The cognitive basis of reading comprehension in primary school children

This PhD, commenced in March 2017, is undertaken by Joanne Kiniry.

Title: The Cognitive Basis of Reading Comprehension in Children at the End of Primary School.

Overview: This PhD examines the cognitive skill of inference, a vital component of skilled reading comprehension, using data collected as part of the National Assessment in Ireland. The PhD seeks to contribute both to knowledge of how inference is used by children to understand written text, as well as to examine the practicality and usefulness of measuring the cognitive skills of reading using large-scale assessment. The research consists of several studies based on data collected during the 2014 National Assessment and the field trial of the 2020 National Assessment, and focuses on inference during reading comprehension.

The initial study examined the feasibility of applying a cognitive model of reading comprehension to an existing large scale assessment of reading comprehension (National Assessment 2014). Subsequent studies focus on the development of assessment items to measure different types of inference through large scale assessment. The studies also consider the role of background knowledge and engagement in inference skill during assessment.

Supervisors:  Professor Paul van den Broek, Department of Education and Child Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands and Professor Maartje Raijmakers, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.