Other Active Studies

Cognitive and Neural Processes in Reading Comprehension

Researchers have established the importance of single word reading to reading comprehension. However, there is a significant number of children (approximately 3%), predominantly ten years of age and older, who are poor comprehenders, but nevertheless attain scores within the normal range on conventional measures of single word reading, which typically measure accuracy only. We will examine potential sources of poor reading comprehension among children and adolescents by studying subjects with poor single word reading, subjects with poor reading comprehension despite normal scores on tests of single word reading, and controls with typically developing reading skills. We will integrate functional neuroimaging data that examines group differences in activation during single word reading, phonological awareness and sentences reading comprehension, with behavioral measures of naming fluency, language skills (i.e., vocabulary), executive function (i.e., planning, organizing, and self-monitoring), single word reading, phonological skills, and passage reading comprehension.

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Cognitive and Neural Processes in Reading Comprehension, Adult Supplement

This project is a supplement to the previous study; it targets potential sources of poor reading comprehension in young adults (18- to 24-year-olds), in order to compare them to those in children.

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Neurobiological Sex Differences in Cognition: Applications to Learning and Education

It has been well documented in the scientific literature that differences exist between men and women when performing various verbal and visuospatial tasks. We will investigate whether children, when compared with adults, exhibit similar sex differences in basic visuospatial and language processing. Furthermore, we would like to examine whether these differences exist during more complex language and visuospatial processing, as well as whether this extends to and/or impacts learning of novel stimuli. An important area of interest will be to assess whether these differences are already apparent in very young children or whether the differences develop over time and become more distinct with increasing age. We hypothesize that sex differences in the profile of cognitive strengths may have an impact on which learning strategies will be most effective in different children.

Adolescent Reading Programs: Behavioral and Neural Effects

This project seeks to understand more about the cognitive characteristics and brain activation patterns of adolescents with reading disabilities. It will provide three kinds of reading intervention, comparing the effectiveness for improving reading with different cognitive and neurobiological profiles. Additionally, this project will investigate what kinds of changes in brain organization and cognitive skills accompany improvements in reading and under what conditions these changes occur. This study is being conducted in the Kennedy Krieger Schools, Prince George’s County Public Schools, and the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Designing Accessible Reading Assessments (DARA)

The DARA project is one of three projects funded as part of the National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects (NARAP). Based at ETS, DARA is affiliated with the Partners for Accessible Reading Assessment (PARA) and the Technology Assisted Reading Assessment (TARA) projects. PARA is a consortium of the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), and Westat. The TARA project, also based at ETS, included partnerships with NCEO and the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). Currently each NARAP project is working on a program of research to support the design and development of an accessible diagnostic reading assessment for students with reading-based disabilities. Their goal is to develop formats for assessing reading proficiency that meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. The DARA project has a particular focus on students with learning disabilities that impact reading and has undertaken a program of research that includes experimental design, psychometric analysis of operational test data, and more qualitative procedures such as focus groups and think aloud studies.

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