A factor analysis of some measures of silent reading ability



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The subjects contributing the data for this study include 210 sixth grade boys and girls. Scores were obtained on a battery of tests including the New Stanford Reading Test, the Nelson Silent Reading Test, the Burgess Scale, the Conroe Standardized Silent Reading Test, the Chapman-Cook Speed of Reading Test, the Henmon-Nelson Test of Mental Ability, and the Pintner Non-Language Test. The eye-movements of the subjects were also photographed, and the teachers' reading grades were secured. The intercorrelations of the twenty-four scores obtained from these measures constituted the primary data of the study. An examination of the intercorrelations revealed a variety of information concerning the relationships existing between the tests, and indicated the need of further analysis. The factor analysis technique was applied to six combinations of the tests and the findings may be summarized as follows: 1. A high degree of consistency was found in the weightings of each variable in the different analyses. 2. The analyses indicate that three independent factors were operative in the tests employed. 3. These three factors, "A", "B", and "C", are capable of describing the reading tests to the extent of accounting for eighty-five per cent of the average variations. 4. The three factors are capable of describing ninety-five per cent of the variation on the New Stanford Reading Test, and as much as seventy per cent of the variation on each of the reading tests employed in this study. 5. The three factors may be characterized as follows: (1) Factor "A", a general factor operative in all of the tests, but in varying degrees in the different tests; (2) Factor "B", a factor differentiating reading rate from a group of measures, including word meaning, mental ability, and the New Stanford Test; and (3) Factor "C", which makes for similarity between measures of reading rate and measures of word meaning, and which contrasts these measures with the comprehension scores on the Nelson Reading Test. 6. The factor patterns indicate that any general concept of silent reading ability should include at least three elements, as represented by factors "A", "B", and "C", the nature of which may be described at present in terms of their relationship to the different tests. A more detailed study of the nature of these factors should prove helpful in describing more adequately the elements, or abilities, which are essential in the reading process