Is the author recognition test a useful metric for native and non-native english speakers? An item response theory analysis Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AbstractStudies of reading have shown the “Matthew effect” of exposure to print on reading skill: poor readers avoid reading, and ability develops more slowly compared to peers, while good readers improve more quickly through increased exposure. Yet it is difficult to determine just how much an individual reads. The Author Recognition Test (ART, Stanovich & West Reading Research Quarterly, 24(4), 402-433, 1989) and its multilingual adaptations are often used for quantifying exposure to print and have shown high validity and reliability in proficient readers in their dominant language (L1). When studying bilingualism and second language acquisition, it is ideal to have a single test which is equally reliable for all cohorts for comparison, but it is unclear whether ART is effective for speakers of English as foreign language (L2). This study assesses the reliability of ART in an English-medium university and college students with different language backgrounds. Following Moore and Gordon (Behavior Research Methods, 47(4), 1095-1109, 2015), we use item response theory (IRT) to determine how informative the test and its items are. Results showed an expected gradient in ART performance, with L1 speakers showing higher scores than L2 speakers of English, university students showing higher scores than college students, and both cohorts performing better than students in an English as a second language (ESL) university pre-admission program. IRT analyses further revealed that ART is not an informative measure for L2 speakers of English, as most L2 participants show a floor effect. Reasons for this unreliability are discussed, as are alternative measures of print exposure.

publication date

  • April 5, 2021