Component skills of inferential processing in older readers
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The ability to make inferences has been shown to be a crucial component of successful reading in older students. The current project investigates differences in comprehension of text-based (factual) and inferential information across grade levels and modalities, and seeks to determine which component language and reading skills that are important in making inferences. 1,836 students in grades 6-12 were tested on a computerized battery of language subtests in the auditory and written modalities. Eleven subtests examining performance on lower levels of were administered in addition to a measure of factual and inferential discourse comprehension. Results demonstrated that students performed better overall in the written modality. Students in older grades were consistently faster and more accurate. Vocabulary knowledge had the biggest effect for performance on inferential questions in the written modality in middle school, while sentence-level skills were most important in high school. In the auditory modality, sentence-level skills were most predictive across question types and grade levels. Implications for theories of inferential processing and for teaching inferences within literacy education frameworks will be discussed.
Thesis (M.S.)--Boston University