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Gary Probst wrote:

In grading a reading test, I always check the percent of questions the
students answered correctly.  I have always found a small number of
students who correctly answer 90 percent or more of the questions -- but
because they read and work slowly only answer a few questions.  When the
timed test is graded, these students are placed into reading because of
a low reading score. These students do not need a course in improving
their vocabulary and comprehension skills.  What these students need to
do is improve their reading speed. The total correct reading score which
is usually used for placement can be very misleading.

At our college I have noticed that students answer on the Standford
Reading test 30 to 40 of the 60 comprehension questions.  They usually
get 75 percent of the questions they answer correct.  After a 15 week
reading course, they answer 45 to 60 comprehension question and still
get 75 percent correct.  This leads me to believe that reading speed is
the cause of the improvement in reading score and not an improvement in
comprehension skills.



Kimberly A. McDonald wrote:
>
> While I realize that I'm getting in on the "tail-end" of this discussion,
> I thought it would be helpful to share with you the outcome of working
> with a particular student this summer.
>
> The student came to me (referred by his Uncle who happens to be a faculty
> member at our University) for help with his study skills.  The first
> thing I did was administer the LASSI (Learning and Study Strategies
> Inventory) to him.  He scored the lowest possible percentile in motivation
> and attitude -- the two main predictors of persistance, and not much higher
> in the other eight scales.  He took a "pre-test" on the Davidson "Speed
> Reader" program and was only reading 147 words per minute (the average
> college student reads about 325-350 per minute).  Although his
> comprehension wasn't bad, his overall skill level was low.
>
> My experience in the past has been that when students come to me for help
> in "study skills," what they really need to work on first is their
> reading speed and comprehension, so I decided to have this students work on
> the Speed Reader program.  After working on the program for three
> straight months (at least twice per week) the student is now reading over
> 625 words per minute with 80-100% comprehension.
>
> I'd been waiting anxiously until the end of the summer to administer the
> LASSI to him one more time to see if anything had changed.  To my
> amazement, the student's score this time on attitude and motivation had
> "skyrocketed" to the 75%ile.  He was gaining confidence in his own
> ability!!!  HE was also shocked to see the marked improvement in his
> scores.  I had kept copies of all of his "drill and practice" work and
> presented him with a tidy packet showing his improvement over the
> summer.  He was ecstatic!
>
> Now, obviously, this student had a lot going for him: an uncle who
> supported (and pushed) him, time over the summer to devote to learning a
> new skill, and most of all, the determination to succeed.  But, remember,
> it wasn't there at first.  As he learned to read faster, his confidence
> grew and that seemed to encourage him to go on.  Now, even though we're
> officially finished for the summer, he continues to come into the lab to
> work on his reading techniques.  I can't wait to see how he does in
> classes this fall!!!
>
> I firmly believe that anyone can benefit from working on speed reading and
> comprehension. This example was not an isolated case.  The key is patience,
> making learning FUN, and the student's determination to succeed.
>
> I hope this helps!
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Kim McDonald
> Saginaw Valley State University
> Michigan