Friday, September 30, 2016

The Correlation Between Students’ Reading Speed and Students’ Reading Comprehension


In this study the researcher studied whether or not there was a correlation between an individual’s reading speed and their reading comprehension. The paper was written for a thesis at a University in Indonesia where students study English as a second language. With this study, the author sought to better gauge how students were progressing in their language skills.

The author reviewed his University’s English program and identified the types of reading skills students were being taught. Skimming and scanning reading skills were heavily emphasized as important to language comprehension and fluency. The author states in the beginning of the paper the importance of speed reading in the development of language skills because of the increased ability to consume more information and language familiarity in a shorter amount of time.


The author tested 24 students in their fourth semester in the University’s English department. All participants in the study had completed two of the schools English reading courses. The participants were all asked to read a paper and take a comprehension test following. Reading speed was tracked by setting time limits on the readings and tracking how many words a participant was able to read.

After the tests, the author then compared individual participants’ reading speeds with their scores. The author tested the distribution of the test scores and reading scores to see if it was within normal range or if a significant correlation existed. The results were corrected for potential errors and tested to see if the relationship held statistical significance.


The author found from the study that the scores and reading speed of the students fit a normal distribution and relationships between an individual participant’s reading speed was not significantly correlated with their reading comprehension.


The sample size that the author used was very small and the method of testing was limited in its capability in providing accurate results.  The author should have created a better way to measure reading speed as the method used cannot provide enough accuracy as it is not fully verifiable. The results however are somewhat interesting in that if reading speed and comprehension are not correlated (whether positively or negatively) then this could imply that readers could reasonably increase their reading speed and therefore their ability to consume more information in a shorter span of time without significant loss in comprehension. However the results of the testing is significantly limited as none of the participants were being tested in their primary language.

Datunsolang A. (2014) The correlation between students’ reading speed and students’ reading comprehension (Thesis). State University of Gorontalo, Gorontalo, Indonesia. Retrieved from:
Friday, September 30, 2016
Test Taking Speed: Predictors and Implications


This journal article uses a quantitative test taking approach to understanding the key connections between giving students extended time on reading comprehension based time tests. The researchers had 253 students complete measures for processing speed, reading fluency, and self-reporting of their abilities in test taking and reading of a standardized pencil based reading comprehension test.

  1. The researchers initial quest was to identify whether students needed extra time on standardized reading comprehensive tests, and whether extended time students were those with learning disabilities like ADHD. The extended time students are often times prescribed by diagnosticians, education professionals, and counselors due to an inability to complete a comprehensive reading test in 20 minutes like the Nelson Denny Reading Test (NDRT). 
  1. Beginning the experiment, the researchers collected their observables of 253 undergraduates at one medium-sized public college, and one large private university. The observables included 124 freshmen, 109 sophomores, and 20 other upper classmen, which had a racial distribution of 75% white, 9% Asian, 8% Hispanic, and 8% African American. Of which 24% of the total observables (i.e. students) self reported having a disability diagnosis of ADHD or other psychological disorder at one point in their lives.
  1. For the standardized test, the researchers used the NDRT, Form G, as the proxy timed academic test. Though they never timed the observables, but solely told them to complete the test as quickly and accurately possible. The usual testing time for this test is 20 minutes. At the outset of the test they took a “Reading Rate” score, which involved students reading the first minute worth of the first passage, and noting it on the test so it could be listed for the comprehension score. 
  1. For conclusive results of the study, it found that the average student took 17.6 minutes to complete the NDRT comprehension measure test. While 22% of the observables failed to complete the NDRT in less than 20 minutes. Of that 22% of observables, 78% had not reported any disability condition before the test. The researchers also found that processing speed was related to reading fluency, but processing speed only had a slight positive relationship to comprehension performance. In reference to the “Reading Rate” score, the researchers found that it did not correlate to the reading comprehension score. Yet, it did not correlate to the time it took to complete the test, with those that read faster completing usually under the 20 minute mark.
In conclusion, the researchers noted that reading comprehension is a need in all tests, classroom environments, and high stake settings. Of note from the study was that more than 20% of the observables failed to complete the NDRT in 20 minutes, but most of them had no disability. Thus proving an over reliance of diagnosticians to base a disability on timed tests solely for student performance. This could be due to other factors such as the answer sheet being separate from a test booklet or an individual’s test taking style influencing the failure in performance. While in reference to accuracy with comprehension it was mostly due to an individual’s knowledge base and intelligence in identifying words and lexicons properly. While for speed it was mostly due to individual personality characteristics. One of the biggest things found by the researchers was that regardless of completion times those that performed under the 20 minutes, and those that went over 20 minutes, both had even scores across the board. Thus allowing the researchers to note that more time on a test doesn’t necessarily produce better results.

This study does not really influence forecasting, it more so puts pressure on speed-reading in a time-constrained environment (the test in this case was not timed). In its application to forecasting, it proves that speed-reading is merely a modifier. A modifier that can be useful if a given person has the right speed and accuracy to execute the actions of his duties as noted in the “So Much to Read, So Little Time; How Do We Read, and Can Speed Reading Help” post on the Advanced Analytic Techniques blog by Roland Blatnik. Also the study shows that diagnosis of disabilities cannot be solely based on a test, otherwise it sets a false forecasting for one’s own individual future due to the stigma it can bring in society. The authors also rightfully state the limitations of the study of the test not being officially timed; not accounting for variables that may influence a student’s performance (i.e. personality and test-taking traits); or involving any true variable manipulation. All of which can be accounted for in a later test to increase the robustness of the already established study. Personally, I think if they took this timed test and changed it into a time based scenario it would prove interesting, particularly in a business model. A model where large passages of information are provided and a decision must be reached within the timed limit that weighs both profits and consequences to test reading comprehension with decision-making. This could then ultimately be used to assess capabilities of forecasting in this modern information age we live in.


Lovett, B. J., Lewandowski, L. J., & Potts, H. E. (2016). Test-Taking Speed Predictors      and Implications. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment,             0734282916639462.             <     f>.

Rayner, K., Schotter, E. R., Masson, M. E., Potter, M. C., & Treiman, R. (2016). So Much           to Read, So Little Time How Do We Read, and Can Speed Reading Help?. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 17(1), 4-34.                                                    <>.

Friday, September 30, 2016
So Much to Read, So Little Time;
How Do We Read, and Can Speed Reading Help


This journal article uses a qualitative approach to understanding the key connections between eye functions and its application to speed-reading. It also assessed whether comprehension and accuracy is retained when speed-reading, or if comprehension and accuracy decreased due to speed-reading. The article notes that the average adult human and collegiate student reads between 200 to 400 words per minute.

  1. The methodological framework used in this study is a mixture of informative, qualitative, and historical case studies presenting that speed-reading does not aid in comprehension or accuracy. However, it found that skim reading in some cases could be useful. The first third of the paper goes over the mechanics of the eye and how it allows humans to successfully read from the foveal viewing area; to the rods and cones and there importance when it comes to light and brightness; to finally the retina transferring information to the brain.

  1. The researchers then went into the fact that no two humans are the same when it comes to reading, and that fast readers tend to have shorter fixations, longer saccades, and fewer regressions when compared to slow readers. Shorter fixations refer to time spent on the foveal viewing area. Saccades are the movement of the foveal viewing area to the next word the reader wishes to identify and process. These combined with reduced regressions, which are return sweeps to areas already read for validating comprehension, increases a reader’s speed. Yet, the most important factor researchers found that separates slow readers from fast readers when it comes to reading speed is the ability to identify words, which progresses into comprehension and furthering everything stated above.

  1.  In the last third of the qualitative study, the researchers covered RSVP and speed-reading programs and their popularity and growth since Evelyn Wood’s Reading Dynamics program in 1959. Regarding the speed reading programs, they advocated toward using peripheral vision to increase the number of words read in one fixation; zigzagging down and up pages when reading; and suppressing the inner voice when reading silently. The RSVP or “rapid serial visual presentation” is a technology that rapidly goes through words to test a users means of recall and can be done at sentence levels and paragraph levels as well. The downfall is that the evaluated reader only has one go at the word, sentence, or paragraph and must recall all that was presented without being able to regress back into the text. The ultimate evaluation found was that words were easier to recall as long as ambiguity was not present between words, like “meat” and “meet.” All of which the case studies in the journal, showed to prove deficiencies when the RSVP was used when it came to accuracy and comprehension. In regards to trying, to cancel out the silent voice when reading, it disrupts the reader’s eye movement and capabilities to comprehend and recall accurately as well.

Concluding it all the researchers in their Skim Reading section and Conclusion proved that some people could read faster than others, due to previous knowledge of the subject matter, and being able to make inferences before hand that would lead to accurate answers. Yet, if a slow reader and skimmer/speed reader were given a topic that was unknown to either party the speed-reader was found to be less accurate. Thus, the researchers concluded that there is no way to increase reading speed without sacrificing comprehension and accuracy. However, in some cases where time is limited and one already has a depth of knowledge in the subject the sacrifice of comprehension through skimming is useful. Since most readers at their normal rate read between 200 to 400 words per minute, it is identified that this speed is good enough for most objectives humans seek to complete.

The usage of speed-reading is a good modifier only if one has an understanding of the topic matter he is reading, and the topic is situated in the objectified goal. If the topic is brand knew and the reader knows nothing about the topic then speed-reading or skimming will not work if comprehension and accuracy is the goal to a successful evaluation or hypothesis. Though the study was qualitative and informative, it put forth a plethora of case studies done in the past that evaluated speed-reading, and its correlation to comprehension and accuracy. Out of briefness, the examples are excluded due to the vast number of them used throughout the journals study. The importance here to forecasting is that specialization is the key to successful speed reading and comprehension, but it will limit the extent one, or a group, can make on a decision if none have known knowledge of the area being asked to evaluate. The personal evaluation is that if one is pressed for time they can risk speed-reading while risking comprehension and accuracy, for the same outcome will arrive if one does not have the time to read normally through everything properly.


Rayner, K., Schotter, E. R., Masson, M. E., Potter, M. C., & Treiman, R. (2016). So Much           to Read, So Little Time How Do We Read, and Can Speed Reading Help?. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 17(1), 4-34.                                                    <>.