The Not So Simple View of Reading in Down Syndrome
This study evaluated the feasibility and construct validity of four parallel measures of listening comprehension and reading comprehension for individuals with Down syndrome and peers with typical developmental histories. Participants include 19 individuals with Down syndrome (M = 206.63 months, SD = 41.68 months) and 19 word-level reading-matched typically developing children (M = 86.11 months, SD = 6.54 months). Participants completed norm-referenced assessments for four parallel measures of listening and reading comprehension. The four measurement methods were: (1) nonverbal response, (2) cloze-procedure, (3) passage-level with close-ended questions, and (4) passage-level with open-ended questions. Participants also completed assessments of nonverbal cognition, oral language, word-level reading, and speech accuracy for descriptive purposes. Feasibility was assessed by calculating the percentage of participants scoring above floor level (i.e., raw score > 0) as well as the average administration and scoring time for each measure. Construct validity was assessed using the Multitrait-Multimethod Matrix (Campbell & Fisk, 1959), a correlation matrix arranged to facilitate the assessment and interpretation of construct validity of measures across various formats. For both study groups, we demonstrated feasibility of administration for all four measurement methods as well as strong evidence of reliability and construct validity for three out of four of the measurement methods (nonverbal response, cloze procedure, and passage-level with open-ended questions). These findings represent a first step toward determining optimal methods of listening comprehension and reading comprehension assessment for individuals with Down syndrome.