The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship of psycholinguistic abilities as measured by the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities to reading achievement in a clinic population. Many counsellors and educational psychologists use the results of this test as a prognosis of specific reading disability and also in the planning of remedial programmes for children experiencing difficulty. The purpose of the current inquiry was to show, by studying a group of children with reading problems who presented at a reading clinic, the validity of such prognoses from I.T.P.A. results. It was hypothesized that psycholinguistic ability would be positively related to word recognition, reading accuracy and reading comprehension. The above hypotheses were examined in 2 separate testing sessions separated in time by a nominal two and a half years. A total of 15 children ranging in age from 6 to 10 years were tested for psycholinguistic proficiency with the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities. Those children represented half of the children tested by the writer at the Educational Clinic, Kingston, A.C.T. over a 14 month period of employment. The children were a representative sample of a clinic population experiencing reading difficulties stratified on the variable of age. An intellectual assessment of each child in the sample found everyone to be of average or above average ability level. A teacher profile was completed for each child at the time of both testing sessions, also valuable information was acquired at parent interviews. The Bristol Social Adjustment Guide was completed by each child's teacher at the time of the second testing. Three relative levels of social adjustment, according to those set out in the manual for the Bristol Social Adjustment Guide, were delineated. Those children who were shown to be severely maladjusted were excluded from the sample. Scores on the Individual Reading Test, A.C.E.R. represented the criterion measures of word recognition skills. Scores on the Neale Analysis of Reading Ability represented the criterion measures of reading accuracy and reading comprehension abilities. Scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale were the measure of intelligence. Spearman's Rank Correlation Coefficient, Rho was used to test the hypotheses. Also an analysis of each individual case was completed to show whether knowledge of Psycholinguistic Age was a significant predictor of oral word recognition, reading accuracy and reading comprehension achievement. The Grammatic Closure subtest correlated significantly with oral word recognition, reading accuracy and comprehension achievement. The Visual Closure subtest correlated significantly with oral word recognition and reading accuracy achievement. The Verbal Expression subtest correlated significantly with reading accuracy and word recognition scores. Psycholinguistic Age correlated significantly with oral word recognition. The analysis of each individual case showed knowledge of Psycholinguistic Age was a predictor of reading comprehension ability in some cases. When the results of the current study were related to similar studies, it was clear that there was no single pattern of subtest deficits, except for a general tendency for deficits to occur at the automatic level of psycholinguistic ability. As there are no published studies where the predictive ability of the I.T.P.A. with a reading disabled population has been examined, this study is an exploratory analysis of this special population. Previous studies have looked at the predictive ability of the I.T.P.A. with pre-school children and children from normal classroom situations where only a small percentage of children would have significant reading difficulties. Recommendations are made for future research strategies, whereby clarification of existing knowledge could be made by researching homogeneous groups within reading-disabled populations. Future research using a broader theoretical framework is also recommended, so that reading models like the Psycholinguistic model (Goodman-Smith) can be further explored.
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