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Local text cohesion, reading ability and individual science aspirations: Key factors influencing comprehension in science classes

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-01-20, 16:56 authored by Sophie S. Hall, Rebecca Kowalski Kowalski, Kevin B. Paterson, Jaskaran Basran, Ruth Filik, John Maltby
In response to the concern of the need to improve the scientific skills of school children, this study investigated the influence of text design (in terms of text cohesion) and individual differences, with the aim of identifying pathways to improving science education in early secondary school (Key Stage 3). One hundred and four secondary school children (56 females, 48 males), aged 12-13 years took part in the study. To assess the influence of local cohesion (lexical and grammatical links between adjacent sentences) in science texts, we measured students' comprehension (through multiple choice questions) of science text that was high and low in local cohesion. To explore the role of individual differences, students completed tests to measure general reading ability, general intelligence, facets of conscientiousness, science self-concept and individual, friends and family aspirations in science. Students were more accurate in answering comprehension questions after reading text that was high in cohesion than low in cohesion, suggesting that high local text cohesion improved students' comprehension of science text. Reading ability predicted increased comprehension for both text designs. Individual aspirations in science accounted for unique variance for comprehension for high cohesion text. Implications for the teaching of secondary school science are discussed.

History

Citation

British Educational Research Journal, 2015, 41 (1), pp. 122-142

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/MBSP Non-Medical Departments/Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

British Educational Research Journal

Publisher

Wiley for British Educational Research Association (BERA)

issn

0141-1926

eissn

1469-3518

Copyright date

2014

Available date

2016-02-24

Publisher version

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/berj.3134/abstract;jsessionid=89AE9B02EDE94180441DF5BCC19E2209.f02t03

Language

en

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