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The validity and reliability of short German sentences for measuring reading speed

  • Wolfgang Radner
  • Wilfried Obermayer
  • Sibylla Richter-Mueksch
  • Ulrike Willinger
  • Michaela Velikay-Parel
  • Brigitte Eisenwort
Clinical Investigation

Abstract.

Purpose: To investigate whether short German sentences that have been developed to be highly comparable in number and length of words, as well as in difficulty and construction, are reliable and valid test items for measuring reading speed in order to use them for measuring simultaneously reading acuity and speed with the "Radner Reading Charts". Methods: Tests were performed in 198 persons: 99 university students (average age 23.6±2.8 years) and blue-collar apprentices (average age 18.4±2.5 years). Reading speed and the number of errors were determined first with 24 sentences for our recently developed German reading charts (14 words equal in difficulty, length and construction) and secondly with long paragraphs of the "Zuercher Reading Test" (ZRT; paragraphs 3–5, 261 words). Results: The overall mean reading speed obtained with short sentences was 209.6±41.0 words per minute (wpm), compared with 169.2±35.0 wpm for the ZRT (P<0.001). The correlation between the short sentences and the ZRT was high (r=0.9). Students read faster and made fewer errors than did the apprentices. Reliability analyses yielded an overall Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.98. The coefficient of selectivity of the 24 sentences (test items) varied from 0.75 to 0.88. Conclusion: The present study indicates that the 24 short single sentences we have tested are highly comparable in terms of both lexical difficulty and reading length, and it has demonstrated the validity and reliability of such sentences as test items for determining reading speed.

Keywords

Test Item Relative Clause Reading Speed Short Sentence Print Size 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Radner
    • 1
  • Wilfried Obermayer
    • 1
  • Sibylla Richter-Mueksch
    • 1
  • Ulrike Willinger
    • 2
  • Michaela Velikay-Parel
    • 1
  • Brigitte Eisenwort
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology, University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18–20, 1090 Vienna, AustriaAustria
  2. 2.University Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Department of Phoniatry–Logopedics, University of Vienna, Vienna, AustriaAustria
  3. 3.Institute of Medical Psychology, University of Vienna, Vienna, AustriaAustria

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