A study of the function of ear advantage in relation to reading comprehension
McGuinness, James P.
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This study investigates the effects of monaural reception through an advantaged ear, as established through dichotic testing, during reading comprehension exercises by middle school and high school students. The subjects were screened on the basis of intelligence and reading ability showing average or above status in both areas. Forty students were selected and evaluated for ear advantage with a consonant-vowel dichotic listening test. An audiometer was used to control calibration of sound. Thirty-three subjects indicated a right ear preference and seven left. Each subject read and answered reading comprehension questions on six short selections derived from the Stanford Achievement Test. The reading material was geared to the age appropriate grade level of the students. Two selections were read silently, two were read orally with monaural reception and two orally with bi-aural reception. The monitoring of sound input was managed with the used of an Audiocomp, a headset device with microphone and electronic mixer components. Comprehension questions were identified as relating to facts and details, main idea or inference. The subjects' responses to the reading comprehension questions were correlated on the basis of both the behavioral treatment, or input, and the type of comprehension questions. Means and standard deviations were computed, Pearson correlation coefficients were assigned and a t-test of variance concluded the statistical analysis. Of the sixteen possible relationships found between input and question mode, only three were found to be significant. The advantaged ear treatment resulted in more accurate reading comprehension in the area of inference than the silent or bi-aural treatments. It is concluded that the results of the experiment do not, as a whole, support the hypothesis that advantaged ear input during reading will increase comprehension accuracy. The limited evidence in support of the hypothesis in the realm of inferential comprehension could initiate further investigation.
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