Volume 32, Issue 2 (2003)
Characteristics of Word Callers: An Investigation of the Accuracy of Teachers' Judgments of Reading Comprehension and Oral Reading Skills
Chad Hamilton, Mark R. Shinn
Abstract. Despite a body of evidence that curriculum-based measurement of reading(R-CBM) is a valid measure of general reading achievement, some school-based professionals remain unconvinced. At the core of their argument is their experience with word callers, students who purportedly can read fluently, but do not understand what they read. No studies have been conduced to determine if teachers’ perceptions about these word callers are accurate. This study examined the oral reading and comprehension skills of teacher-identified word callers to test whether they read fluently,but lacked comprehension. Two groups of third graders (N = 66) were examined: (a)teacher-identified word callers (n = 33) and (b) similarly fluent peers (n = 33) who were judged by their teachers to read as fluently as the word caller but who showed comprehension. They were compared on R-CBM, CBM-Maze (an oral question-answering test), and the Passage Comprehension subtest of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test. Results disconfirmed that word callers and their similarly fluent peers read aloud equally well. Word callers read fewer correct words per minute and earned significantly lower scores on the three comprehension measures. Teachers were not accurate in their predictions of either group’s actual reading scores on all measures,but were most inaccurate in their prediction of word callers’ oral reading scores.Implications for addressing resistance in using CBM as a measure of general reading achievement are discussed.
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