Novel approaches to examine passage, student, and question effects on reading comprehension

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Reading comprehension is influenced by sources of variance associated with the reader and the task. To gain insight into the complex interplay of multiple sources of influence, we employed crossed random-effects item response models. These models allowed us to simultaneously examine the degree to which variables related to the type of passage and student characteristics influenced students' (n = 94; mean age = 11.97 years) performance on two indicators of reading comprehension: different types of comprehension questions and passage fluency. We found that variables related to word recognition, language, and executive function were influential across various types of passages and comprehension questions and also predicted a reader's passage fluency. Further, an exploratory analysis of two-way interaction effects was conducted. Results suggest that understanding the relative influence of passage, question, and student variables has implications for identifying struggling readers and designing interventions to address their individual needs. © 2014 The Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children.

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