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G. Sampson, T. Fricke, A. Metha, N.A. McBrien; A Comparison of IQ, Visual Motor and Language Tests as Predictors of Academic Performance in Primary School Children with Learning Difficulties . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):1928.
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Purpose: To compare the ability of three clinical assessment tools to predict performance on established reading, spelling and maths tests in a specific population of sub-optimally learning primary school children. Methods: 40 children from grades one and two were selected on the basis of three criteria: literacy performance in the lower third of the class (by teacher assessment), visual analysis skills (Test of Visual Analysis Skills) below the 33rd percentile for grade, and criterion referenced phonological processing skills (Test of Auditory Analysis Skills) within 6 months of incremental grade level. The objective was to isolate a cohort of children who exhibited concurrent learning difficulties and a relative deficit in development of visual (compared with auditory) processing skills. The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT), Test of Visual-Motor Integration (VMI) and the rapid automatic naming (RAN) sub-test of the Developmental Eye Movement Test (DEM) were administered to each child. These respectively measure IQ, visual perceptual-motor skills and automaticity of transferring visual symbols to verbal language. Academic skills were examined using the Reading Progress Test (RPT), the South Australian Spelling Test (SAST) and I Can Do Maths (ICDM). Results: Linear regression modelling indicated significant association between rapid automatic naming and reading (p < 0.05) and between IQ and spelling (p < 0.05). The relationship between IQ and reading was at the level p = 0.06. Stepwise regression showed that RAN and IQ, in association, predicted outcome on the Reading Progress Test (R2 = 0.23, p = 0.01). None of the three independent variables was significantly associated with maths performance, and the VMI did not relate significantly to any of the three academic tests. Conclusions: The Test of Visual Motor Integration has been previously shown to significantly predict academic performance in early primary school. In this study, where a specific cohort of children experiencing learning difficulties was selected on the basis of relatively deficient visual processing skills, IQ and RAN were better predictors of reading and spelling performance than the VMI. This finding supports the concept of a multi-modal base to the development of literacy skills.
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