Modeling question-answer relations: the development of the integrative inferential reasoning comic assessment

Alexander Mario Blum, James M. Mason, Jinho Kim, P. David Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We constructed a new taxonomy for inferential thinking, a construct called Integrative Inferential Reasoning (IIR). IIR extends Pearson and Johnson's (1978) framework of text-implicit and script-implicit question-answer relations, and integrates several other prominent literacy theories to form a unified inferential reasoning construct, that is positioned as a type of cognitive processing disposition. We validated our construct using a researcher-made IIR instrument which was administered to 72 primary-grade students. Participants answered open-ended inference questions about various aspects of visual narratives presented in comic-strip format. We categorized participants’ responses as exemplifying one of the levels of IIR: text-implicit, script-implicit, or a combination of both. We used item response models to validate the ordinal nature of IIR, and its structure. Specifically, we fit Masters' (1982) partial credit model and obtained a Wright map, mean location data, and reliability estimates. Results confirmed that the IIR construct behaves ordinally. Additionally, age was found to be a reliable predictor of IIR, and item types (each modeled as a separate dimension) were found to have reasonable latent correlations between the dimensions. This research provides theoretical and practical insights for the pedagogy and assessment of narrative comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1971-2000
Number of pages30
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Cognitive processing disposition
  • Comics
  • Inferential thinking
  • Item response models
  • Narrative comprehension
  • Scale validation


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