Assessing reading and online research comprehension: Do difficulties in attention and executive function matter?

Laura Kanniainen, Carita Kiili, Asko Tolvanen, Mikko Aro, Øistein Anmarkrud, Paavo Leppänen

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Abstract

This study evaluated the relation between sixth graders' (N = 426) teacher-rated difficulties in attention and executive function (EF) and their comprehension skills. Reading comprehension was assessed with a multiple-choice task and online research and comprehension (ORC) with a problem-solving task. The analyses were controlled for gender, reading fluency and nonverbal reasoning. To investigate differences in students' performance between the tasks, comprehension skills in the multiple-choice task were also controlled for in the ORC task. Structural equation models showed that teacher-rated attention and EF difficulties were related to students' performance more in the problem-solving task than in the multiple-choice task. After controlling for all the background variables, these difficulties explained 9% of the variance of ORC performance in girls and 4% in boys. These results indicate that for students with attention and EF difficulties the ORC task was more challenging than the reading comprehension task.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 101985
JournalLEARNING AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES
Volume87
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Online research and comprehension
  • Attention difficulties
  • Digital literacy
  • Reading comprehension
  • executive function training

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

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