Exploring Dynamic Assessment as a Means of Identifying Children At-Risk of Developing Comprehension Difficulties
Elleman, Amy M.
We conducted two studies to explore a newly constructed dynamic assessment (DA) intended to tap inference making skills which we hypothesize will be predictive of future comprehension performance, and more specifically, comprehension failure. In the first study, we administered a traditional static test to 68 second grade children to determine the reliability and difficulty of the items. Children listened to short passages and answered 3 inferential questions (i.e., 1 setting and 2 causal). In the second study, we administered the test to 100 second-grade children using a dynamic format to consider the concurrent validity of the measure. In contrast to the static condition in which no instruction or feedback was provided to the children, in the dynamic condition, children were taught to be “reading detectives” by using textual clues to solve what was happening in the story. After listening to a story, if children were unable to answer a question, they were reminded what a reading detective would do and given a set of increasingly concrete prompts and clues until they could answer the question correctly. Results from the first study indicated that setting inferences were easier than causal inferences and that the reliability of the test was adequate, alpha = .76. Results from the second study showed that the DA correlated with a standardized measure of reading comprehension, r = .70 and explained 4% unique variance in the reading comprehension measure above and beyond verbal IQ and word identification skills.