Multiple Intelligence Assessments give Insight into Reading Comprehension Difficulties and Potential: A Case Study

By Diana Epelbaum.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This action research sets out to integrate the study of effective assessment procedures and Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences. Research on Multiple Intelligences has challenged the conception that each student has one way in which she learns best, and instead contends that every student learns best when all her intelligences are engaged. While I agreed with this latter assertion, I wondered whether testing students' reading comprehension with assessments based on their strongest intelligences would be a clearer measure of comprehension difficulty than a more formal assessment would be. Methodology included observing a case study, ESL student in her regular classroom, and establishing a researcher-student relationship through private tutoring. Multiple Intelligence Inventory was given in order to identify the student's two strongest intelligences. The reading comprehension passages were Qualitative Reading Inventories (QRIs). One formal, and two intelligence-tailored comprehension assessments were administered to determine the student's independent reading levels. Results showed that I had indeed gained a deeper understanding of these student's reading comprehension difficulties, and, as an unexpected benefit, also gleaned insight into her highest independent reading level potential. It is clear that almost all reading/writing formal assessments are geared exclusively towards linguistic intelligences. However, students can be taught to proactively approach even these exams with strategies that fully embody their personal strengths. This is an implication of the study. This paper includes data collection samples, Levels 1-6 QRI passages and comprehension questions, and custom-developed interpersonal and spatial assessments, as well as proposals for intrapersonal, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, naturalist, and logical-mathematical assessments.

Keywords: Multiple Intelligences, Assessment, Reading Comprehension, Qualitative Reading Inventory, Data Collection Samples, Independent Reading Level, ESL, Students with Disabilities

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp.243-252. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 574.622KB).

Diana Epelbaum

Teacher, New York City Department of Education, Hoboken, NJ, USA

Diana Epelbaum is currently a high school English teacher in Brooklyn, New York.

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