Academic journal article School Psychology Review

The Relations between Measures of Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) Cognitive Abilities and Reading Achievement during Childhood and Adolescence. (General Articles)

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

The Relations between Measures of Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) Cognitive Abilities and Reading Achievement during Childhood and Adolescence. (General Articles)

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examined the relations between the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of cognitive abilities and reading achievement during childhood and adolescence. In a large, nationally representative sample including students 6 to 19 years of age, operational measures of CHC cognitive abilities obtained from the Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ III; Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001) were found to be significandy related to the components of reading achievement. Multiple regression analyses were used to regress several WJ III cognitive clusters onto the WJ III Basic Reading Skills and Reading Comprehension clusters for 14 age groups. Comprehension-Knowledge (Gc) demonstrated moderate to strong relations with the components of reading achievement across childhood and adolescence, and Short-term Memory (Gsm) demonstrated moderate relations throughout this period. Auditory Processing (Ga), Long-term Retrieval (Glr), and Processing Speed (Gs) demonstrated moderate relations with the components of reading achievement during the elementary school years. More specialized cognitive clusters (viz., Phonemic Awareness and Working Memory) demonstrated moderate to strong relations. In contrast, Fluid Reasoning (Gf) and Visual-Spatial Thinking (Gv) demonstrated no consistent pattern of significant relations across childhood and adolescence. The results offer external validity evidence for the WJ III cognitive clusters and provide valuable insights into the specific cognitive abilities that are important for understanding the development of reading skills during childhood and adolescence.

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Ideally, all children would come to reading instruction with the prerequisite abilities. Unfortunately, some children display weaknesses or deficits in core cognitive abilities and experience significant problems in the acquisition of reading skills. Recently, the National Research Council's Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children integrated the available literature on reading skill development and reading disabilities in Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). This report identified a variety of child-based risk factors for reading failure, such as developmental delay in general cognitive development, hearing impairment, early language impairment, and attention deficits. In the cognitive and language domains, a variety of abilities were mentioned as pivotal to reading development. These included linguistic proficiency, verbal memory, lexical and syntactic skills, general language abilities, and phonological awareness. It is clear that su ccess (or failure) in reading is a multivariate process.

According to Snow et al. (1998), practice and research in the field of reading have not been particularly coherent and systematic. In clinics and schools, the assessment of reading is often characterized by a diverse array of instruments that may be redundant and incomplete with respect to the necessary range of knowledge and abilities necessary for proficient reading. Reading researchers have also used differing sets of predictor measures across studies and have frequently failed to include some of the most important predictors of reading in their investigations. The omission of potentially important variables in predictive or explanatory research is considered a form of specification error, a type of modeling error that can lead to biased estimates of the effects of predictive variables. Specification error during reading research is especially problematic because (a) cognitive abilities that are excluded from analyses may be judged to be unimportant when they are vital; (b) the relative contribution of a n umber of abilities to reading achievement remains unknown; (c) researchers may continue to build on studies that were limited in the abilities that were assessed, which may lead to premature reliance on certain predictor measures; and (d) possibly most important, consumers of this research may be misled into omitting important predictive measures from their assessments. …

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