Identifying reading comprehension difficulties is challenging. There are many comprehension tests to choose from, and a child’s diagnosis can be influenced by various factors such as a test’s format and content and the choice of diagnostic criteria. We investigate these issues with reference to the Neale Analysis of Reading Ability (NARA) and the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC).
Ninety-five children were assessed on both tests. Test characteristics were compared using Principal Components and Regression analyses as well as an analysis of passage content.
NARA comprehension scores were more dependent on decoding skills than YARC scores, but children answered more comprehension questions on the NARA and passages spanned a wider range of difficulty. Consequently, 15–34% of children received different diagnoses across tests, depending on diagnostic criteria.
Knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of comprehension tests is essential when attempting to diagnose reading comprehension difficulties.
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