAT = Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test; GMRT = Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Grade 8 Structural Equation Model. Note. CELF = Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, 4th ed. (Recalling Sentences subtest); CASL = Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (Grammatical Judgment subtest); PPVT = Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, 4th ed.; SARA = Study Aid and Reading Assessment (V = vocabulary; M = morphology); SWE = Sight Word Efficiency, Forms A and B; PDE = Phonetic Decoding Efficiency, Forms A and B (both from the Test of Word Reading Efficiency); FCAT = Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test; GMRT = Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test. Significant paths are marked by solid lines and nonsignificant paths are marked by dashed lines.

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