Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Nickola W. Nelson

Second Advisor

Dr. Kieran Fogarty

Third Advisor

Mrs. Adelia Van Meter

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


This descriptive research study was designed to answer questions about the effects of presentation modality (listening, reading, or bimodal) on a language comprehension measure at four grade levels. One hundred and eighty-seven students participated in the study. Students were from the 2nd , 4th , 6th and 9th grades in an urban or rural school district in Southwestern Michigan. Students were identified also by gender (male or female), race (white or non-white), and socioeconomic status (SES) based on qualification for free or reduced lunch. Testing was completed in a whole class environment. Each student was given three subtests (Listening-Only, Reading-Only, Listening-plus-Reading); each subtest had five separate text passages, with four yes-nomaybe questions following each passage. The student responses were marked correct or incorrect, with a total possible score of 60 points.

Comprehension differed significantly by grade level, with post hoc tests showing differences between all grades except between 6th and 9th grade. A modality effect was found, with bimodal presentation significantly higher than either listening or reading alone at each grade level. An interaction effect also appeared, based on 2nd and 4th graders showing significantly higher listening than reading scores, but 6th and 9th graders showing higher reading than listening scores (although not significantly so). Significant differences were not found based on whether students were from urban or rural school districts, male or female, white or non-white. Students of low SES, however, performed significantly lower on all subtests than their peers.

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