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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Relationship between sight vocabulary of beginning second grade children and visual closure and visual sequential memory as measured by the Illinois test of psycholinguistic abilities Moore, Donna-Mae

Abstract

Research indicates that a positive relationship exists between reading achievement and performance on tasks at the automatic level of the "Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities". What has not "been clarified is the relationship "between skills as defined "by these subtests and specific reading skills. Studies which have linked performance on the automatic visual subtests with word recognition skills have tended to use as criterion measures, those identification tasks permitting scanning for unspecified lengths of time. This procedure does not distinguish between recognition at sight and identification by phonetic or structural analysis. This study examines among children beginning their second year of school, the relationship of visual closure and visual sequential memory as measured by the ITPA (1968) to sight vocabulary defined as the number of words correctly identified orally following tachistoscopic presentation using a controlled exposure time, A sample of 156 subjects was drawn from five Vancouver, British Columbia schools believed to be representative of the general population. These subjects had no known sensory defects and all were native English speakers. Intelligence and achievement were assumed to be representative, and school records confirmed the existence of a range of achievement. The Visual Closure and Visual Sequential Memory subtests of the ITPA were administered and scored according to standardized procedure. Sight vocabulary was measured using the Word Recognition subtest of the "Durrell Analysis of Reading Difficulty" and an exposure time of .25 seconds. Using raw scores, Pearson Product Moment correlations were calculated; their significance was estimated using the two-tailed "t" test. The pairs of variables correlated were Sight Vocabulary with Visual Closure, Sight Vocabulary with Visual Sequential Memory, Visual Closure with Visual Sequential Memory, and Sight Vocabulary with mean raw scores for Visual Closure and Visual Sequential Memory. For each of these four pairs of variables, correlations were obtained for nine categories defined by age and/or sex. As an estimate of the validity of obtained Sight Vocabulary scores, letter grades assigned to subjects by teachers at the end of year one were obtained from school records following all testing, converted to a numerical scale, and correlated with Sight Vocabulary scores. Results reveal that scores were approximately normally distributed. Means and standard deviations were very similar to those reported for the standardization group, as was the total sample correlation of .10 for Visual Closure with Visual Sequential Memory. Correlations of Sight Vocabulary with teacher letter grades were high, ranging from .56 to .93 with a correlation of .77 over the five schools. All other obtained correlations were low and positive and do not confirm the hypothesis that performance on the Visual Closure and Visual Sequential Memory subtests of the ITPA may be closely related to the size of sight vocabulary acquired by children beginning their second year of school. These results could mean that factors common to these skills are insignificant, that the test is not measuring the kinds of closure and memory skills which are closely related to acquiring sight vocabulary, or that the test does not discriminate between individual levels of functioning well enough to obtain accurate estimates of co-variance. Examination of data both for the standardization group and for this sample certainly seems to support this last explanation. Ceiling effects are particularly apparent for Visual Sequential Memory. While this study does reveal a positive relationship between acquired sight vocabulary and functioning in visual closure and visual sequential memory as measured by the ITPA, the magnitude of this relationship would not support the efficacy of providing training in these skills in hopes that improved functioning would be accompanied by expanded sight vocabulary.

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