ERIC Number: EJ697755
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep
The End of the Reading Age: Grade and Age Effects in Early Schooling
Alexander, James R.M.; Martin, Frances
Journal of School Psychology, v42 n5 p403-416 Sep 2004
During the school years, psychological test norms may be indexed by age or by grade. A number of studies have shown that using age-based norms appears to produce biases associated with grade assignment. Cahan and Cohen [Child Dev. 60 (1989) 1239-1249] showed that the effect of one grade was over twice the effect of 1 year of age for most verbal cognitive ability subtests in Grades 4-6. A higher ratio might be expected for more curriculum-related areas such as reading tests. Analysis of a representative sample of 4257 Grade 1 and 2 children in Tasmanian government schools (which use relatively strict age assignment to grades) for three subtests of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised (WRMTR): Word Identification, Word Attack, and Passage Comprehension, showed that the grade effect is about twice the age effect. This data shows that using age-based norms instead of grade-based norms for reading and other verbal ability tests may produce bias in the early school years. Psychologists should thus be primarily concerned with children's educational history, as once children have entered school other developmental factors indexed by age have less influence on children's verbal performance.
Descriptors: Test Norms, Cognitive Ability, Verbal Ability, Reading Tests, Reading Achievement, Psychological Testing, Reading Comprehension, Test Bias, Age Differences, Instructional Program Divisions, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 1; Grade 2
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Woodcock Reading Mastery Test