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| Published: September 25, 2015

ART: A Cognitive Screening Tool for Reading and Arithmetic Difficulties

Vidyasagar, N

Clinical Psychologist Christ University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India Google Scholar More about the auther

, Bhogle, S

Visiting faculty, Christ University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India Google Scholar More about the auther

DIP: 18.01.079/20150204

DOI: 10.25215/0204.079

ABSTRACT

Cognitive functions are known to be the crucial foundation on which all learning as well as acquisition of many of our everyday activities and tasks, rest. Research in cognitive psychology has highlighted its importance for the mastery of academic subjects especially reading and arithmetic ability. Educational neuroscience is an evolving branch which explores the connection between the underlying neural and cognitive aspects of academic learning. Most of the exploratory work in this new area is being carried out among children who are ‘at risk’ of academic difficulties. Hence the aim of the present research work was to develop a screening measure for identification of children with reading and arithmetic difficulties. There is a dearth of a quick, yet comprehensive screening measure which tests cognitive functions apart from reading and arithmetic skills in children. It therefore becomes imperative that we identify, as early as possible, children ‘at risk’ for learning difficulties and attempt to assess the relevant cognitive skills and plan and execute intervention programs to improve the efficacy of these cognitive skills. A screening measure was thus developed which consisted of three domains: cognitive abilities, reading comprehension and arithmetic ability. This measure was administered on 1091, third, fourth and fifth grade children from English medium schools in South Bangalore, following the ICSE syllabus. The data obtained was subjected to item analyses and the final screening tool – Arithmetic and Reading Test (ART) – was developed, which comprised of tests for reading comprehension, arithmetic ability and cognitive functions, i.e., attention and concentration, visual perception, visuo-spatial ability, processing and working memory. Psychometric properties were established and the ART was found to be reliable and valid. Test-retest reliability of the ART was 0.76. The tests in the ART were found to be internally consistent. Concurrent validity of the reading and arithmetic measure of ART was found to be 0.43 and 0.36 with performance in school examinations, i.e., marks in English and Mathematics respectively. The cognitive skills assessed were found to be significantly correlated to English and Arithmetic performance in school examinations. These results indicate the importance of cognitive functions in Education. The findings of this research have important implications for cognitive remediation research where children identified using this screening measure can be provided cognitive training program aimed at improving specific cognitive skills which thereby would enhance their reading and arithmetic skills.Cognitive functions are known to be the crucial foundation on which all learning as well as acquisition of many of our everyday activities and tasks, rest. Research in cognitive psychology has highlighted its importance for the mastery of academic subjects especially reading and arithmetic ability. Educational neuroscience is an evolving branch which explores the connection between the underlying neural and cognitive aspects of academic learning. Most of the exploratory work in this new area is being carried out among children who are ‘at risk’ of academic difficulties. Hence the aim of the present research work was to develop a screening measure for identification of children with reading and arithmetic difficulties. There is a dearth of a quick, yet comprehensive screening measure which tests cognitive functions apart from reading and arithmetic skills in children. It therefore becomes imperative that we identify, as early as possible, children ‘at risk’ for learning difficulties and attempt to assess the relevant cognitive skills and plan and execute intervention programs to improve the efficacy of these cognitive skills. A screening measure was thus developed which consisted of three domains: cognitive abilities, reading comprehension and arithmetic ability. This measure was administered on 1091, third, fourth and fifth grade children from English medium schools in South Bangalore, following the ICSE syllabus. The data obtained was subjected to item analyses and the final screening tool – Arithmetic and Reading Test (ART) – was developed, which comprised of tests for reading comprehension, arithmetic ability and cognitive functions, i.e., attention and concentration, visual perception, visuo-spatial ability, processing and working memory. Psychometric properties were established and the ART was found to be reliable and valid. Test-retest reliability of the ART was 0.76. The tests in the ART were found to be internally consistent. Concurrent validity of the reading and arithmetic measure of ART was found to be 0.43 and 0.36 with performance in school examinations, i.e., marks in English and Mathematics respectively. The cognitive skills assessed were found to be significantly correlated to English and Arithmetic performance in school examinations. These results indicate the importance of cognitive functions in Education. The findings of this research have important implications for cognitive remediation research where children identified using this screening measure can be provided cognitive training program aimed at improving specific cognitive skills which thereby would enhance their reading and arithmetic skills.

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Vidyasagar, N @ nishavidyasagar@hotmail.com

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Article Overview

ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429

18.01.079/20150204

10.25215/0204.079

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Published in   Volume 02, Issue 4, July-September, 2015