Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Susan Brady

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between reading performance and reading self-concept for a sample of fifth-grade students attending schools with higher and lower socio-economic status (SES). Fifth-grade students (N=102) from one higher and two lower SES schools were assessed on five different measures: three standardized reading measures including word recognition, decoding, and passage comprehension tasks, one standardized receptive vocabulary test, and one reading selfconcept scale. Results showed significant differences between groups on the word recognition, passage comprehension, and vocabulary knowledge measures, with students of the higher SES cohort performing better on these measures than did the lower SES group. No significant differences were found between groups on the decoding measure. Notably, despite contrast in overall language and literacy performances, there was not a significant difference between the SES groups on reading self-concept ratings. Nonetheless, reading performance was the biggest predictor of reading self-concept, although SES was found to be a modest predictor when the other variables were controlled. These results suggest that reading self-concept is a comparison variable influenced more by peer group comparisons than by SES itself.

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