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JAOA/AACOM Medical Education  |   March 2019
Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores as a Predictor of Student Success in Osteopathic Medical Education
Author Notes
  • From the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg. 
  • Financial Disclosures: None reported. 
  • Support: Support for this project was provided by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Education Research Grant Program. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Machelle Linsenmeyer, EdD, Associate Dean for Assessment and Educational Development, Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, 400 Lee St N, Lewisburg, WV 24910-1274. Email: alinsenmeyer@osteo.wvsom.edu
     
Article Information
Medical Education / Medical School Admissions
JAOA/AACOM Medical Education   |   March 2019
Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores as a Predictor of Student Success in Osteopathic Medical Education
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2019, Vol. 119, 189-197. doi:https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2019.030
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2019, Vol. 119, 189-197. doi:https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2019.030
Abstract

Background: Reading skills are crucial in medical school, where students are expected to absorb an onslaught of new and complex material. Studies on reading assessment in osteopathic medical education are lacking.

Objective: To address gaps in the literature related to reading assessment and to investigate the correlation of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test with various performance indicators in osteopathic medical education.

Methods: The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine administered the Nelson-Denny Reading Test to first- and second-year students between 2015 and 2017. Raw scores were translated into the percentile rank, scale score, grade equivalent score, and stanine score based on guidelines supplied with the Nelson-Denny Reading Test. These translated scores were compared with Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores, first- and second-year performance on course examinations, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) Level 1 scores, and scores provided in a 2002 study by Haught and Walls.

Results: A total of 623 students took the first-year Nelson-Denny Reading Test, and 408 took both the first- and second-year Nelson-Denny Reading Test. Findings showed a large correlation between the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the verbal reasoning section (r=0.56 for the class of 2020 and 0.46 for the class of 2021) of the old MCAT (before 2015) and the reasoning skills section (r=0.42 for the class of 2020 and 0.49 for the class of 2021) of the new MCAT (released in 2015). There were no correlations with first- and second-year course examination scores or COMLEX-USA Level 1 scores. The Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores reported by Haught and Walls for medical students and health professional students were slightly higher than those found for osteopathic medical students in this study.

Conclusion: The reasoning skills section of the new MCAT could serve as a good proxy for a reading test. There were no correlations between the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and performance in the first 2 years of medical school or COMLEX-USA Level 1 performance. Further research can strengthen the findings and determine whether correlations exist with clinical performance.

Medical education requires competent learners who can read and comprehend a large amount of complex material in a short amount of time. Medical school texts are particularly difficult to comprehend because they introduce new vocabulary, new concepts, and complex tables, graphs, charts, and images. At one medical school, Klatt and Klatt1 determined that students would need to devote 6 hours per day 5 to 7 days (28 to 41 hours) per week reading to make one pass through all the material assigned at their school. One pass (even at 150 words per minute [wpm]) would not get students to a level of comprehension. In the same study,1 only 17% of first- through fourth-year medical students read at a rate of 150 wpm (level 1, memorizing for recall and recitation, a standard reading level as reported by Carver in 19922). Other students had lower levels of 50 wpm and 100 wpm.1 These reported reading rates correspond to claims by Taylor,3 who calculated that second-year US medical students read an average of only 6 pages per hour (50 wpm), and Friedberg et al,4 who found that second-year medical students read an average of 8 pages per hour (67 wpm). 
In addition to reading, admissions data have been important for determining success in medical school. One of the classic tools used to predict success in medical school is the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Studies have shown that MCAT scores can be strong predictors of United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 performance and that academic difficulty in medical school increased in relation to decreased MCAT scores.5,6 In particular, evidence suggests that the verbal reasoning section of the old MCAT (before 2015) was the section most predictive of clinical performance in clerkships and residency7-10 and that low verbal reasoning scores accounted for 11% of students who had difficulties learning the assigned content.5 
The Nelson-Denny Reading test is a standardized tool for assessing elements of reading. In a 2002 study, Haught and Walls11 established “new norms” on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test for health care students and professionals (medical, dental, and physical therapy students and medical interns) because they scored higher than non–health care college graduates. In 2004, they compared scores on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test with scores on the MCAT and the USMLE Step 1 and found that the Nelson-Denny Reading Test score positively correlated to the old MCAT verbal reasoning score and the USMLE Step 1 score.12 In a 2005 study, Julian5 found that MCAT scores were strong predictors of USMLE Step 1 scores. However, studies such as these 3 have been lacking since their publication. Additionally, the MCAT was updated in 2015 (the new MCAT), eliminating the verbal reasoning section and now consisting of the following 4 expanded sections: (1) Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; (2) Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills; (3) Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, and (4) Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior. Thus, new comparisons between outcomes on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the new MCAT are needed. 
Furthermore, to our knowledge, no studies have compared Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores to Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) Level 1 scores. A similar gap exists in understanding how osteopathic medical students perform on in-house medical school examinations compared with the Nelson-Denny Reading Test as predictors of success in medical school. Thus, the overall goal of this article is to address these gaps in the literature and assess the usefulness of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test in osteopathic medical education. Specifically, we sought to: 
  • 1. Correlate the Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores for osteopathic medical students with the new 2015 MCAT sections.
  • 2. Compare the Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores with performance with the first- and second-year examinations.
  • 3. Analyze osteopathic medical students’ scores on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test compared with COMLEX-USA Level 1 scores.
  • 4. Discuss Nelson-Denny Reading Test norms for osteopathic medical students (raw scores, scaled scores, percentile scores, and stanine scores) and compare with norms determined by Haught and Walls in 2002.11
Methods
From 2015 to 2017, the Nelson-Denny Reading Test was administered at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) to first- and second-year medical students during orientation in July. Thus, the class of 2019 took the test in July 2015 and 2016, the class of 2020 took the test in July 2016 and 2017, and the class of 2021 took the test in July 2017. 
The Nelson-Denny Reading Test consists of a vocabulary section and a comprehension section. The vocabulary section contains 80 multiple-choice items, and students were given 15 minutes to complete the section. The comprehension section consists of 7 reading passages and a total of 38 multiple-choice questions. Students were given 20 minutes to complete the comprehension section, with the first minute being used to determine their reading rate. Two forms of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (Form G and Form H) were available for administration. To be consistent with the Haught and Walls study,11 first-year students completed Form G and second-year students completed Form H. 
For scoring, the raw scores were translated into the percentile rank, scale score, grade-equivalent score, and stanine score based on the guidelines found in the Nelson-Denny Reading Test Manual for Scoring and Interpretation.13 These numbers were compared with scores reported by Haught and Walls11 for all medical students and health care professionals. The research team then used Pearson product moment correlations to compare the translated Nelson-Denny Reading Test data with MCAT scores (both old and new MCAT scores), first- and second-year examination grades, and COMLEX-USA Level 1 performance on the first attempt. First- and second-year examination grades were pulled at the end of each semester (4 different points during the first and second year) for the classes of 2019 and 2020. COMLEX-USA Level 1 scores were only compared for the class of 2019, which was the only class to have taken COMLEX-USA Level 1 during the timeframe of this study. We used the Cohen table of effect size magnitude categories14 (r<0.1, trivial; r=0.1 to 0.29, small to medium; r=0.3 to 0.49, medium to large; r≥0.5, large to very large) as a guide in correlation categorization. Statistical significance was set at P≤.01. 
Results
Six hundred twenty-three students took the first-year Nelson-Denny Reading Test. There were slightly more female (321 [51.5%]) than male (302 [48.5%]) participants. Of those participants, 408 (65%) also took the second-year Nelson-Denny Reading Test from 2015 to 2017. The majority of participants had taken the old MCAT, with only 104 taking both the first- and second-year Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the new MCAT (Table 1). Of the 421 participants who took the old MCAT, 324 (78%) took the old MCAT only while 97 (23%) took both the old and new MCAT. Of the 299 students who took the new MCAT, 202 (68%) took the new MCAT only while 97 (32%) took both the old and new MCAT. Since the class of 2019 did not take the new MCAT, they were excluded from the comparisons of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the new MCAT total and section scores. 
Table 1.
Distribution of MCAT Version Taken Among WVSOM Students (n=408)a
Class of… Old MCAT (n=421) New MCAT (n=299)
2019 (n=210) 210 0
2020 (n=198) 138 104
2021 (n=215) 73 195

a Some students took both the old (before 2015) and new (2015 update) versions of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 1.
Distribution of MCAT Version Taken Among WVSOM Students (n=408)a
Class of… Old MCAT (n=421) New MCAT (n=299)
2019 (n=210) 210 0
2020 (n=198) 138 104
2021 (n=215) 73 195

a Some students took both the old (before 2015) and new (2015 update) versions of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
We found a strong correlation (ranging from medium to very large correlation) on all categories of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the verbal reasoning section of the old MCAT as well as the reasoning skills section of the new MCAT, with the exception of reading rate. The reading rate had a medium correlation to the verbal reasoning section of the old MCAT for the class of 2020 but had no correlations to the old MCAT for the class of 2021. The reading rate had a medium correlation (0.30) to the reasoning skills section of the new MCAT for the class of 2021 only. There was a slight correlation to the biological sciences section of the old MCAT and the foundations of behavior section of the new MCAT (class of 2021 only). A large to very large correlation that was statistically significant was found between the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the verbal reasoning section of the old MCAT and the reasoning skills section of the new MCAT. Comparisons with MCAT scores for each class (classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021) are shown in Table 2, Table 3, and Table 4. 
Table 2.
Correlation (r) of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Old MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2019a
Old MCAT (Before 2015)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.15 (.01) 0.06 (.19) 0.46 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.14 (.02) 0.04 (.28) 0.45 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.15 (.01) 0.06 (.19) 0.46 (<.01)b
Comprehension
 Scores 0.15 (.01) 0.11 (.06) 0.41 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.06 (.19) 0.07 (.16) 0.36 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.21 (<.01) 0.13 (.03) 0.39 (<.01)b
Total
 Scores 0.16 (.01) 0.1 (.07) 0.49 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.15 (.01) 0.07 (.16) 0.48 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.18 (<.01) 0.1 (.07) 0.49 (<.01)b
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.09 (.10) −0.03 (.50) 0.17 (.01)
 Stanine 0.08 (.12) −0.03 (.50) 0.24 (<.01)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 2.
Correlation (r) of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Old MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2019a
Old MCAT (Before 2015)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.15 (.01) 0.06 (.19) 0.46 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.14 (.02) 0.04 (.28) 0.45 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.15 (.01) 0.06 (.19) 0.46 (<.01)b
Comprehension
 Scores 0.15 (.01) 0.11 (.06) 0.41 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.06 (.19) 0.07 (.16) 0.36 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.21 (<.01) 0.13 (.03) 0.39 (<.01)b
Total
 Scores 0.16 (.01) 0.1 (.07) 0.49 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.15 (.01) 0.07 (.16) 0.48 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.18 (<.01) 0.1 (.07) 0.49 (<.01)b
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.09 (.10) −0.03 (.50) 0.17 (.01)
 Stanine 0.08 (.12) −0.03 (.50) 0.24 (<.01)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
Table 3.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Both Old MCAT and New MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2020a
Old MCAT (Before 2015) New MCAT (2015 Update)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning Biological and Biochemical Foundations Chemical and Physical Foundations Reasoning Skills Foundations of Behavior
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.25 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.50 (<.01)c −0.07 (.44) −0.13 (.15) 0.31 (<.01)b 0.03 (.72)
 Grade equivalency 0.24 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.50 (<.01)c −0.05 (.58) −0.12 (.18) 0.32 (<.01)b 0.04 (.67)
 Stanine 0.25 (<.01) 0.19 (.02) 0.53 (<.01)c −0.06 (.51) −0.14 (.12) 0.32 (<.01)b 0.07 (.47)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.18 (.04) 0.06 (.46) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.02 (.84) −0.14 (.12) 0.42 (<.01)b 0.15 (.10)
 Grade equivalency 0.17 (.04) 0.05 (.54) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.02 (.80) −0.12 (.18) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.15 (.10)
 Stanine 0.21 (.01) 0.13 (.12) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.04 (.62) −0.12 (.18) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.16 (.07)
Total
 Scores 0.24 (<.01) 0.13 (.13) 0.56 (<.01)c −0.03 (.73) −0.16 (.08) 0.42 (<.01)b 0.10 (.25)
 Grade equivalency 0.24 (<.01) 0.13 (.13) 0.57 (<.01)c −0.02 (.78) −0.15 (.09) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.10 (.24)
 Stanine 0.24 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.57 (<.01)c −0.03 (.78) −0.15 (.10) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.11 (.24)
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.07 (.44) 0.01 (.94) 0.33 (<.01)b −0.10 (.27) −0.11 (.22) 0.15 (.10) 0.13 (.14)
 Stanine 0.12 (.14) 0.06 (.44) 0.38 (<.01)b −0.09 (.32) −0.11 (.24) 0.13 (.14) 0.12 (.18)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

c Large to very large correlation of ≥0.50.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 3.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Both Old MCAT and New MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2020a
Old MCAT (Before 2015) New MCAT (2015 Update)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning Biological and Biochemical Foundations Chemical and Physical Foundations Reasoning Skills Foundations of Behavior
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.25 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.50 (<.01)c −0.07 (.44) −0.13 (.15) 0.31 (<.01)b 0.03 (.72)
 Grade equivalency 0.24 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.50 (<.01)c −0.05 (.58) −0.12 (.18) 0.32 (<.01)b 0.04 (.67)
 Stanine 0.25 (<.01) 0.19 (.02) 0.53 (<.01)c −0.06 (.51) −0.14 (.12) 0.32 (<.01)b 0.07 (.47)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.18 (.04) 0.06 (.46) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.02 (.84) −0.14 (.12) 0.42 (<.01)b 0.15 (.10)
 Grade equivalency 0.17 (.04) 0.05 (.54) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.02 (.80) −0.12 (.18) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.15 (.10)
 Stanine 0.21 (.01) 0.13 (.12) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.04 (.62) −0.12 (.18) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.16 (.07)
Total
 Scores 0.24 (<.01) 0.13 (.13) 0.56 (<.01)c −0.03 (.73) −0.16 (.08) 0.42 (<.01)b 0.10 (.25)
 Grade equivalency 0.24 (<.01) 0.13 (.13) 0.57 (<.01)c −0.02 (.78) −0.15 (.09) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.10 (.24)
 Stanine 0.24 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.57 (<.01)c −0.03 (.78) −0.15 (.10) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.11 (.24)
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.07 (.44) 0.01 (.94) 0.33 (<.01)b −0.10 (.27) −0.11 (.22) 0.15 (.10) 0.13 (.14)
 Stanine 0.12 (.14) 0.06 (.44) 0.38 (<.01)b −0.09 (.32) −0.11 (.24) 0.13 (.14) 0.12 (.18)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

c Large to very large correlation of ≥0.50.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
Table 4.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Both Old MCAT and New MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2021a
Old MCAT (Before 2015) New MCAT (2015 Update)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning Biological and Biochemical Foundations Chemical and Physical Foundations Reasoning Skills Foundations of Behavior
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.21 (.08) 0.16 (.18) 0.48 (<.01)b 0.09 (.20) −0.05 (.47) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.21 (.08) 0.13 (.26) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.09 (.23) −0.05 (.51) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.32 (.01)b 0.20 (.08) 0.64 (<.01)c 0.11 (.23) −0.03 (.51) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.29 (<.01)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.21 (.36) 0.16 (.2) 0.48 (<.01)b 0.09 (.23) −0.05 (.13) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.21 (.34) 0.13 (.19) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.09 (.26) −0.05 (.11) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.32 (.28)b 0.20 (.21) 0.64 (<.01)c 0.11 (.21) −0.03 (.28) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.29 (<.01)
Total
 Scores 0.16 (.17) 0.16 (.16) 0.46 (<.01)b 0.09 (.21) −0.07 (.32) 0.49 (<.01)b 0.23 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.16 (.17) 0.15 (.20) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.08 (.26) −0.07 (.32) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.24 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.27 (.02) 0.21 (.07) 0.63 (<.01)c 0.12 (.11) −0.05 (.50) 0.60 (<.01)c 0.34 (<.01)b
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.03 (.78) 0.22 (.07) 0.08 (.49) 0.10 (.16) −0.05 (.51) 0.24 (<.01) 0.10 (.16)
 Stanine 0.04 (.76) 0.26 (.02) 0.17 (.15) 0.06 (.37) −0.04 (.55) 0.30 (<.01)b 0.16 (.03)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

c Large to very large correlation of ≥0.50.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 4.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Both Old MCAT and New MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2021a
Old MCAT (Before 2015) New MCAT (2015 Update)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning Biological and Biochemical Foundations Chemical and Physical Foundations Reasoning Skills Foundations of Behavior
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.21 (.08) 0.16 (.18) 0.48 (<.01)b 0.09 (.20) −0.05 (.47) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.21 (.08) 0.13 (.26) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.09 (.23) −0.05 (.51) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.32 (.01)b 0.20 (.08) 0.64 (<.01)c 0.11 (.23) −0.03 (.51) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.29 (<.01)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.21 (.36) 0.16 (.2) 0.48 (<.01)b 0.09 (.23) −0.05 (.13) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.21 (.34) 0.13 (.19) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.09 (.26) −0.05 (.11) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.32 (.28)b 0.20 (.21) 0.64 (<.01)c 0.11 (.21) −0.03 (.28) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.29 (<.01)
Total
 Scores 0.16 (.17) 0.16 (.16) 0.46 (<.01)b 0.09 (.21) −0.07 (.32) 0.49 (<.01)b 0.23 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.16 (.17) 0.15 (.20) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.08 (.26) −0.07 (.32) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.24 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.27 (.02) 0.21 (.07) 0.63 (<.01)c 0.12 (.11) −0.05 (.50) 0.60 (<.01)c 0.34 (<.01)b
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.03 (.78) 0.22 (.07) 0.08 (.49) 0.10 (.16) −0.05 (.51) 0.24 (<.01) 0.10 (.16)
 Stanine 0.04 (.76) 0.26 (.02) 0.17 (.15) 0.06 (.37) −0.04 (.55) 0.30 (<.01)b 0.16 (.03)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

c Large to very large correlation of ≥0.50.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores were compared with first- and second-year examination grades at the end of each semester for the classes of 2019 and 2020 (the only 2 classes that had fully completed both years of the curriculum). Analyses showed that there were no statistically significant correlations (Table 5). Likewise, when comparing scores on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test with COMLEX-USA Level 1 first attempt scores for the class of 2019, no correlations were found (Table 6). 
Table 5.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Score to Performance on First- and Second-Year Examinations: WVSOM Classes of 2019 and 2020a
First Year Second Year
Reading Category First Semester Second Semester First Semester Second Semester
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.03 (.80) 0.00 (>.99) 0.01 (.93) 0.04 (.74)
 Grade equivalency 0.03 (.80) 0.01 (.93) 0.01 (.93) 0.04 (.74)
 Stanine 0.01 (.93) −0.02 (.87) 0.02 (.87) 0.05 (.67)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31) 0.19 (.11) 0.16 (.18)
 Grade equivalency 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31) 0.19 (.11) 0.16 (.18)
 Stanine 0.10 (.40) 0.11 (.35) 0.17 (.15) 0.14 (.24)
Total
 Scores 0.09 (.45) 0.07 (.56) 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31)
 Grade equivalency 0.09 (.45) 0.07 (.56) 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31)
 Stanine 0.09 (.45) 0.06 (.61) 0.10 (.40) 0.11 (.35)
Reading Rate
 Scores −0.02 (.87) −0.07 (.56) −0.04 (.74) −0.09 (.45)
 Stanine −0.01 (.93) −0.01 (.93) −0.03 (.80) −0.07 (.56)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 5.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Score to Performance on First- and Second-Year Examinations: WVSOM Classes of 2019 and 2020a
First Year Second Year
Reading Category First Semester Second Semester First Semester Second Semester
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.03 (.80) 0.00 (>.99) 0.01 (.93) 0.04 (.74)
 Grade equivalency 0.03 (.80) 0.01 (.93) 0.01 (.93) 0.04 (.74)
 Stanine 0.01 (.93) −0.02 (.87) 0.02 (.87) 0.05 (.67)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31) 0.19 (.11) 0.16 (.18)
 Grade equivalency 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31) 0.19 (.11) 0.16 (.18)
 Stanine 0.10 (.40) 0.11 (.35) 0.17 (.15) 0.14 (.24)
Total
 Scores 0.09 (.45) 0.07 (.56) 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31)
 Grade equivalency 0.09 (.45) 0.07 (.56) 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31)
 Stanine 0.09 (.45) 0.06 (.61) 0.10 (.40) 0.11 (.35)
Reading Rate
 Scores −0.02 (.87) −0.07 (.56) −0.04 (.74) −0.09 (.45)
 Stanine −0.01 (.93) −0.01 (.93) −0.03 (.80) −0.07 (.56)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
Table 6.
Correlation (r) of Reading Comprehension (First- and Second-Year Students) and COMLEX-USA Level 1 First Attempt Scores: WVSOM Class of 2019a
Reading Category First Year Second Year
Verbal
 Raw 0.022 (.77) 0.052 (.49)
 Percentile 0.021 (.78) 0.054 (.47)
 Standard 0.022 (.77) 0.050 (.50)
 Grade equivalent 0.019 (.80) 0.063 (.40)
 Stanine 0.007 (.93) 0.059 (.43)
Comprehension
 Raw 0.108 (.15) 0.121 (.10)
 Percentile 0.115 (.12) 0.069 (.36)
 Standard 0.107 (.15) 0.105 (.16)
 Grade equivalent 0.067 (.37) 0.103 (.17)
 Stanine 0.128 (.09) 0.057 (.45)
Total
 Raw 0.071 (.34) 0.099 (.18)
 Percentile 0.074 (.32) 0.080 (.28)
 Standard 0.071 (.35) 0.097 (.20)
 Grade equivalent 0.084 (.26) 0.096 (.20)
 Stanine 0.046 (.54) 0.065 (.39)
Reading Rate
 Raw 0.000 (>.99) 0.000 (>.99)
 Percentile 0.044 (.55) 0.008 (.92)
 Standard 0.039 (.60) 0.004 (.96)
 Stanine 0.059 (.43) 0.028 (.71)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

Abbreviations: COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 6.
Correlation (r) of Reading Comprehension (First- and Second-Year Students) and COMLEX-USA Level 1 First Attempt Scores: WVSOM Class of 2019a
Reading Category First Year Second Year
Verbal
 Raw 0.022 (.77) 0.052 (.49)
 Percentile 0.021 (.78) 0.054 (.47)
 Standard 0.022 (.77) 0.050 (.50)
 Grade equivalent 0.019 (.80) 0.063 (.40)
 Stanine 0.007 (.93) 0.059 (.43)
Comprehension
 Raw 0.108 (.15) 0.121 (.10)
 Percentile 0.115 (.12) 0.069 (.36)
 Standard 0.107 (.15) 0.105 (.16)
 Grade equivalent 0.067 (.37) 0.103 (.17)
 Stanine 0.128 (.09) 0.057 (.45)
Total
 Raw 0.071 (.34) 0.099 (.18)
 Percentile 0.074 (.32) 0.080 (.28)
 Standard 0.071 (.35) 0.097 (.20)
 Grade equivalent 0.084 (.26) 0.096 (.20)
 Stanine 0.046 (.54) 0.065 (.39)
Reading Rate
 Raw 0.000 (>.99) 0.000 (>.99)
 Percentile 0.044 (.55) 0.008 (.92)
 Standard 0.039 (.60) 0.004 (.96)
 Stanine 0.059 (.43) 0.028 (.71)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

Abbreviations: COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
In comparing our results with previously reported norms (Table 7), the scores reported by Haught and Walls11 for medical students and health professional students for both forms G and H were slightly higher than those found for WVSOM osteopathic medical students in this study. 
Table 7.
Comparison of WVSOM and Haught and Walls11 Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores, Mean (SD)
Form G Form H
Reading Category WVSOM Students Medical Students11 Health Professionals11,a College 1611,b WVSOM Students Medical Students11 Health Professionals11,a College 1611,b
Vocabulary 66.5 (7.9) 72.7 (4.9) 70.3 (7.2) 62.7 (11.6) 68.4 (7.9) 73.5 (4.9) 71.3 (7.0) 63.2 (12.0)
Comprehension 64.8 (7.6) 69.5 (5.2) 67.5 (7.4) 59.1 (12.3) 66.5 (7.2) 70.4 (4.3) 69.0 (6.1) 61.3 (11.7)
Total 131.3 (14.0) 142.2 (8.6) 137.8 (13.3) 122.0 (22.0) 134.9 (12.5) 143.9 (7.7) 140.4 (11.5) 124.3 (21.8)
N 408 304 545 558 408 331 577 489
Reading Rate 219.4 (62.7) 258.7 (70.1) 245.7 (66.7) 250.3 (83.3) 270.5 (79.1) 297.5 (74.1) 282.3 (71.9) 281.4 (90.6)
N 408 303 542 544 408 331 576 478

a Health professionals included students in medicine, dentistry, and physical therapy and medical interns.

b “College 16” refers to 4-year college/university norms from the Nelson-Denny Reading Test: Manual for Scoring and Interpretation, Forms G & H.11

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 7.
Comparison of WVSOM and Haught and Walls11 Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores, Mean (SD)
Form G Form H
Reading Category WVSOM Students Medical Students11 Health Professionals11,a College 1611,b WVSOM Students Medical Students11 Health Professionals11,a College 1611,b
Vocabulary 66.5 (7.9) 72.7 (4.9) 70.3 (7.2) 62.7 (11.6) 68.4 (7.9) 73.5 (4.9) 71.3 (7.0) 63.2 (12.0)
Comprehension 64.8 (7.6) 69.5 (5.2) 67.5 (7.4) 59.1 (12.3) 66.5 (7.2) 70.4 (4.3) 69.0 (6.1) 61.3 (11.7)
Total 131.3 (14.0) 142.2 (8.6) 137.8 (13.3) 122.0 (22.0) 134.9 (12.5) 143.9 (7.7) 140.4 (11.5) 124.3 (21.8)
N 408 304 545 558 408 331 577 489
Reading Rate 219.4 (62.7) 258.7 (70.1) 245.7 (66.7) 250.3 (83.3) 270.5 (79.1) 297.5 (74.1) 282.3 (71.9) 281.4 (90.6)
N 408 303 542 544 408 331 576 478

a Health professionals included students in medicine, dentistry, and physical therapy and medical interns.

b “College 16” refers to 4-year college/university norms from the Nelson-Denny Reading Test: Manual for Scoring and Interpretation, Forms G & H.11

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
Discussion
Reading rate scores were fairly high (219-297 wpm) using the Nelson-Denny Reading Test. However, the passages contained in the Nelson-Denny Reading Test for the comprehension section (where reading rate is determined) are simplistic compared with the material that students confront in medical school. As mentioned by others,1-4 reading rate scores determined during medical school are typically much lower (50-150 wpm, though 150 wpm was associated with only 17% of students at one school). These reports led us to believe that passages from actual medical school material or textbooks would be better tools for determining reading rate than the passages contained in the Nelson-Denny Reading Test. The higher reading rates reported from the Nelson-Denny Reading Test may give students and institutions a false sense of where students can actually perform when taking into account the more rigorous material and readings found in medical school. 
In 2012, the president of the Association of American Medical Colleges wrote a letter to all premedical students regarding the new MCAT.15 He reported that the new MCAT would emphasize problem solving, reasoning skills, and human and social issues related to medicine instead of core concepts in the natural sciences. The new MCAT was, in theory, supposed to mimic the knowledge and skills that medical students would need in medical school. However, data show that the foundations of behavior section of the new MCAT may actually dilute the better predictors of medical school success—the biological sciences and physical sciences sections of the old MCAT were better predictors than the biological and biochemical foundations and chemical and physical foundations sections of the new MCAT. 
Additionally, in medical school, behavioral science typically accounts for only 5% to 10% of the coursework during the first and second years. The new MCAT puts 25% of the emphasis in the foundations of behavior section, which could be causing the lack in correlation for other sections. Based on our findings that showed correlations between the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the reasoning skills section of the new MCAT, we believe that these sections of the new MCAT could serve as a good proxy for a reading test. As a benchmark, a student who scores 120 or below on the reasoning skills section of the new MCAT could qualify as someone with low reading skill. 
The verbal reasoning section of the old MCAT correlates well with Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores. This section of the old MCAT was most predictive of clinical performance in clerkships and residency7-10 and accounted for 11% of students who had difficulties in medical school.5 Further research needs to be conducted to compare third- and fourth-year data with the new MCAT to determine whether any sections of the new MCAT predict clinical performance. 
The Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores did not strongly correlate with performance on first- and second-year course examinations or COMLEX-USA Level 1 performance. We plan to replicate this study with other osteopathic medical schools that administer the Nelson-Denny Reading Test to compare results for performance on in-house examinations, MCAT scores, and COMLEX-USA Level 1 scores. 
In comparing the WVSOM Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores with the Haught and Walls11 test scores for medical and health professional students, we found that the scores reported by Haught and Walls11 were slightly higher. The authors believe this finding could result from differences in admissions standards, curriculum, timing of the data analysis, and population sizes. Further research is needed to compare 2 or more osteopathic medical schools with similar admission data, curricula, and research structure to better understand Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores. Additionally, even though the Nelson-Denny Reading Test was required at WVSOM and the authors informed students of the benefits of the test, students may not have taken the administration of the examination seriously, thus scoring below their actual potential. 
Conclusion
Overall, results show correlations between the Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores obtained by WVSOM osteopathic medical students and the reasoning skills section of the new MCAT. There were no correlations between components of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and first- and second-year examination performance or COMLEX-USA Level 1 performance. The Nelson-Denny Reading Test scores for osteopathic medical students were similar to those found by Haught and Walls11 for medical students and health professionals. We recommend that this study be replicated at other osteopathic medical schools. 
Author Contributions
Both authors provided substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; both authors drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content; both authors gave final approval of the version of the article to be published; and both authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. 
References
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Haught PA, Walls RT. Adult learners: new norms on the Nelson-Denny reading test for healthcare professionals. Reading Psychol. 2002;23(3):217-238. [CrossRef]
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Kirch DG. MCAT2015: an open letter to pre-med students. Association of American Medical Colleges website. https://aamc-orange.global.ssl.fastly.net/production/media/filer_public/9a/98/9a98d14f-d01b-478f-b1e4-21d08b22021c/mcatopenletter.pdf. Accessed March 23, 2018.
Table 1.
Distribution of MCAT Version Taken Among WVSOM Students (n=408)a
Class of… Old MCAT (n=421) New MCAT (n=299)
2019 (n=210) 210 0
2020 (n=198) 138 104
2021 (n=215) 73 195

a Some students took both the old (before 2015) and new (2015 update) versions of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 1.
Distribution of MCAT Version Taken Among WVSOM Students (n=408)a
Class of… Old MCAT (n=421) New MCAT (n=299)
2019 (n=210) 210 0
2020 (n=198) 138 104
2021 (n=215) 73 195

a Some students took both the old (before 2015) and new (2015 update) versions of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
Table 2.
Correlation (r) of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Old MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2019a
Old MCAT (Before 2015)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.15 (.01) 0.06 (.19) 0.46 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.14 (.02) 0.04 (.28) 0.45 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.15 (.01) 0.06 (.19) 0.46 (<.01)b
Comprehension
 Scores 0.15 (.01) 0.11 (.06) 0.41 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.06 (.19) 0.07 (.16) 0.36 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.21 (<.01) 0.13 (.03) 0.39 (<.01)b
Total
 Scores 0.16 (.01) 0.1 (.07) 0.49 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.15 (.01) 0.07 (.16) 0.48 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.18 (<.01) 0.1 (.07) 0.49 (<.01)b
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.09 (.10) −0.03 (.50) 0.17 (.01)
 Stanine 0.08 (.12) −0.03 (.50) 0.24 (<.01)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 2.
Correlation (r) of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Old MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2019a
Old MCAT (Before 2015)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.15 (.01) 0.06 (.19) 0.46 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.14 (.02) 0.04 (.28) 0.45 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.15 (.01) 0.06 (.19) 0.46 (<.01)b
Comprehension
 Scores 0.15 (.01) 0.11 (.06) 0.41 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.06 (.19) 0.07 (.16) 0.36 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.21 (<.01) 0.13 (.03) 0.39 (<.01)b
Total
 Scores 0.16 (.01) 0.1 (.07) 0.49 (<.01)b
 Grade equivalency 0.15 (.01) 0.07 (.16) 0.48 (<.01)b
 Stanine 0.18 (<.01) 0.1 (.07) 0.49 (<.01)b
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.09 (.10) −0.03 (.50) 0.17 (.01)
 Stanine 0.08 (.12) −0.03 (.50) 0.24 (<.01)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
Table 3.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Both Old MCAT and New MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2020a
Old MCAT (Before 2015) New MCAT (2015 Update)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning Biological and Biochemical Foundations Chemical and Physical Foundations Reasoning Skills Foundations of Behavior
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.25 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.50 (<.01)c −0.07 (.44) −0.13 (.15) 0.31 (<.01)b 0.03 (.72)
 Grade equivalency 0.24 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.50 (<.01)c −0.05 (.58) −0.12 (.18) 0.32 (<.01)b 0.04 (.67)
 Stanine 0.25 (<.01) 0.19 (.02) 0.53 (<.01)c −0.06 (.51) −0.14 (.12) 0.32 (<.01)b 0.07 (.47)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.18 (.04) 0.06 (.46) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.02 (.84) −0.14 (.12) 0.42 (<.01)b 0.15 (.10)
 Grade equivalency 0.17 (.04) 0.05 (.54) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.02 (.80) −0.12 (.18) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.15 (.10)
 Stanine 0.21 (.01) 0.13 (.12) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.04 (.62) −0.12 (.18) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.16 (.07)
Total
 Scores 0.24 (<.01) 0.13 (.13) 0.56 (<.01)c −0.03 (.73) −0.16 (.08) 0.42 (<.01)b 0.10 (.25)
 Grade equivalency 0.24 (<.01) 0.13 (.13) 0.57 (<.01)c −0.02 (.78) −0.15 (.09) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.10 (.24)
 Stanine 0.24 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.57 (<.01)c −0.03 (.78) −0.15 (.10) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.11 (.24)
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.07 (.44) 0.01 (.94) 0.33 (<.01)b −0.10 (.27) −0.11 (.22) 0.15 (.10) 0.13 (.14)
 Stanine 0.12 (.14) 0.06 (.44) 0.38 (<.01)b −0.09 (.32) −0.11 (.24) 0.13 (.14) 0.12 (.18)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

c Large to very large correlation of ≥0.50.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 3.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Both Old MCAT and New MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2020a
Old MCAT (Before 2015) New MCAT (2015 Update)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning Biological and Biochemical Foundations Chemical and Physical Foundations Reasoning Skills Foundations of Behavior
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.25 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.50 (<.01)c −0.07 (.44) −0.13 (.15) 0.31 (<.01)b 0.03 (.72)
 Grade equivalency 0.24 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.50 (<.01)c −0.05 (.58) −0.12 (.18) 0.32 (<.01)b 0.04 (.67)
 Stanine 0.25 (<.01) 0.19 (.02) 0.53 (<.01)c −0.06 (.51) −0.14 (.12) 0.32 (<.01)b 0.07 (.47)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.18 (.04) 0.06 (.46) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.02 (.84) −0.14 (.12) 0.42 (<.01)b 0.15 (.10)
 Grade equivalency 0.17 (.04) 0.05 (.54) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.02 (.80) −0.12 (.18) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.15 (.10)
 Stanine 0.21 (.01) 0.13 (.12) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.04 (.62) −0.12 (.18) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.16 (.07)
Total
 Scores 0.24 (<.01) 0.13 (.13) 0.56 (<.01)c −0.03 (.73) −0.16 (.08) 0.42 (<.01)b 0.10 (.25)
 Grade equivalency 0.24 (<.01) 0.13 (.13) 0.57 (<.01)c −0.02 (.78) −0.15 (.09) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.10 (.24)
 Stanine 0.24 (<.01) 0.16 (.05) 0.57 (<.01)c −0.03 (.78) −0.15 (.10) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.11 (.24)
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.07 (.44) 0.01 (.94) 0.33 (<.01)b −0.10 (.27) −0.11 (.22) 0.15 (.10) 0.13 (.14)
 Stanine 0.12 (.14) 0.06 (.44) 0.38 (<.01)b −0.09 (.32) −0.11 (.24) 0.13 (.14) 0.12 (.18)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

c Large to very large correlation of ≥0.50.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
Table 4.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Both Old MCAT and New MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2021a
Old MCAT (Before 2015) New MCAT (2015 Update)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning Biological and Biochemical Foundations Chemical and Physical Foundations Reasoning Skills Foundations of Behavior
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.21 (.08) 0.16 (.18) 0.48 (<.01)b 0.09 (.20) −0.05 (.47) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.21 (.08) 0.13 (.26) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.09 (.23) −0.05 (.51) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.32 (.01)b 0.20 (.08) 0.64 (<.01)c 0.11 (.23) −0.03 (.51) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.29 (<.01)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.21 (.36) 0.16 (.2) 0.48 (<.01)b 0.09 (.23) −0.05 (.13) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.21 (.34) 0.13 (.19) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.09 (.26) −0.05 (.11) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.32 (.28)b 0.20 (.21) 0.64 (<.01)c 0.11 (.21) −0.03 (.28) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.29 (<.01)
Total
 Scores 0.16 (.17) 0.16 (.16) 0.46 (<.01)b 0.09 (.21) −0.07 (.32) 0.49 (<.01)b 0.23 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.16 (.17) 0.15 (.20) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.08 (.26) −0.07 (.32) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.24 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.27 (.02) 0.21 (.07) 0.63 (<.01)c 0.12 (.11) −0.05 (.50) 0.60 (<.01)c 0.34 (<.01)b
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.03 (.78) 0.22 (.07) 0.08 (.49) 0.10 (.16) −0.05 (.51) 0.24 (<.01) 0.10 (.16)
 Stanine 0.04 (.76) 0.26 (.02) 0.17 (.15) 0.06 (.37) −0.04 (.55) 0.30 (<.01)b 0.16 (.03)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

c Large to very large correlation of ≥0.50.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 4.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores to Both Old MCAT and New MCAT Scores: WVSOM Class of 2021a
Old MCAT (Before 2015) New MCAT (2015 Update)
Reading Category Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Verbal Reasoning Biological and Biochemical Foundations Chemical and Physical Foundations Reasoning Skills Foundations of Behavior
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.21 (.08) 0.16 (.18) 0.48 (<.01)b 0.09 (.20) −0.05 (.47) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.21 (.08) 0.13 (.26) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.09 (.23) −0.05 (.51) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.32 (.01)b 0.20 (.08) 0.64 (<.01)c 0.11 (.23) −0.03 (.51) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.29 (<.01)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.21 (.36) 0.16 (.2) 0.48 (<.01)b 0.09 (.23) −0.05 (.13) 0.43 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.21 (.34) 0.13 (.19) 0.51 (<.01)c 0.09 (.26) −0.05 (.11) 0.44 (<.01)b 0.21 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.32 (.28)b 0.20 (.21) 0.64 (<.01)c 0.11 (.21) −0.03 (.28) 0.53 (<.01)c 0.29 (<.01)
Total
 Scores 0.16 (.17) 0.16 (.16) 0.46 (<.01)b 0.09 (.21) −0.07 (.32) 0.49 (<.01)b 0.23 (<.01)
 Grade equivalency 0.16 (.17) 0.15 (.20) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.08 (.26) −0.07 (.32) 0.52 (<.01)c 0.24 (<.01)
 Stanine 0.27 (.02) 0.21 (.07) 0.63 (<.01)c 0.12 (.11) −0.05 (.50) 0.60 (<.01)c 0.34 (<.01)b
Reading Rate
 Scores 0.03 (.78) 0.22 (.07) 0.08 (.49) 0.10 (.16) −0.05 (.51) 0.24 (<.01) 0.10 (.16)
 Stanine 0.04 (.76) 0.26 (.02) 0.17 (.15) 0.06 (.37) −0.04 (.55) 0.30 (<.01)b 0.16 (.03)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

b Medium to large correlation of 0.30 to 0.49.14

c Large to very large correlation of ≥0.50.14

Abbreviations: MCAT, Medical College Admission Test; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

×
Table 5.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Score to Performance on First- and Second-Year Examinations: WVSOM Classes of 2019 and 2020a
First Year Second Year
Reading Category First Semester Second Semester First Semester Second Semester
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.03 (.80) 0.00 (>.99) 0.01 (.93) 0.04 (.74)
 Grade equivalency 0.03 (.80) 0.01 (.93) 0.01 (.93) 0.04 (.74)
 Stanine 0.01 (.93) −0.02 (.87) 0.02 (.87) 0.05 (.67)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31) 0.19 (.11) 0.16 (.18)
 Grade equivalency 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31) 0.19 (.11) 0.16 (.18)
 Stanine 0.10 (.40) 0.11 (.35) 0.17 (.15) 0.14 (.24)
Total
 Scores 0.09 (.45) 0.07 (.56) 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31)
 Grade equivalency 0.09 (.45) 0.07 (.56) 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31)
 Stanine 0.09 (.45) 0.06 (.61) 0.10 (.40) 0.11 (.35)
Reading Rate
 Scores −0.02 (.87) −0.07 (.56) −0.04 (.74) −0.09 (.45)
 Stanine −0.01 (.93) −0.01 (.93) −0.03 (.80) −0.07 (.56)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 5.
Correlation (r) of Nelson-Denny Reading Test Score to Performance on First- and Second-Year Examinations: WVSOM Classes of 2019 and 2020a
First Year Second Year
Reading Category First Semester Second Semester First Semester Second Semester
Vocabulary
 Scores 0.03 (.80) 0.00 (>.99) 0.01 (.93) 0.04 (.74)
 Grade equivalency 0.03 (.80) 0.01 (.93) 0.01 (.93) 0.04 (.74)
 Stanine 0.01 (.93) −0.02 (.87) 0.02 (.87) 0.05 (.67)
Comprehension
 Scores 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31) 0.19 (.11) 0.16 (.18)
 Grade equivalency 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31) 0.19 (.11) 0.16 (.18)
 Stanine 0.10 (.40) 0.11 (.35) 0.17 (.15) 0.14 (.24)
Total
 Scores 0.09 (.45) 0.07 (.56) 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31)
 Grade equivalency 0.09 (.45) 0.07 (.56) 0.11 (.35) 0.12 (.31)
 Stanine 0.09 (.45) 0.06 (.61) 0.10 (.40) 0.11 (.35)
Reading Rate
 Scores −0.02 (.87) −0.07 (.56) −0.04 (.74) −0.09 (.45)
 Stanine −0.01 (.93) −0.01 (.93) −0.03 (.80) −0.07 (.56)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

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Table 6.
Correlation (r) of Reading Comprehension (First- and Second-Year Students) and COMLEX-USA Level 1 First Attempt Scores: WVSOM Class of 2019a
Reading Category First Year Second Year
Verbal
 Raw 0.022 (.77) 0.052 (.49)
 Percentile 0.021 (.78) 0.054 (.47)
 Standard 0.022 (.77) 0.050 (.50)
 Grade equivalent 0.019 (.80) 0.063 (.40)
 Stanine 0.007 (.93) 0.059 (.43)
Comprehension
 Raw 0.108 (.15) 0.121 (.10)
 Percentile 0.115 (.12) 0.069 (.36)
 Standard 0.107 (.15) 0.105 (.16)
 Grade equivalent 0.067 (.37) 0.103 (.17)
 Stanine 0.128 (.09) 0.057 (.45)
Total
 Raw 0.071 (.34) 0.099 (.18)
 Percentile 0.074 (.32) 0.080 (.28)
 Standard 0.071 (.35) 0.097 (.20)
 Grade equivalent 0.084 (.26) 0.096 (.20)
 Stanine 0.046 (.54) 0.065 (.39)
Reading Rate
 Raw 0.000 (>.99) 0.000 (>.99)
 Percentile 0.044 (.55) 0.008 (.92)
 Standard 0.039 (.60) 0.004 (.96)
 Stanine 0.059 (.43) 0.028 (.71)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

Abbreviations: COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 6.
Correlation (r) of Reading Comprehension (First- and Second-Year Students) and COMLEX-USA Level 1 First Attempt Scores: WVSOM Class of 2019a
Reading Category First Year Second Year
Verbal
 Raw 0.022 (.77) 0.052 (.49)
 Percentile 0.021 (.78) 0.054 (.47)
 Standard 0.022 (.77) 0.050 (.50)
 Grade equivalent 0.019 (.80) 0.063 (.40)
 Stanine 0.007 (.93) 0.059 (.43)
Comprehension
 Raw 0.108 (.15) 0.121 (.10)
 Percentile 0.115 (.12) 0.069 (.36)
 Standard 0.107 (.15) 0.105 (.16)
 Grade equivalent 0.067 (.37) 0.103 (.17)
 Stanine 0.128 (.09) 0.057 (.45)
Total
 Raw 0.071 (.34) 0.099 (.18)
 Percentile 0.074 (.32) 0.080 (.28)
 Standard 0.071 (.35) 0.097 (.20)
 Grade equivalent 0.084 (.26) 0.096 (.20)
 Stanine 0.046 (.54) 0.065 (.39)
Reading Rate
 Raw 0.000 (>.99) 0.000 (>.99)
 Percentile 0.044 (.55) 0.008 (.92)
 Standard 0.039 (.60) 0.004 (.96)
 Stanine 0.059 (.43) 0.028 (.71)

a The P value is noted in parentheses next to each correlation. Correlations were statistically significant at P≤.01.

Abbreviations: COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA; WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

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Table 7.
Comparison of WVSOM and Haught and Walls11 Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores, Mean (SD)
Form G Form H
Reading Category WVSOM Students Medical Students11 Health Professionals11,a College 1611,b WVSOM Students Medical Students11 Health Professionals11,a College 1611,b
Vocabulary 66.5 (7.9) 72.7 (4.9) 70.3 (7.2) 62.7 (11.6) 68.4 (7.9) 73.5 (4.9) 71.3 (7.0) 63.2 (12.0)
Comprehension 64.8 (7.6) 69.5 (5.2) 67.5 (7.4) 59.1 (12.3) 66.5 (7.2) 70.4 (4.3) 69.0 (6.1) 61.3 (11.7)
Total 131.3 (14.0) 142.2 (8.6) 137.8 (13.3) 122.0 (22.0) 134.9 (12.5) 143.9 (7.7) 140.4 (11.5) 124.3 (21.8)
N 408 304 545 558 408 331 577 489
Reading Rate 219.4 (62.7) 258.7 (70.1) 245.7 (66.7) 250.3 (83.3) 270.5 (79.1) 297.5 (74.1) 282.3 (71.9) 281.4 (90.6)
N 408 303 542 544 408 331 576 478

a Health professionals included students in medicine, dentistry, and physical therapy and medical interns.

b “College 16” refers to 4-year college/university norms from the Nelson-Denny Reading Test: Manual for Scoring and Interpretation, Forms G & H.11

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Table 7.
Comparison of WVSOM and Haught and Walls11 Nelson-Denny Reading Test Scores, Mean (SD)
Form G Form H
Reading Category WVSOM Students Medical Students11 Health Professionals11,a College 1611,b WVSOM Students Medical Students11 Health Professionals11,a College 1611,b
Vocabulary 66.5 (7.9) 72.7 (4.9) 70.3 (7.2) 62.7 (11.6) 68.4 (7.9) 73.5 (4.9) 71.3 (7.0) 63.2 (12.0)
Comprehension 64.8 (7.6) 69.5 (5.2) 67.5 (7.4) 59.1 (12.3) 66.5 (7.2) 70.4 (4.3) 69.0 (6.1) 61.3 (11.7)
Total 131.3 (14.0) 142.2 (8.6) 137.8 (13.3) 122.0 (22.0) 134.9 (12.5) 143.9 (7.7) 140.4 (11.5) 124.3 (21.8)
N 408 304 545 558 408 331 577 489
Reading Rate 219.4 (62.7) 258.7 (70.1) 245.7 (66.7) 250.3 (83.3) 270.5 (79.1) 297.5 (74.1) 282.3 (71.9) 281.4 (90.6)
N 408 303 542 544 408 331 576 478

a Health professionals included students in medicine, dentistry, and physical therapy and medical interns.

b “College 16” refers to 4-year college/university norms from the Nelson-Denny Reading Test: Manual for Scoring and Interpretation, Forms G & H.11

Abbreviation: WVSOM, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

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