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cational Tests and Measurements.



276



EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY



These measurements arc shown graphically in Figure 59 and
indicate the grade-to-grade progress in speed and comprehension,
showing that tliere is a continuous improvement in both aspects
from year to year. By reference to these norms it is possible to
express definitely a given pupil's capacities in reading. It enables
one to say, for example, that pupil A in the 4th grade has a reading
ability equal to the average ability of pupils in the 6th grade,
pupil B in the 4th grade has a reading ability equal to the average



S 4



c50
'u 40

u
10



1



Speed











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^


^






^^










-^


^^^


"^










1


I ,


J k


15 6 7 8



Grades



Comprehension















y












^


'












^






^^


.^^


>^










'"""













4 5

Grades



Fig. sq.- — The continuous lines represent the standard attainments in read-
ing. Thfc broken lines represent the attainments in a certain school.



ability of pupils in the 4th grade, and pupil C has a reading ability
equal to the average of pupils in the second grade, and so on. It
is possible to describe precisely the ability of a pupil in relation to
others because the terms in which his abilities are expressed are
accurately defined. Measurements of this sort have disclosed
enormous ranges of ability in the various school subjects as
pointed out in a preceding chapter on individual differences.
They have shown that at the present time pupils are not
promoted according to ability, but rather according to the num-
ber of years they have attended school. Thus, for example, the



READING



277



pupils in a fifth grade range all the way in reading ability, from
the second or third grade on up to the 8th grade. (See Figure 16
in Chapter III.)

Another interesting comparison at this juncture is the reading
ability of the pupils of various ages in each grade. Such a study
was made of the pupils in one school by the writer, and is shown in
the following table:

TABLE 83
Showing the relation between age and attainment in reading



Grade
Age


3
Speed Comi'.


4
Speed Comp.


5
Spei:d Comp.


6
Speed Comp.


7
Speed Comp.


8
Speed Comp.


7


2.2 16.6












8




2.6 2Q . 2


4.6 36.9










9




2.0 29.0


4-4 43-4


6.4 50.5








10






4.8 40.0


5.1 46.0


4.8 59.9






II






4.6 42.5


4.6 37.0


4-4 45-2


4-5 45-5




12






2.2 47.8


3-4 29-5


3-4 29.4


4-7 45-0


6.S 81.9


13










2.3 28.0


3-4 39-8


5-4 64.1


14










2.8 16.0


4-6 52.5


4-5 52.0


15


.








4-4 21.5




4.2 60.0



From the fourth grade on there is a fairly regular decrease i^i
reading ability from the youngest to the oldest pupils in the same
grade. The explanation for it is probably the fact that the stupid
pupils are on the whole promoted too rapidly and the bright pupils
too slowly.

(b) The establishment of accurate norms by means of def-
inite measurements has meant, furthermore, a more precise
estimate of definite aims of attainment. To say that a pupil
at the end of the eighth grade should be able to read at the
rate of four words per second and report a correct thought
content expressed in at least 50 words, means something def-
inite. The pupil, as well as the teacher, will know what each
one means.

(c) The third and probably most important use of measurements
of reading ability is their employment in the investigation of the
factors and conditions affecting the learning and teaching of read-
ing. In the long run the greatest good from tests of reading ability,
or from tests of any school capacities, will come from their service
in analyzing and measuring the potency of the numerous elements
that enter into the acquisition of knowledge and skill in a school



278



EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY



subject. Results on this phase of the subject will be summarized
in the following section.

Speed



m 5
^1

<u
p.

m
<a

Ch

»3

•H

o
1

60
a 50
X 40

r§ 30

o
^ 20

10

1























/\




/








/

/
/


\..-^




^^"^










^






^

























4 5

Grades



Comprehension















— /-
/
/








^^-'


^ - ^


'^








/














-^










^^















4 5

Grades



Fio. 60. — The continuous lines represent the standard attainments in reading.
The brdken lines represent the attainments in a certain scliool.



Economic Procedure in Learning to Read

(i) Dififerences among Schools and Classes. The dififerences
in achievement in reading among classes as a whole are enormous.
Such differences are shown in Figures 59 and 60. Thus we see
that the best classes in Figure 60 have scores approximately twice
as high as the corresponding classes in Figure 59. These differ-
ences are too large to be explained by hereditary factors, but must
be due chiefly to differences in learning and in method and spirit
of teaching in these schools. What these differences in procedure
of learning and teaching are must be discovered more fully in the
future. But it is certain that some methods produce almost



READING 279

double the achievement produced by others. Thus the school
represented in Figure 60 is, grade for grade, as much as from i to
3 grades ahead of the average of schools generally, while the school
presented in Figure 59 is from i to 2 grades below the average of
schools generally. The former school has attained such proficiency
in reading, probably chiefly because of the plan inaugurated by
the principal which did away with nearly all word drills and phonics
and placed all emphasis upon trying to read and upon reading as
much as possible. He believes that a child learns to read by reading
a great deal. He has described the method of teaching as follows:

"Since first grade reading is in the initial stage materially different
from that Oi the succeeding grades, it is treated separately.

"The reading is begun in the first method reader by means of the word
and sight method, and the phonics is carried on parallel with the reading,
but in a separate period. No attempt is made in the early stages to
correlate the phonics with the reading. During the entire work on the
first book, the pupils are given words and sentence drills. Each lesson is
read orally by every child after he has read it to himself. The time re-
quired to cover this book varies from two to four months, depending
upon the ability of the child. When this book is finished, the child has a
working vocabulary, and the method is changed to more extensive
reading. The word drill is now omitted, and the lesson covering from
five to fifteen pages is read over by the pupils, they or the teacher pro-
nouncing the diflicult words. Next the pupils read the lesson over
silently, and the following day they are called upon to read a page each
without assistance.

"When the seventh unit reader, at about the close of the sixth month,
is in the hands of the pupils, the group reading is begun. The pupils are
seated in groups of two, and each group is provided with an interesting
reader. One pupil in each group reads aloud; when the first pupil has
read three or four pages, the second pupil reads an equal number, then
the first continues. In this way they alternate until the time is up. A
fluent reader is often placed with a poor one for the purpose of assistance.
At the close of a ten or fifteen minute period the place where the reading
is discontinued is marked by a paper, and the books are laid aside until
the next group reading period. Group reading is not, as a rule, practised
oftener than twice a week.

"Sectional Reading: — This is a phase of group reading. Each group
of two or more stands before the class. The first pupil reads three or four
pages orally, the second continues the reading for three or four pages, and
so on. In this type of reading the teacher may question the child as to
what he has read, the child may reproduce it, or some listening member
may tell what he has heard.



28o EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

"Silent Reading: — During the study hour or seat work period, silent
reading is conducted by means of single copies of books containing in-
teresting material. Every child is given a book, and he reads as many
pages silently as he can during the period. When the silent reading period
is finished, a mark is placed where the reading ended. At the next silent
reading period the pupil continues his reading, and so the work progresses
until he has finished the book. The silent period may be continued as long
as the teacher wishes. A record is kept of each child's reading by checking
off a book as soon as it is finished. All through the year, a unit book is
used during the regular recitation period for the drill that is necessary.

"Books are placed in the hands of the children on the first day of
school, and they are allowed to keep books at their desks to read in
school or at home as they desire.

"With this system, each child can go his own gait, reading as many
books in a year as he can. The best readers will read from thirty-five to
forty books. The average is about twenty books each." [Report of Read-
ing in Dodgeville (Wisconsin) Public Schools, by Supt. H. W. Kircher].

The efficiency obtained by this process of teaching reading is

shown definitely by means of various tests that have been given

in this school as shown in Table 84. The results obtained in this

manner from encouraging pujiils to read so extensively are further

indicated by the large number of books read as shown at the bottom

of the table:

TABLE 84

Attainments in reading in a certain school

Date of

Grades 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 Test

Starch Test:

Speed in words per minute 96. . 126. . 156. .240. . 318.. 252.. 264.. 330

Comprehension in words written 28 . 42.. 46,. 41.. 46,. 65.. Feb. 1917

Percent idjove June standard in speed 7. . 17.. 25.. 66.. 90.. 39.. 20.. 37
Per cent above June standard in com-
prehension 16.. 50.. 40.. 8.. 2.. 30

Kansas Silent Reading Test:

Score for each grade 12 . 19, . 16.5 . 14. 1 . . 19.6. . 23. .Jan. 1917

Per cent above May 100. . 98. . 22.. 7.. 22.. 22

Fordyce Reading Test:

Speed-words per minute 209.. 272.. 250.. 276 . 250. .April 1917

Quality 76.. 75,. 50.. 50.. 70

Efficiency 65.. 69.. 22.. 20.. 37

Courtis reading Test:

Words per minute 150. 190.. 220 . 220.. 220.. 280.. May 1917

Comprehension 75 , 91,. 90 92. 95 . 95

Questions answered 34. . 41. . 36. . 40. . 45. . 67

Grades 12 3 4 5 6 7 8

Maximum number of boolis read by

any pupil 38.. 96.. 90. . 150. . 101.. 120.. 105.. 100

Minimum number of boolcs read by

any pupil 20,. 45.. 41.. 29.. 42.. 20.. 17.. 18

Average number of books read per

pupil 31.. 65.. 63. 80., 77 , 47,. 42.. 55

Average age of pupils 6. .7.1. .8. 3. .9. 2. .10. 3. .11. 4. .12. 2. .13.1

(Dodgeville Report, page 11.)



READING



2»I



(2) The Possibility of Improvement in Reading Ability. Huey
and other investigators report that they ha\-e been able, by special
effort and practice, to double their speed of reading. Miss Harriet
O'Shea (under the direction of Professor Henmon) conducted
an experiment with a group of high school pupils in which she
attempted to determine to what extent the rate of silent reading
could be increased by specific practice. Her plan was carried
out by giving each pupil a book, usually of high literary quality,
and asking him to spend 15 minutes each day in reading the book
until it was finished and to keep account of the number of lines
read. Her results showed a rather remarkable increase in the rate
of reading from the beginning to the end of the book. Some pupils
gained very little and a few others gained very rapidly, as shown
in the following table:

TABLE 85



\VERAGE No. OF

Links Read im
I'irstTwo 15-
MiM. Periods


Average No. of
Lines Read in
Last Two 15-
MiN. Periods


No. OF Lines
ov Gain
OR Loss


Percentage
OK Gain
OR Loss


696


1445


749


107%


793


1364


571


72


560


1038


478


85


553


964


411


74


461


648


187


40


430


758


328


76


420


715


295


70


416


655


239


57


403


569


166


40


367


732


365


99


36s


528


163


45


364


467


103


28


355


390


35


10


322


667


345


107


303


362


59


19


275


480


205


74


263


685


422


160


260


415


155


60


253


371


iiS


46


245


240


-5


— 2


241


4S4


243


100


241


377


136


56


235


343


108


46


235


224


— II


—4


224


317


93


41


204


I 25


79


38


142


139


3


2



3
4
5
6

7
8

9
10
II
12
13
i-i
15
16

17
18

19
20
21
22

23

24

25
26

27



282 EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

Such experiments ought to be repeated again with additional
attention to the question whether or not comprehension improves
in a proportionate manner, and also whether this gain in the speed
of reading would carry over to reading in general. At any rate,
the results are significant in showing such large gains after a rela-
tively short period of practice and effort to improve the speed of
reading.

Peters ('17) undertook an experiment to determine the effect
of speed drills conducted regularly in connection with the reading
work during a school year. The pupils in grades three to six in the
public schools of Royersford, Pennsylvania, were divided into
"drill" and "no-drill" sections. The manner of conducting the
different sections is described as follows:

"The groups which were not to have the speed drills, and which were
to be used as a basis for comparison with those which did have, were
dealt with after the usual fashion in teaching reading. The other groups,
in addition to their oral reading, were given daily speed drills, without,
however, giving a total of any more time to their reading than the other
group received. So far as feasible both groups were taught reading at
about the same time of day, or else at equally desirable periods. They
used the same books and the same degree of enthusiasm was expected
to be put into both. The drills were, of course, conducted by the teacher
in charge of the class, and ran from November 7th to June 2nd. They
were on relatively easy reading matter, and mostly interesting narrative.
They occupied ordinarily from five to ten minutes of the reading'period.
The group as a whole was told explicitly where to begin and how far to
read, and were then all set to silent reading at the same time with the
exhortation to see who could get it read first. After all, or nearly all, had
finished someone was asked to tell the substance of what he had read. If,
in this reproduction, he omitted anything he was questioned on it as a
guarantee against skimming."

Tests were given to both groups at four points during the school
year, comparing the drill groups with the no-drill groups as a
base. From the first test to the last, the results showed a gain in
speed of iS.7% and the trifling loss of 1.1% in quality of com-
prehension.

Freeman ('16) reports a series of tests made by K. D. Waldo
on the possibility of increasing speed. The lower grades particu-
larly made a very large gain in speed which was accompanied by a
parallel gain in amount reproduced, as indicated in Table 86.



READING



^83



TABLE 86
Improvement in reading from September to March *



Rate in Words
PER Minute



Amount
Reproduced



Percentage of

Correct Answers

to Questions



Grade 3

September. . .

March

Per cent gain .
Grade 4

September. . .

March

Per cent gain .
Grade 5

September. . .

March

Per cent gain .
Grade 6

September. . .

March

Per cent gain .
Grade 7

September. . .

March

Per cent gain .
Grade 8

September. . .

March

Per cent gain .



149
72

92
163



"3

129

16

1 28
130



122
142



147
15S



71

13s

63

133
212

79

52
70
iS

52
S5
33

75

125

49

116

179

63



(3) The Relation of Speed and Comprehension. This question
has been one of perennial interest, and a common misconception
has been held by a great many people regarding the mutual relation-
ship of these two aspects of reading ability. Many people believe
that a rapid reader comprehends relatively little of what he reads
and that a slow reader makes up for his slowness by a more thor-
ough comprehension of content. In order to obtain some specific
facts on this question, the writer obtained the results from a careful
test of reading in an elementary school in Port Townsend, Wash-
ington, and divided the pupils of each grade into six groups ac-
cording to their speed of reading, putting the slowest sixth together
and the next sixth together, and so on to the last sixth, consisting

1 From an unpublished master's thesis by K. D. Waldo, on file in the library of the
University of Chicago.



284



EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY



of the most rapid readers. The results are exhibited in the follow-
ing table. The first column gives the average number of words read
by each group, the second column the average number of words
written representing a correct report of the thought, the third
column gives the speed of reading in terms of the number of
words read per second, the fourth column gives the percentage
of words read in relation to the number of words written.



TABLE S7
Relation between speed and comprehension



^^'oRDS Read in
30 Seconds


Words
Written


Speed per
Second


Per Cent of
Words Written
of Words Read


36


16


1 . 2


46%


51


22


1-7


43


69


24


2-3


35


go


33


3-0


37


105


ii


3-5


31


147


54


4-9


37



These results indicate in a striking manner that the rapid reader
comprehends relatively almost as much out of what he reads as the
slow reader, and, absolutely, he grasps nearly as many more ideas
in a given period of time as is proportional to the extra ground
covered. Specifically, the table shows that the average speed of
reading of the slowest group was 1.2 words per second, whereas
the speed of reading of the fastest group was 4.9 words per second.
The percentage of comprehension in relation to the amount read
was 46% for the slowest group and 37% for the fastest group. In
other words, the percentage of comprehension is almost as large for
the fast group as for the slow group; or, comparing the first and
second columns, we note that the fast group read almost exactly four
times as fast as the slowest group and wrote three and one-third
times as much as the slowest group. In other words, the ratio of
the speed of the reading between the fast and slow group is one to
four, while the ratio of comprehension is one to three and one-third.
The inference is then that the rapid reader derives relatively almost
as much out of what he reads as the slow reader. Absolutely he
obtains several times as many ideas. Concretely, the comparison
may be m.ade in still another way: Of two persons belonging re-
spectively to groups one and six, each reading for one hour, the



READING 285

fast reader would cover four times as much ground and derive three
and one-third times as many ideas as the slow reader. The fast
reader, therefore, has an astounding advantage over the slow reader.
These results consequently give no corroboration for the common
belief "that an inverse relation exists between speed and compre-
hension in the fast and the slow reader.

Similar results have been presented by Judd. These results
are shown in the following diagram. Figure 61:

" For the purpose of this study of the relation between rate and quality,
all of the individual records of Cleveland pupils were divided into classes.
First the speed records were arranged in order from the most rapid to the
slowest. The most rapid of these records were designated by the simple
term 'rapid.' In this class of 'rapid' records were included the most
rapid 25% of all the records. In like fashion the slowest 25% of all the
records were set aside and designated as 'slow.' This left half the rec-
ords, or the middle 50%, which were designated as of 'medium speed.'
In like manner the 25% of all records which were qualitatively the best
were designated 'good'; the 25% which were qualitatively the worst were
designated 'poor,' and the term 'medium' wasapjilied to the middle 50%.

"It becomes a very simple matter to assign all records in each grade
to the appropriate class and determine the percentage of the grade which
falls into this class. Diagram 59 gives the results, the percentages being
in each case the nearest whole number to the calculated figure, and the
size of the circle being proportionate to the size of the class indicated.

"These figures serve to emphasize the fact that good readers are
usually not slow and poor readers are usually not fast. It is evidently
not safe to attempt to lay down any absolute rule. There are good read-
ers who are slow. In some cases such readers may be temperamentally
slow. But even making allowance for such individual peculiarities, the
fi[;ures show that good reading and slow reading are not incompatible.
In like manner there are a certain number of children who read rapidly
but retain little of what they read. With the figures in hand a teacher
can profitably study her class and determine somewhat more completely
than it is possible to do for the whole school system what are the special
explanations of each individual type of ability.

"For the purpose of this survey the general fact that high rate and
good quality are commonly related, and that low rate and poor quality
are commonly related, is of great importance."

King ('17) tested the reading ability of 94 college students,
half of whom were asked to read slowly and carefully and half to
read rapidly and carefully. They read for ten minutes and, by
observing a clock, the fast group were to read twice as rapidly as



286



EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY



the slow group. Comprehension of the material was tested by
answers to questions. The results showed that the accuracy of
comprehension of the fast group was 44.5% and that of the slow
group was 53.3%. In another test the subjects were divided into
groups of naturally fast and naturally slow readers as determined
by a preliminary test. The returns showed that the fastest 25% of
the group had a comprehension of 50.2%, the slowest 25% had a
comprehension of 48%, and the middle 50% had a comprehension




Rapid Speed and
Good Quality




Rapid Speed and
Medium Quality







Rapid Speed and
Poor Quality




Medium Speed and
Good Quality




26



Medium Speed and
Medium Quality




Medium Speed and
Poor Quality







Slow Speed and
Good Quality




Slow Speed and
Medium Quality




Slow Speed and
Poor Quality



After



Fig. 61. — Relation between speed and quality of comprehension.
Judd' (i6, p. 155).

of 46.5%. King interprets his results in favor of the slow readers.
As a matter of fact they show, however, the same relation between
speed and comprehension as found by other experiments. The dif-
ferences in comprehension between the fast and the slow readers
are very small, being slightly in favor of the latter group; but, when
one remembers that the fast readers in the first experiment read
twice as much text, the advantages are distinctly on the side of the
fast readers. Whipple and Curtis ('17) in their study of skimming
in reading also found that the slowest reader was the poorest re-
producer and the best reproducer was one of the fastest readers.



READING 287

(4) Relation between Oral and Silent Reading. Considerable
attention has recently been given to the importance of relative
stress upon oral as against silent reading or vice versa. The belief
held by most of the investigators of this problem is that the schools
have placed too much emphasis upon oral and not enough upon
silent reading.

Superintendent Obcrholtzcr ('14) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, made a
series of tests to ascertain the relative increase from grade to grade
in the speed of silent and oral reading. Tests were given to 1,800
pupils. The following figures give the average speed of oral and
silent reading in terms of words read per second:

TABLE SS

Speed in oral and silent reading. After Oberholtzer ('14)

Words Read per Second
Grade Oral Silent



3 2.1 2

4 2.3 2

5 2.4 3

6 2.8 3

7 31 4

8 3-9 4



These results indicate that in the third grade the speed of oral and



Online LibraryDaniel StarchEducational psychology → online text (page 24 of 41)