09 SES 03 A, Assessment in Language Education: Early literacy, oracy and spelling
Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) is the ability to name aloud objects, colours, digits or letters. RAN has been widely examined during the last decades as a predictor of reading ability (e.g. Araújo, Petersson, Reis, & Faísca, 2015; Kirby, Georgiou, Martinussen, & Parrila, 2010), whereas the development of RAN itself is less studied.
However, in a longitudinal study the development of RAN was studied over six years, from the age of 4 until the age of 10 years old (work in progress; Åvall, Wolff & Gustafsson). The results showed that RAN objects when children are 4 years old correlates highly with RAN objects when children are 8 years old. Moreover, RAN objects at the age of 4 predicts both RAN letters and RAN digits when children are 8 years old. This is in line with prior results from a Norwegian study (Lervåg & Hulme, 2009) showing that non-alphanumeric RAN (objects and colours) correlates highly with later alphanumeric RAN (digits and letters). Thus, according to previous research RAN performance appears to be stable over time.
Wolf and Bowers (1999) claim that RAN performance requires several different subskills, e.g. attentional processing, visual processing, phonological processing, integration processes and motoric processes, underscoring the importance of phonological processes. Other researchers also suggest that RAN performance reflects a phonological processing time and how fast representations can be retrieved from long-term memory (Lervåg & Hulme, 2009; Torgesen, Wagner, Rashotte, Burgess, & Hecht, 1997).
Sometimes distinctions are made between explicit and implicit phonological processes (Melby-Lervåg, Lyster, & Hulme, 2012). Explicit phonological processes are referred to as phonological awareness, the ability to consciously perceive the sound structure of the spoken word ignoring the lexical meaning (Lundberg, 2009). Implicit phonological processes are processes that occur automatically without thinking about the sound structure, often measured by RAN and verbal short-term memory (Melby-Lervåg et al., 2012). These phonological processes, phonological awareness and RAN performance, have not been found to be highly correlated (for a meta-analysis see Swanson, Trainin, Necoechea, & Hammill, 2003), and therefore Kirby et al. (2010) hypothesized that RAN performance and phonological awareness add information independently to reading ability.
Wolff and Gustafsson (2015) identified two aspects of phonological awareness, the linguistic complexity level, and the processing complexity level. The linguistic complexity level is reflected by tasks with morphemes, syllables and phonemes, whereas the processing complexity level is reflected by identification, blending/segmentation and manipulation. They found that the processing complexity level correlated highly with fluid intelligence (Gf), i.e., the ability to distinguish patterns and solving novel problems by inductive and deductive reasoning, concept formation, and classification. Wolff and Gustafsson (2015) suggest that Gf serves as a trigger for the development of phonological awareness skills. It can be assumed that phonological awareness mediates the influence of Gf on reading skills (Wolff & Gustafsson, 2015).
Thus, RAN, Gf and phonological awareness have all been found to influence early reading skills. The overall aim of the present study is to examine the relations between these skills. We want to challenge our finding that RAN is a stable measure over time, and examine the influence of Gf and phonological awareness on later RAN development.
The research questions are:
1) Does phonological awareness, measured at the age of 4, influence RAN development (4-10 years old)?
2) Does Gf, measured at the age of 4, influence RAN development (4-10 years old)?
Participating children (N=222) were recruited from 45 Swedish preschools in 8 municipalities. The children were followed from the age of 4 until the age of 10. RAN was measured at six times, whereas both phonological awareness and Gf were measured at pre test only. RAN was assessed by three different RAN tasks: Objects, Letters and Digits. In preschool, RAN was measured at three times, when children were 4, 5 and 6 years old (RAN Objects), and three times in school, in grade 2, 3 and 4 (RAN Objects2, RAN Digits and RAN Letters). Phonological awareness was measured at the pre test when children were 4 years old. The task comprised of 171 items reflecting the linguistic complexity level and the processing complexity level (for more detailed information, please see Wolff & Gustafsson, 2015). Gf was measured with a test battery consisting of visuospatial problem solving tasks, short term and working memory tasks that has been found to be a valid measure of Gf for children four years old (for more detailed description, please see Gustafsson and Wolff, 2015). The analytic method used for RAN development was a latent growth curve model conducted within the Mplus 7 program (Muthén & Muthén, 2012) under the STREAMS modeling environment (Gustafsson & Stahl, 2005). A measurement model for Gf (Gustafsson & Wolff, 2015) as well as for phonological awareness (Wolff & Gustafsson, 2015) was added to the growth model.
When using latent growth curve analyses intercepts (IntObjects, IntObjects2, IntLetters, IntDigits) and slopes (SlopeObjects, SlopeLetters and SlopeDigits) were computed. Regarding the intercepts, preliminary results implied that IntObjects was related to IntObjects2, and IntDigits was related to IntLetters. The strongest relation between intercepts was between the two measures of IntObjects (IntObjects, IntObjects2) over time, followed by the relation between IntLetters and IntDigits. This means that the relation within non-alphanumeric RAN over time was stronger than the relation between concurrent non-alphanumeric and alphanumeric RAN. Thus, the performance of RAN objects is stable over time. Results also showed that IntObjects2 and IntDigits were positively related to SlopeLetters, whereas IntLetters was negatively related to SlopeLetters. This negative relation indicates that low performers develop the most. None of the intercepts were significantly related to SlopeDigits, whereas SlopeDigits was related to SlopeLetters. IntObjects had an indirect effect on the development of SlopeLetters. We have not yet thoroughly analyzed the influence of Gf and phonological awareness on RAN. However, preliminary results show that both Gf and phonological awareness influence the developmental patterns for both non-alphanumeric and alphanumeric RAN.
Araújo, S., Petersson, K. M., Reis, A., & Faísca, L. (2015). Rapid Automatized Naming and Reading Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(3), 868-883. Gustafsson, J. -E., & Stahl, P. A. (2005). STREAMS 3.0 user's guide. Mölndal, Sweden: MultivariateWare. Gustafsson, J.-E., & Wolff, U. (2015). Measuring fluid intelligence at age four. Intelligence, 50(Supplement C), 175-185. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2015.04.008 Kirby, J. R., Georgiou, G. K., Martinussen, R., & Parrila, R. (2010). Review of Research: Naming Speed and Reading--From Prediction to Instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(3), 341-362. Lervåg, A., & Hulme, C. (2009). Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) Taps a Mechanism That Places Constraints on the Development of Early Reading Fluency. Psychological Science, 20(8), 1040-1048. Lundberg, I. (2009). Early precursors and enabling skills of reading acquisition. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 50, 611-616. Melby-Lervåg, M., Lyster, S.-A. H., & Hulme, C. (2012). Phonological Skills and Their Role in Learning to Read: A Meta-Analytic Review. Psychological Bulletin, 138(2), 322-352. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2012). Mplus User’s Guide (Seventh Edition). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén. Swanson, H. L., Trainin, G., Necoechea, D. M., & Hammill, D. D. (2003). Rapid Naming, Phonological Awareness, and Reading: A Meta-Analysis of the Correlation Evidence. Review of Educational Research, 73(4), 407-440. Torgesen, J. K., Wagner, R. K., Rashotte, C. A., Burgess, S., & Hecht, S. (1997). Contributions of Phonological Awareness and Rapid Automatic Naming Ability to the Growth of Word-Reading Skills in Second-to Fifth-Grade Children. Scientific Studies of Reading, 1(2), 161. Wolf, M., & Bowers, P. G. (1999). The double-deficit hypothesis for the developmental dyslexias. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(3), 415-438. doi:10.1037/0022-06220.127.116.115 Wolff, U., & Gustafsson, J.-E. (2015). Structure of phonological ability at age four. Intelligence, 53(Supplement C), 108-117. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2015.09.003
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