SEX DIFFERENCES IN EARLY BENDER GESTALT TEST PERFORMANCE AND READING
WEINSTEIN, ELIN SHARI
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The present study investigated the differences between boys and girls in their performance on the Bender Visual Motor Gestalt (BVMGT) in kindergarten. Also addressed was the issue of whether specific sex-related differences on the BVMGT can be related to reading achievement in early grades. It was postulated that conflicting findings in the literature regarding kindergarten sex differences on the BVMGT and their relationship to later reading would be reconciled through the application of a task-analytic approach.;The subjects were 60 kindergarten children (30 boys and 30 girls) in a New York City public school. Their performance on the BVMGT was scored using the global Koppitz Developmental Scoring System error score and four error categories. A more detailed qualitative analysis of the nature of the specific errors was also done. The results of the kindergarten BVMGT performance were then related to the reading achievement scores obtained by the same children in first, second, and third grades.;It was hypothesized that boys and girls would differ in their style of approach to the kindergarten BVMGT with girls showing superior ability. Also expected was that females would surpass males in early reading, and that the BVMGT as traditionally scored would not be sufficient to predict reading achievement and failure from kindergarten BVMGT performance in terms of sex-related differences.;Results indicated that boys and girls did not differ in their patterns of approach to kindergarten BVMGT performance, but that boys had more difficulty with one specific task requirement. It was the ability to analyze and reconstruct designs without distorting individual features of the figures. It was suggested that this difficulty for boys is reduced as they mature physically and also benefit from school related experiences in copying activities.;It was found that while girls had higher mean scores, sex differences on reading tests did not favor girls as much as is widely believed. Early BVMGT performance was found to be more predictive of later reading for girls than for boys, especially when using a global score. The task-analytic approach revealed the possibility that the distortion of features may be a common process underlying comprehension of reading materials for girls in first grade and for boys in third grade. Caution was recommended about making global statements regarding differential abilities of males and females in early school years. It was suggested that the interaction between maturational factors and social expectations be further studied.