Title

Differences in Reading Comprehension Between Learning Disabled and Non-Learning Disabled College Students on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test as Related to Question and Length of Test

Date of Award

3-1-1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The present study examined the effects of unlimited time on the ability of college students with learning disabilities (LD) and without learning disabilities (NLD) to complete the comprehension subtest of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (NDRT), which under standard instructions is timed. Time effects were examined with relationship to question type (literal vs. implicit), total number correct, and reading time. The subjects were 12 NLD and 10 LD college, all attending the University of North Dakota. Computerized versions of the NDRT, Forms G and H recorded subjects’ reading rates, response times to questions, and question answers. The two tests were randomized with respect to form and testing time. Percentile ranks for raw test scores of the NDRT comprehension subtest were obtained from a table presented in the test manual. Major findings included a significant difference between LD, who have lower percentile ranks, and NLD students on the timed test, regardless of order of presentation. This significant difference was also found between LD and NLD students if the untimed test was presented second. However, there was no significant difference in percentile ranks of LD and NLD students if the untimed test was administered first. Students with LD significantly improved their scores on the first presentation of the untimed test, while NLD students' scores remained stable across all presentations of the test. Additionally, reading rates for students with LD are significantly longer than the NLD students in all testing conditions and response times to questions indicate that the students with LD take proportionately longer than their NLD peers to answer implicit questions versus literal questions. The group differences for number correct was usually larger for the implicit questions than for literal questions. This indicated that students with LD do have more difficulty answering implicit questions correctly than NLD students.

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