Brown bag seminar: Can Matthew effects in reading ever be empirically established?
Welcome to CEMO's weekly Brown Bag seminars in methodology. This week's seminar carries the title Can Matthew effects in reading ever be empirically established?, and will be given by Professor Athanasios Protopapas from Department of Special Needs Education.
The concept of Matthew effects in reading development refers to a longitudinally widening gap between high achievers and low achievers. This is a very attractive concept, highlighting the need to track performance development across tasks and ages, with important educational implications regarding targets for screening and intervention. Various statistical approaches have been proposed to examine this idea. However, little attention has been paid to psychometric issues of scaling. Specifically, interval-level data are required to compare performance differences across performance ranges, but only ordinal-level data are available with current literacy measures. In this presentation I will use data from a longitudinal study of literacy development to demonstrate the interpretability problems of contrasting growth slopes. I will explore the possibility of comparing across ages, matched for performance, and the possibility of temporal lag estimates. I will consider the consequences of nonlinear growth and the far-reaching implications of individual differences in developmental progression. In conclusion I will propose that, although conceptually appealing, the widening gap prediction is not empirically testable.
The seminar is open to everybody. Participants bring along their lunch, listen to the presentation, discuss scientific topics, give feedback, and socialize.