Academic journal article Journal of Correctional Education

An Examination of the Relationship between Self-Reported and Measured Reading and Spelling Skills among Incarcerated Adults in Norway

Academic journal article Journal of Correctional Education

An Examination of the Relationship between Self-Reported and Measured Reading and Spelling Skills among Incarcerated Adults in Norway

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The present paper investigates the relationship between the revised Adult Dyslexia Check List (ADCL), and the performance on a standardized battery of reading and spelling tests in adults, when used in an incarcerated population in Norway. The paper reports two sub studies. Study 1 examined the psychometric attributes of the ADCL by analysing the internal consistency and factor structure of the questionnaire. Six hundred subjects responded to the ADCL and also rated their self-perceived reading and writing difficulties on two simple graded scales. The ADCL yielded acceptable internal consistency and a three factor solution was identified in the Norwegian version of the ADCL. In study 2 the ADCL was analysed for its ability to predict objectively measured reading and spelling skills. Ninety-two incarcerated adults completed the test. Their ADCL scores, their response on the self-perception questions and the three factors were correlated with the subjects' achieved scores on the standardized reading and spelling test. The analyses revealed that participants' ADCL scores and their standardized test scores did not share much variance. However, self-perceived reading and writing difficulties correlated moderately with the standardized test.

Keywords: self-report instruments, factor analysis, measured reading and spelling skills, prison population

Simple and reliable screening instruments and check lists for reading and spelling skills are valuable tools for identification of adults with learning challenges, in particular when they are approaching a new chance for education. The Adult Dyslexia Check List (ADCL) has been offered as such an instrument, but little data have been published to support this notion. The present study attempts to measure the relationship between reading skills as they are conveyed through the ADCL, and reading and spelling skills as they are seen on a standardized battery of reading and spelling skills in a Norwegian prison population. Incarcerated individuals are regarded as a high risk group with respect to reading and spelling difficulties; the prevalence rates are well reported (Einat & Einat, 2008; Kirk & Reid, 2001; Samuelsson, Gustavsson, Herkner, & Lundberg, 2000; Snowling, Adams, Bowyer-Crane, & Tobin, 2000; Svensson, Lundberg, & Jacobson, 2001, 2003). The high prevalence of reading and spelling difficulties among incarcerated is found to be independent of type of sample, sample size, prison education, and also languages. For a description of differences in orthographic transparency, see Seymour, Aro & Erskine (2003). Several studies from Sweden (Samuelsson, et al., 2000; Svensson, et al.), English speaking countries (Kirk & Reid, 2001; Moody et al., 2000; Morgan & Kett, 2003; Snowling, et al., 2000), and Israel (Einat & Einat, 2008) suggest prevalence rates between 50-70 %. At the same time, there is a considerable effort in lifelong learning, both nationally (Ministry of Knowledge, 2006) and internationally, with the European Commons frameworks eight competencies for lifelong learning (European Communities, 2007). The life-long learning perspective does also include education for the incarcerated, and this also increases the need for reliable and simple ways of identifying individuals with learning challenges.

Although the prison studies agree on the prevalence rate of reading and spelling difficulties in the prison population, the suggested rates of dyslexia vary. In one study by Moody et al. (2000), 47.8 % of the inmates showed signs of dyslexia based on a word attack measure. In a similar vein, Kirk & Reid (2001) reported 50 % with dyslectic difficulties in a group of young offenders. This was based on a self-assessment screening test. However, the findings of Samuelsson et al. (2000) suggest that the dyslexia rate among the incarcerated is equivalent to that of the general population (Samuelsson, et al., 2000). …

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