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Revised version of the Scale of Evaluation of Reading Competence by the Teacher: final validation and standardization [Versión revisada de la Escala de Evaluación de la Competencia de Lectura por el Profesor: validación final y estandarización]

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The original version of the EACOL, a tool for teachers to assess silent and aloud reading of Brazilian 2nd-to-5th-graders, was revised and the resulting instrument was validated and normalized. Method: 72 teachers were asked to answer the revised EACOL and a behavioral questionnaire; 452 pupils performed a test battery composed by seven reading tasks and one general cognitive ability measure. Results: The revised EACOL presented high reliability and moderate-to-strong correlations with all reading variables; cluster analysis suggested three proficiency groups (poor/not-so-good/good readers). Conclusion: in agreement with previous studies, teachers, when provided with sound criteria, can come to reliable evaluations of their students' reading ability. Thus, an improved instrument, with evidence of reliability as well as content, internal and external validity, is offered to allow an indirect assessment of the reading ability of schoolchildren. This instrument can easily be adapted to other Portuguese-speaking countries.
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Revised version of the Scale of Evaluation
of Reading Competence by the Teacher:
final validation and standardization*
Versión revisada de la Escala de Evaluación de la Competencia
de Lectura por el Profesor: validación final y estandarización
Douglas de Araújo Vilhena*
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brasil
Ângela Maria Vieira Pinheiro**
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brasil
Received: June 16, 2015 | Accepted: October 10, 2016
*Doctoral Student in Psychology. E-mail:
douglasvilhena@gmail.com
**Full Professor. Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology,
University of Dundee, Scotland. E-
mail:pinheiroamva@gmail.com
ABSTRACT
The original version of the EACOL, a tool for teachers to assess silent
and aloud reading of Brazilian 2nd-to-5th-graders, was revised and the
resulting instrument was validated and normalized. Method: 72 teachers
were asked to answer the revised EACOL and a behavioral questionnaire;
452 pupils performed a test battery composed by seven reading tasks and
one general cognitive ability measure. Results: The revised EACOL
presented high reliability and moderate-to-strong correlations with all
reading variables; cluster analysis suggested three proficiency groups
(poor/not-so-good/good readers). Conclusion: in agreement with previous
studies, teachers, when provided with sound criteria, can come to reliable
evaluations of their students’ reading ability. Thus, an improved
instrument, with evidence of reliability as well as content, internal and
external validity, is offered to allow an indirect assessment of the reading
ability of schoolchildren. This instrument can easily be adapted to other
Portuguese-speaking countries.
Keywords
reading skills, reading assessment, child assessment, Portuguese language, teacher
scale.
RESUMEN
La versión original de EACOL es una herramienta para que los profesores
evalúen la lectura silenciosa y en voz alta de los estudiantes brasileños
del segundo al quinto año escolar, esta fue revisada, validada y
estandarizada. Método: 72 profesores respondieron la escala EACOL y
un cuestionario de comportamiento; 452 estudiantes respondieron siete
medidas de lectura y una de capacidad cognitiva general. Resultados:
la revisión de EACOL mostró una alta confiabilidad y correlaciones de
moderadas a fuertes con todas las variables de lectura. Análisis de clusters
sugirió tres grupos de competencia (lector de baja/media/ alta).
Conclusión: de acuerdo con estudios anteriores, los profesores pueden
hacer evaluaciones confiables de la capacidad de lectura de sus estudiantes,
cuando se proporciona criterios operacionales. De esta manera, se ofrece
un instrumento mejorado para evaluar indirectamente la lectura de niños,
con evidencias de fiabilidad interna y externa validez de contenido. Este
instrumento se puede adaptar fácilmente a otros países de lengua
portuguesa.
Palabras clave
| Universitas Psychologica | Colombia | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 | ISSN 1657-9267 |
Douglas de Araújo Vilhena, Ângela Maria Vieira Pinheiro.
| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
habilidades para la lectura, evaluación de lectura, evaluación de
niños, lengua portuguesa, escala de profesores.
How to cite: Vilhena, D.A., & Pinheiro, A.M.V.
(2016). Revised version of the Scale of
Evaluation of Reading Competence by the
Teacher: final validation and standardization.
Universitas Psychologica, 15 (4). http://dx.doi.o
rg/10.11144/Javeriana.upsy15-4.efvs
Introduction
According to the Literacy Initiative for
Empowerment (LIFE; United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
[UNESCO], 2007), education is a human right
and a public good that enables access to
information about health, the environment, the
world of work and, most importantly, how to
learn throughout life. This assertion is of
particular relevance in the Brazilian context as
only 56.1% of children are fully literate at 8 years
of age (Todos pela Educação, 2013) and 11% of
young people aged
1524 remain functionally illiterate (Instituto
Paulo Montenegro, 2011).
Given this situation, a proactive approach is
needed. Nothing justifies waiting for students to
fail, as the focus of literacy education should be
on the prevention of reading problems rather than
on remedial intervention. Early screening for
reading difficulties can be appropriately done by
elementary school teachers, who are undeniably
one of the most important sources of information
about their students. Snowling, Duff, Petrou,
Schiffeldrin, and Bailey (2011) asserted that
teachers evaluations of their students reading
skills, when criterion-referenced assessments are
made available, can be as good as those of
most formal tests. It is possible that with clear
criterion, the teachers’ judgments are less
influenced by factors beyond the school
performance itself, such as gender, social
behavior and socioeconomic characteristics
(Bennett, Gottesman, Rock, & Cerullo, 1993;
Soares, Fernandes, Ferraz, & Riani, 2010).
In Brazil, there is a lack of instruments with
validity and precision to guide teachers in an
initial categorization of the reading abilities of
their students. The development of the Scale of
Evaluation of Reading Competence by the
Teacher (in Portuguese, Escala de Avaliação da
Competência em Leitura pelo Professor, or
EACOL) (Pinheiro & Costa, 2015) is an initiative
to fill this gap. However, previous studies
identified issues indicating that the scale needed
revision (Lúcio & Pinheiro, 2013). In this
paper, we present the improvements in EACOL
in response to these issues, followed by validation
and standardization of the resulting final version
of the scale.
The EACOL
Pinheiro e Costa (2015) provided evidence of
content validity to EACOL by the judgment of
specialists of a set of descriptors of good, not- so-
good and poor Reading Aloud and Silent Reading
behaviors that could be recognized by the teacher.
Reading Aloud items measure speed and accuracy
in word recognition, prosody, and
comprehension; whereas Silent Reading items
measure comprehension and the capacity for
synthesis. After this procedure, two scales were
created: a) Form A, with 23 items for 2nd-graders
(in elementary school), who are at or near the
beginning of the literacy process, with an average
age of 7 years; and b) Form B: with 27 items for
students from 3rd to 5th grade, at the later stage
of literacy learning and also for readers already
literate, with an approximate age of 811 years.
The study of Pinheiro e Costa remained only in
the theoretical validation bases, as there was no
direct assessment of the students.
A first internal and external validation of the
EACOL´s Form B was carried out by Cogo-
Moreira, Ploubidis, Brandão de Ávila, Mari,
& Pinheiro (2012). Using the statistical Latent
Class Analysis method, the three types of readers
expected by the authors of the EACOL (good,
not-so-good, and poor readers) were found. Out
of 27 items of the Form B, only two items
showed an overlap Reads too slowly
Revised version of the Scale of Evaluation of Reading Competence by the Teacher: final validation and
standardization*
| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
or too quickly and Reads words correctly
suggesting that they required revision. The study
established a concurrent validation with word
naming tasks only, as text comprehension was
not evaluated. On the other hand, psychiatric
behaviors and non- verbal intelligence measures
provided evidence of discriminant validity.
In spite of the general good quality of the
instrument evidenced in Cogo-Moreira et al.
(2012) study, there was two points of concern
about it. The first refers to the number of items
actually filled by the teachers, and the second
to the awareness that the instrument could be
more attractive to the teachers if it were to be
shortened. Taking the first point, later scrutiny
of the data revealed that a significant number of
items had not been answered. It was reasoned,
then, that such a result could have been due
to the dichotomous nominal level of response
demanded by the instrument: “Yes” and “No”,
as in this case a teacher may be prone to waive an
answer if he or she is not pleased with either
alternative. Another problem with binary choice
is that the respondents tend to favor the positive
alternatives rather than the negative ones
(Emmerich, Enright, Rock, & Tucker, 1991).
Thus, in an attempt to obtain more control over
the answers given by teachers and to avoid the
problems associated with binary options, the
alternative “I do not know” was added as a third
option.
As for the second concern, in order to make the
instrument shorter, it was realized that the set of
items describing the not-so-good reader category
[e. g., Sometimes makes mistakes when (…), Not
always is able to identify (…), and Presents some
difficulty in (…)] could be excluded and that the
idea of a behavior that sometimes occurs and
sometimes does not would be replaced by the
option “sometimes”, which would be included
within the response alternative of the scale. In this
way, only the items requiring a “yes” or “no”
response that respectively describes the good and
the poor reader would be kept, which required
a further change not only in the structure of the
scale, but also in its scoring criterion.
Finally, again inspired by studies evaluating
the reliability of multiple-choice answers
(e.g., Verbic, 2012), we replaced the options
“Yes” and “No” with “True” and “False” to avoid
misinterpretation of items with negative
statements. For example, on the item Not always
able to identify the subject from the title and vice
versa, while a “Yes” answer indicates a poor
reader, a “No” answer indicates a good reader. In
such cases, the teacher may erroneously assign a
“Yes” to a good performance or a “No to a poor
performance, which would lead to an inaccurate
judgment of the child’s ability.
To summarize, in this revision, EACOL
underwent the following modifications: a)
replacement of “Yes” by “True” and “No” by
“False”; b) replacement of the binary option for
answers by four choices: “True”, “False”,
“Sometimes”, and “I do not know”; c) exclusion
of the set items about the not-so-good reader
due to the new response format; d) addition and
revision of other items; and e) identification and
selection of the best scoring criterion to the new
format of the scale. These modifications were
tested and evidence of validity and of reliability
were provided, as well as standardization of the
resulting revised version, being this the first
validation study for the Form A.
Method
Participants
To evaluate whether the teacher’s judgment is as
reliable as a direct reading assessment, the
cognitive functions of 2nd-to-5th-graders were
evaluated to provide evidence of concurrent
validity (see Table 1 for the pupils’
sociodemographic distribution). The sample (452
students and 72 teachers across
8 state schools) was tested from November
to December 2013. Only six students were
randomly selected in each classroom. The
institutions were arbitrarily chosen from a
document provided by the State Secretary of
Education, stratified over the districts in Belo
Horizonte city.
Schools, teachers, pupils and their guardians
signed an informed consent form for the
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research. The assessments were administered
during school hours, in a quiet room in the
institution. All participants provided informed
consent, and the Ethical Committee from the
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais approved
the study (Certificate of Appreciation
Presentation to Ethics [Certificado de
Apresentação para Apreciação Ética; CAAE]:
17754514.6.0000.5149).
Table 1
Items and scores of the EACOL Scale of
Evaluation of Reading Competence by the
Teacher
Form A (2nd grade) contains only the underlined
sentences and Form B (3rd-5th grade), both
sets: underlined and non-underlined sentences.
Each item is followed by the alternatives:
True, False, Sometimes, I do not know.
Source: own work
Instruments
The revised version of EACOL is composed of
two forms (A and B) that differ from its original
version in their number of items and in its
content. Form A consists of 15 items and Form B
of 21 items (against 23 and 27 items,
respectively, in the original version of the
instrument). In front of all items are the
alternative answers “True”, “False”,
“Sometimes”, and “I do not know”.
Child behavior was assessed by the Strengths
and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ), which
is a brief behavioral screening questionnaire for
416-year-olds (Goodman, 1997; Cury
& Golfeto, 2003; Saur & Loureiro, 2012). This
study used the single-sided Brazilian version,
with scoring for teachers (Goodman,
2005), composed by 25 items divided into
5 scales: emotional symptoms (anxiety/mood),
conduct problems (aggression/delinquency),
hyperactivity/inattention, peer relationship
problems (withdrawn/social problems), and
prosocial behavior (empathy/positive relations).
The Word Reading Task (WRT) and the
Pseudoword Reading Task (PWRT) are Reading
Aloud instruments each consisting of 88 words
and 88 pseudowords printed on an A4 page, font
Ariel size 14 (Pinheiro, 2013). The
psycholinguistic variables for the words were a)
frequency of occurrence (high vs. low), b)
bidirectional regularity (regular and irregular
words according to grapheme-to- phoneme
correspondence and vice versa), and c) length
(short, medium, and long words). The
pseudowords were constructed with the same
orthographic structures and stimulus length used
in the word task.
The Reading Test Sentence Comprehension
(Teste de Leitura Compreensão de Sentenças,
TELCS) was used to evaluate the silent reading
efficiency (Vilhena, Sucena, Castro, & Pinheiro,
2016). It consists of 36 incomplete and isolated
sentences, each followed by five words as
alternative fill-in-the-blank answers. The child’s
task is to select, in up to 5 minutes, the best word
to give meaning to each sentence.
Another instrument used to evaluate the silent
reading was the Text Reading Comprehension
subtest (PROLEC-text), which is part of the
PROLEC (Provas de Avaliação dos Processos
de Leitura [Reading Processes Assessment
Battery]; f or Capellini, Oliveira & Cuetos,
2012). It consists of four short texts to investigate
students’ ability to answer sixteen literal
questions.
General cognitive ability was measured using
Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices Test
(CPM) (Angelini, Alves, Custódio, Duarte, &
Revised version of the Scale of Evaluation of Reading Competence by the Teacher: final validation and
standardization*
| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
Duarte, 1999). It evaluates analogic reasoning,
or the ability to infer relations between objects
or elements (Pasquali, Wechsler, & Bensusan,
2002). It is used mainly for children between 5
and 11 years, and consists of 36 items divided
into three sets of 12 (A, Ab, B) arranged in inter-
and intrasets according to increasing difficulty.
The task is to select the best option to, fill-in the
gap, among six alternatives printed beneath.
Procedures
Each teacher was asked to answer, during a
period of one week, the EACOL and SDQ for six
students only. All instruments answered by
students were administrated on the same day,
in two sessions, each lasting on average 15
minutes. Whereas in the first session, groups of
up to 10 children were collectively submitted
to both TELCS and CPM, in the second, each
individual child was presented with the pair WRT
and PWRT (in random order), followed by the
PROLEC-Text.
To guarantee EACOL’s internal consistency,
two exclusion criteria were established to control
possible incongruence and/or unjudgeability on
a given scale: a) opposing items answered more
than twice, and b) presence of four or more items
not answered or “I do not know” responses. Either
of these criteria would led to the exclusion of that
scale from the sample.
The WRT and the PWRT tests were
administrated in sequence, but in a random order.
Participants were asked to read aloud each item
of each test card, starting from the first row
from to right. The reading time and errors were
registered by the applicator. On both instruments,
two measures were used: accuracy, which is the
total number of correctly read words or
pseudowords, and accuracy rate, which is the
total number of correct words or pseudowords
read per minute.
The TELCS was administered with a training
phase composed of four items, with the first two
answered collectively after being read aloud by
the researcher and the other two individually, via
silent reading. The remaining 36 items were also
read in silence by each child, however, as quick
as possible within a maximum of five minutes
and with no assistance granted. The scoring of the
test consisted of one point for each correct answer
and zero for the incorrect or omitted ones.
The PROLEC-Text’s stories were
administrated in a fixed order, after the following
statement: "I will display a small text for you to
read. Read it carefully because after you finish
I will ask you some questions about them". The
participant was asked to read each story, in
silence, without time limit, and to respond orally
to open questions (also made orally), immediately
after reading each text. No rereading was
allowed.
The CPM was individually administrated to
2nd year students and the collective form was
used for students from grades 3 to 5. It was
presented as a puzzle game: the first two items
were introduced collectively and explicitly, with
subsequent items answered without assistance.
There was no time limit. No child spent more than
12 minutes to complete the test.
Statistical analyses
All analyses were performed using IBM SPSS
Statistics version 21.0. Due to the diversity in
EACOL’s item structures, all data were
transformed to represent only a Likert-type scale
from negative to positive. A hypothetical-
deductive method using a Pearson bivariate
correlation with all the instruments was applied to
determine which was the best scoring criterion for
the alternatives of each item from the EACOL.
Four scoring hypotheses were tested: a) bad
reading: 0, not-so-good: 1, good: 2; b) bad
reading: 0, not-so-good: 2, good: 3; c) bad
reading: 0, not-so-good: 1, good: 3; d) bad
reading: 0, not-so-good: 0, good: 2. The answer
“I do not know” was assigned the same score as
those corresponding to the category “not-so-
good-readers”. Cronbach’s alphas were
calculated to estimate the reliability of EACOL’s
Forms A and B. A hypothetical-deductive
method can confirm if the removal of any item
can alter the alpha and the concurrent validity
correlations.
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| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
As EACOL evaluates reading competence as a
whole, dimension reduction by principal
component analysis (Carreira-Perpiñán, 1997)
was used to incorporate all four reading
instruments into a robust reading measure, from
here on called the General Reading Composite. A
reliability analysis indicated the use of the raw
scores from the PROLEC-text, TELCS, Word
Reading Task accuracy rate, and Pseudoword
Reading Task accuracy. This integration of
measures enables us to represent the child’s
reading performance with a single variable.
A two-step cluster analysis was used to verify
the number of mutually exclusive latent groups in
the sample. The only variables used were the
score for each item in EACOL. This method is
a scalable cluster analysis algorithm designed
to handle large data sets in two steps: 1) pre-
cluster the cases into many small sub-clusters;
2) cluster these sub-clusters into the desired
number of clusters. The log likelihood distance
measure was used, with subjects assigned to the
cluster leading to the largest likelihood. The
Bayesian information criterion (BIC) was
stabilished to compare the number of latent
classes, a comparison in which small values
correspond to better fit. Differences in the sample
were compared according to cluster membership
using a univariate Analysis of Variance
(ANOVA) test. For all tests performed, the
significance level was set at 0.05.
Results
Item revision
Due to the addition of the alternative
“Sometimes”, the following eight items,
descriptors of the not-so-good-readers, were
removed in both Form A and Form B: a)
Sometimes reads and cannot retell what was read
; b) Reads too slowly or too quickly ; c)
Sometimes makes mistakes when reading “new”
words ; d) Sets the tone of interrogation and/
or exclamation only in the word that precedes the
punctuation mark ; e) Slows the rhythm of
reading when “new” words are encountered,
needing to spell them out ; f) Not always able to
identify the subject from the title and vice versa
; g) Does identify characters and places, but has
some difficulty identifying main ideas without a
second reading ; and h) Has some difficulty in
orally summarizing what was read.
Within these, the item (b) Reads too slowly or
too quickly, was one of the two that showed poor
discrimination in Cogo-Moreira et al. (2012). The
other, Reads words correctly, was also removed
for being rather vague. Finally, the last excluded
item was a descriptor of a poor reader (Says “I
do not know” when encounters a new word),
since there is another item in the scale that deals
with reading of new words and to avoid confusion
with the new alternative answer “I do not know”.
In contrast to these 10 removed items, 5 others
were added (one in Form A and the remainder
in Form B). This was thought to be necessary to
increase the number of descriptors of the ability
of the readers and to maintain the power of the
scale. The descriptor of poor reading Reads with
difficulty “known” words was added to Form A.
The following items were added to Form B: a)
Reads clearly, without “stumbling” or
“swallowing” syllables. Someone who hears can
understand what is being read ; b) Has great
difficulty in Reading Aloud ; c) Reads without
pronouncing words or without moving the lips,
only moving the eyes ; and d) Cannot read without
movements of the lips or without pronouncing the
words.
Finally, the item Reads “new” and invented
words quickly was changed into Reads “new”
words correctly. The omission of “invented
words” was motivated by the fact that
pseudowords are rarely presented to students in
school. Equally, the alteration of quickly into
correctly, was motivated by the expectation that
although automatized reading of both known and
new words is the end point in literacy learning,
correct word reading, especially of new words, is
achieved before the gain of speed.
The original version of EACOL was
structurally divided into Reading Aloud and
Silent Reading subscales, but this separation did
not show to be justifiable in the current version
Revised version of the Scale of Evaluation of Reading Competence by the Teacher: final validation and
standardization*
| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
due to the reduction of items (although the items
were statistically analyzed individually). In
addition, in the Reading Aloud subscale there are
two items that evaluated reading comprehension
(e.g., Seems to have understood what was read
when asked about the text read), and in the Silent
Reading subscale there are eight items that
expressed behaviors that are not specific to the
condition of silent reading. Rather, these
behaviors can be assessed in either reading aloud
or silent condition (e.g., Does not identify
characters, places, or main ideas; Is able to
choose a title for passages with no title or even
give an alternate title for titled passages).
Validation
On the selection of the scores for EACOL, the
strongest correlations were with the first
hypothesis (the first scoring criterion). This was
the hypothesis under which predictors of poor
readers score zero, predictors of good readers
score two points, and both predictors of not-so-
good-readers (alternative “Sometimes”) and “I
do not know” score one point (see Appendix).
In Form A, the Cronbach’s Alpha suggested
that the removal of item 5 (Does not identify
characters, places, or main ideas) would increase
the alpha by 0.004. This suggestion was
confirmed by the consistent weak correlations
of item 5 (r # 0.244) with all reading measures.
Finally, the total score (sum of both subscales
minus the aforementioned item 5) has an alpha of
0.935, demonstrating the strong internal
consistency reliability of EACOL’s Form A. In
the further analysis of Form A, item 5 will not be
considered. The same internal validity test was
performed on Form B, that demonstrated a strong
Cronbach’s alpha (# = 0.958), with a loss in alpha
with the removal of any item.
For concurrent validity, to attest to what extent
the evaluations of teachers agree with the actual
performance of children, correlations were
calculated between the scores of EACOL and all
reading measures (see Table 2). Forms A and B
had correlation ranges with the reading measures
of 0.5440.737 and 0.4840.688, respectively.
Moderate correlations were found with the
General Reading Composite (r = 0.737 and
0.688). Unlike in Cogo-Moreira et al. (2012),
Form B was significantly correlated (p < 0.0001)
with CPM (r = 0.37) and with the total score of
the SDQ (r = -0.48). Form A also demonstrated
weak correlations (p < 0.0001) with CPM (r
= 0.26) and with all SDQ negative behaviors
subscales.
Table 2
Pearson correlation between EACOL, reading,
general cognitive ability, and behavior
TELCS: Reading Test Sentence Comprehension;
WRT: Word Reading Task; PWRT: Pseudoword
Reading Task; PROLEC-
text: PROLEC Text Comprehension subtest;
CPM: Coloured Progressive Matrices scores.
The four underlined variables combined
form the General Reading Composite.
Note. *p < 0.05 (2-tailed), ** p < 0.01 (2-tailed).
Source: own work
As expected, the two-step cluster analysis
suggested a good fit-model with the following
three classes for Form B: poor (n = 47), not-
so-good (n = 119), and good readers (n = 184). As
seen in Figure 1, a clear three-class group
Douglas de Araújo Vilhena, Ângela Maria Vieira Pinheiro.
| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
structure is therefore supported, considering both
empirical and theoretical elements, with an
estimated probability axis scale from 0 (reading
disability) to 2 (good reading ability), with no
item overlapped. An univariate Analysis of
Variance confirmed that all three groups
presented significant distinctions from one
another on EACOL Total Scores, F(2. 347) =
1312.7, MSE = 14.4, p < 0.00001. The cluster
analysis for EACOL’s Form A demonstrated the
distribution was found only in 4th (2.04) and
5th grades (2.03), thus showing a more uniform
layout of data than the 2nd and 3rd grades. These
statistical significances were confirmed using the
ShapiroWilk normality test.
Standardization
nd
same pattern as that for Form B, with no item Table 3 shows the norms for Forms A (2 grade)
overlap.
Figure 1
Two-step cluster analysis for all 21 items from
EACOL’s Form B.
Descriptive analysis
No answered scale was eliminated due to internal
inconsistency (opposing items answered more
than twice) or incapability/difficulty of judgment
by the teacher (four or more items answered as “I
do not know”). Although the alternative “I do not
know” was chosen in just 1% of the possible
cases, in 12% of the questionnaires there was at
least one answer for this category. Another 1% of
the scales returned with at least 1 item without
answer; these items were scored with the same
value as “I do not know”.
To verify the data distribution, skewness and
kurtosis values were divided by the respective
standard error, using a significance criterion of
higher than 1.96 (Cramer & Howitt, 2004). All
school grades demonstrated significant negative
skewness: 2nd (-3.18), 3rd (-3.43), 4th (-5.35), and
5th grades (-5.70). A significant platykurtic
Revised version of the Scale of Evaluation of Reading Competence by the Teacher: final validation and
standardization*
| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
and B (3rd5th) of the EACOL. The scores of the
4th and 5th grades did not differ numerically, and
so these groups were combined.
Table 3
Percentile norms and classification for raw
EACOL scores by school grade
Source: own work
Discussion
By assessing the EACOL in Brazil, the present
study provides information that can be of use
in developing an effective tool that is relevant
to education policymakers, teachers, principals,
parents, and pupils. Researchers, as external
advisers, can play a pivotal role as catalysts for
positive actions or informed reflections by these
educational stakeholders. We hope to stimulate
teachers to carry out systematic evaluations of
their students in elementary school, which, as the
evidence shows, is an important way to prevent
reading failure.
This final version of EACOL could be easily
adapted to other countries, especially those that
struggle with teaching Portuguese language, for
instance, those with low number of people aged
15 and over that can read and write: Guinea-
Bissau (55.3%), Mozambique (56.1%), East
Timor (58.3%), São Tomé and Príncipe (69.5%)
and Angola (70.4%) (Central Intelligence
Agency [CIA], 2014). In other
Douglas de Araújo Vilhena, Ângela Maria Vieira Pinheiro.
| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
nations of the Community of Portuguese-
Speaking Countries, where literacy is above
90%, EACOL can be useful to screen children
with risk of dyslexia; these places include
Portugal and Cape Verde.
The new format of the EACOL significantly
reduced the number of items in Form A (from
23 to 14) and Form B (from 27 to 21) without
losing its validity. This should make the scale
more attractive to the teacher, since it is now
shorter and faster to complete. Even with the new
modifications, however, particularly with the
addition of the answer “I do not know,” some
scales (although just 1%) were returned
incomplete, reinforcing the conception that this
problem may be due to some characteristic of the
sample itself and not a failure of the scale. One
theory is that the teachers in our sample prefer to
decline answering an item instead of admitting
that they do not know about some aspect of
their student’s reading performance. One way to
minimize such behavior could be to add to the
EACOL’s instructions the following statement
“Please always answer ‘I do not know’ in case of
doubt; do not answer randomly or leave an item
unanswered”.
For evidence of concurrent validity (external
validation), as EACOL incorporates items that
concern with accuracy in word recognition,
reading speed, prosody, comprehension and the
capacity for synthesis, the good correlations
found with the General Reading Composite (r
=0.737 and 0.688) can be considered the most
important result of the current study, attesting
that the teachers, when provided with sound
criteria, can come to reliable evaluations of their
students’ reading ability.
Unlike Cogo-Moreira et al. (2012), this study
found significant correlations between the
EACOL, the CPM, and the SDQ. Cogo-Moreira
et al. considered that the latter two measures
would provide to EACOL discriminant validity.
Although the CPM is sometimes referred to as
a non-verbal test, it requires language to process
the information, and thus is better defined as a
test of general cognitive ability. Hence, a small-
to-moderate positive correlation between the
reading ability of the child and the CPM score is
expected (Carver, 1990). Concerning the child’s
psychiatric characteristics, as assessed by the
SDQ, a small but significant negative correlation
is also expected. Maughan and Carroll (2006)
note that disruptive behaviors impede reading
progress and also the reverse: reading failure
exacerbates risk for behavior problems. Thus,
unlike Cogo-Moreira et al. (2012), we argue that
although the variables measured by CPM and
SDQ have distinct theoretical construct domains,
they are not independent from each other.
As the correlations of the EACOL with general
cognitive ability and psychiatric symptoms
ranged from small to moderate, it is important to
consider whether the teacher is taking these
domains into account in her/ his evaluations of
children’s reading. One way to do so is to
compare these correlations with those between
CPM and SDQ within the General Reading
Composite. First, as the correlations between the
CPM and the General Reading Composite were
smaller than those with the EACOL (0.09
reduction in the value of r), we might argue that
teachers can distinguish children’s general
cognitive ability on the basis of their reading
ability. On the other hand, the SDQ had a
bigger correlation with the EACOL than with the
General Reading Composite (an additional 0.12).
Although small, this correlation indicates that the
teacher takes the child’s behavior into
consideration in his or her judgment.
As the scale was not designed to address
children with excellent reading performance, an
increase in the number of children in the “good”
ability category occurred. This is demonstrated,
for example, by the significant negative skewness
distribution in all grades. On the other hand, given
the numerically wide range of scores, the EACOL
is an effective scale to screen for poor readers,
who should in any case be the first focus for early
educational interventions in schools. The strong
concordance between the reading task and the
EACOL of those with poor ability is in agreement
with the literature, which has shown that teachers
are more accurate in the assessment of poor
readers, identifying 89% of children with this
Revised version of the Scale of Evaluation of Reading Competence by the Teacher: final validation and
standardization*
| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
type of performance (e.g., Capellini, Tonelotto,
& Ciasca, 2004).
The EACOL was envisaged to offer the
teachers a set of valid criterion to evaluate their
pupils´ reading ability in response to the demand
of different researchers, as for instance, in the
case of those who specifically need a sample of
poor readers for an experimental study. However,
the scale can also have a practical use in the
school. It can be implemented as a means of
establishing a comparison between the judgment
of the teachers about their students’ reading
performance and their real achievement in the
formal evaluations carried out as part of the
curriculum. Any mismatch between the expected
and effective achievement could lead teachers
to develop a more accurate/realistic perception
about the reading ability of their students. It could
also alert the teachers about the aspects of their
students reading that should deserve more
attention.
Conclusion
Reading ability is one of the most important
competences in the modern world, essential to
educational, professional, and social
achievements. For this reason, it is of utmost
relevance to create and/or adapt scientific
validated instruments for early detection of poor
reading skills and risk of dyslexia. With this
purpose in mind, the EACOL was developed
to be a quick and efficient instrument to guide
educational stakeholders in assessing the
Reading Aloud (speed and accuracy in word
recognition, prosody and comprehension) and the
Silent Reading (text comprehension and
synthesis) of elementary-school children.
Furthermore, this instrument can be adapted to
other countries with Portuguese as the official
language or to other orthographies.
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Revised version of the Scale of Evaluation of Reading Competence by the Teacher: final validation and
standardization*
| Universitas Psychologica | V. 15 | No. 4 | Octubre-Diciembre | 2016 |
Appendix
Items and scoring rubric for the EACOL
(Scale of Evaluation of Reading
Competence by the Teacher)
Form A (2nd grade) contains only the
underlined sentences, while Form B (3rd
5th grade) contains both underlined and non-
underlined sentences. Each item is followed
by the possible responses: “True,” “False,”
“Sometimes,” and “I do not know.”
Notes
* Research article. This work was supported
by the Conselho Nacional de
Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico
(CNPq, grant No. 134357/2013-2), and had
no involvement in the study design;
collection, analysis and interpretation of
data; writing of the report; or decision to
submit the article for publication.
... I feel so blessed that I have had the best people in my life who make me feel understood without having to explain anything -thank you for loving, accepting, and supporting me always. In contemporary democratic societies, education is considered an essential and basic human right that empowers individuals through access to information about inter alia their health, social environment and working milieu, but, most importantly, how to continue learning throughout life (Vilhena & Pinheiro, 2016). Thus, an education system has a vital responsibility in ensuring that all learners are provided with the appropriate individualised support, aimed at facilitating the fulfilment of their potential (Ebersohnn & Eloff, 2006;Swart & Pettipher, 2011). ...
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Corretas: _____ Percentil: _____ 25. Nós fomos de carro até o parque, onde nos sentamos na grama para comer o nosso (lanche, plante, cheiro, rugido, ache). 26. Dentre todos os jogos, você prefere ping-pong, sinuca, dominó ou (portas, cartas, tortas, rins, fartas)? 27. O marido de uma filha é para a mãe dessa filha o (gênio, gentil, genro, generoso, general). 28. Aconteceu uma coisa engraçada a um pescador: ele pescou uma (lula, truta, carpa, sardinha, bota). 29. Nós fomos passear na praia e pegamos na areia algumas (tochas, conchas, colinas, manchas, colchas). 30. Todos saíram de casa para ver os estragos provocados pela (explosão, expansão, extinção, excursão, exceção). 31. As geladeiras evitam que a comida fique (enferrujada, estragada, desligada, resfriada, morta). 32. Já que está muito quente aqui, por que você não liga o (cobertor, colchão, ventilador, carregador, corredor)? 33. Quando andar na rua, é preciso ter muita atenção aos carros para não ser (enrolado, planejado, acabado, controlado, atropelado). 34. Eles combinaram de ir assistir à corrida no próximo domingo porquê gostam de ver os carros correrem na (pista, pasta, cesta, rota, blusa). 35. O mágico, ao pôr uma faca na palma da mão, nos deixou (contratados, sentados, entrevistados, assustados, devastados). 36. As pessoas gostam do que é novidade porque isso satisfaz a sua (curiosidade, dignidade, honestidade, vaidade, justiça). 1. A menina vestiu uma (rosa, pipa, roda, rua, roupa). 2. A estação fica no meio da (unidade, metade, cidade, grande, onde). 3. Todos os cachorros têm quatro (olhos, balas, pipas, patas, dedos). 4. Ele inclinou-se sobre o poço e caiu no (fundo, segundo, funil, futuro, furado).
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