CHAPTER 4 RESULTS. four research questions. The first section demonstrates the effects of the strategy

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1 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This chapter presents the statistical analysis of the collected data based on the four research questions. The first section demonstrates the effects of the strategy instruction on the participants reading comprehension. The second section illustrates the influence of the strategy instruction on the participants comprehension of different types of questions. The third section investigates the results of the participants use of reading strategies. The final section presents the participants responses to the explicit strategy instruction. 4.1 Effects of Explicit Reading Strategies Instruction on Students Reading Comprehension In this section, Table 4.1 reports the results of the pretest and posttest for both groups. The means and standard deviation of the pretest and posttest reading comprehension scores for the control group and the experimental group are presented in Table 4.1. The original grades of the reading tests can be found in Appendix H. Table 4.1 Students Pre- and Post-test in Reading Comprehension Phase Subjects Means Independent P Samples T-test Value Pretest E C Posttest E 38 C * *P<.05 Note: E stood for the experimental group, and C for the control group 38

3 Effects of Explicit Reading Strategies Instruction on Different Types of Reading Comprehension This section displays the effects of the strategy instruction on different types of reading comprehension questions, such as main idea questions, detail questions, inference questions, and word-guessing questions (see Appendix A). The data used for the statistical analysis was based on the students pre- and post-test scores for each type of questions. By conducting the Independent Sample T-test, the means of each set of scores of the control group and experimental group were compared first. Then Paired Samples T-test was used to examine the difference between the pre-test and post-test of the experimental group so that we can answer the second research question: Which types of reading comprehension questions (main idea questions, detail questions, inference questions, and word-guessing questions) JHS students would perform best from the strategy instruction? The statistical results are illustrated in Table 4.2.

4 41 Table 4.2 Means and Standard Deviations of the Pre- and Post-test Scores in Both Groups for Each type of Questions Types of Question Subjects Phase Means T-test Value P Main Idea E 38 Pretest Questions C (Max =30) E 38 Posttest * C Detail E 38 Pretest Questions C (Max =33) E 38 Posttest * C Inference E 38 Pretest Questions C (Max =24) E 38 Posttest * C Word-guessing E 38 Pretest Questions C (Max =12) E 38 Posttest * C *p.05 As shown in Table 4.2, all students gained scores for main idea questions, detail questions, inference questions and word-guessing questions from the post-test. But the students in the experimental group gained much more scores for these four types than those in the control group. The result of Independent Samples T-test showed that there

5 42 was no significant difference between the two groups for these four types in the pretest. The mean score of main idea questions was in the control group, and it was in the experimental group. The mean score of detail questions was in the control group and it was in the experimental group. The mean score of inference questions was 9.08 in the control group, and it was 9.32 in the experimental group. The mean score of word-guessing questions was 4.97 in the control group and it was 4.66 in the experimental group. The means scores for each type were then computed by Independent Samples T-test. The results in Table 4.2 revealed that the differences between the two groups in main idea questions (p=.966, p>.05), detail questions (p=.930, p>.05), inference questions (p=.872, p>.05), and word-guessing questions (p=.672, p>.05) were not significant at all. In other words, each group consisted of students with similar proficiency level of these four types before explicit reading strategies instruction. In the posttest, the mean score of these four types (main idea questions, detail questions, inference questions and word-guessing questions) in the control group was 12.95, 12.55, 11.37, and 5.92 respectively. While the mean score in the experimental group was 19.50, 17.45, 15.95, and 8.61 respectively (Table 4.2).The difference between the two means for main idea questions is 6.55, which reached a significant level (t = 3.960, p.05). As for detail questions, there was a significant difference (t = 3.024, p.05). In inference questions, the difference in mean scores was 4.58, which is statistically meaningful and reached a significant difference (t = 3.092, p.05). The difference in mean scores (2.69) for word-guessing questions was also statistically significant (t =3.590, p.05). Furthermore, Paired Samples T-test is administered to examine the difference in the score of each type of questions between the pretest and posttest in the experimental group. Comparing the scores, we know whether the experimental group

6 43 gains differently between the pretest and posttest. Table 4.3 illustrates the statistic results. Table 4.3 Means and Standard Deviations of the Pre- and Post-test Scores in the Experimental Group for Each type of Questions Types of Question Subjects Phase Means T-test Value P Main Idea Questions (Max =30) Detail Questions (Max =33) Inference Questions (Max =24) Word-guessing Questions (Max =12) *p.05 E 38 Pretest E 38 Posttest E 38 Pretest E 38 Posttest E 38 Pretest E 38 Posttest E 38 Pretest E 38 Posttest * * * * Table 4.3 reported the participants mean scores for main idea questions, detail questions, inference questions and word-guessing questions. The difference between the two means for main idea questions was 8.37, which reached a significant level (t = , p<.o5). In detail questions, the difference in mean scores (7.03) suggested a significant difference (t = , p<.05). As for inference questions, the difference in the mean scores was 6.63, which also showed a significant difference (t = ,

7 44 p<.05). The difference in the mean scores (3.95) for word-guessing questions was also statistically significant (t = , p<.05). The four significant findings indicate that the strategy instruction helped enhance the subjects ability to grasp main idea, extract detailed information, make inferences and guess word-meanings from context. Thus, the finding indicates that participants performance in main idea questions, detail questions, inference questions and word-guessing questions were affected by the strategy instruction. Therefore, as for the second research question, the results show that students perform best from the strategies instruction in main idea, detail, inference, and word-guessing questions. The finding supports part of Hypothesis Two that students perform best from the strategy instruction in main idea questions, detail questions and word-guessing questions, but rejects part of the hypothesis that students improvement in inference questions is not significant. The result supports the finding in the relevant study (Song, 1998) that students improved their ability to grasp main idea and to make inference after the strategy training. Besides, the result is in agreement with the finding in previous studies that strategy instruction improved students ability to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words from context (Kern, 1989; Lo, 2004; Yang, 2005). 4.3 The Frequency of Students Use of English Reading Strategies before and after the Instruction This section describes the results of Questionnaire I-A and I-B (Appendix B), which examined the reading strategies the participants used in the process of English reading. According to the frequency of using the strategies, students gave their answers from number one to number five representing five levels of frequency. These five levels were level 1 =never used, level 2 =seldom used, level 3 =sometimes used, level 4 =often used, and level 5 =always used. Students answers were scored and

9 46 Table 4.4 Frequencies of 17 sub-strategies before the instruction Questions Subjects Pretest Means Pretest I. Prediction 1.Using knowledge of the topic, pictures and illustrations to predict the content before reading E 38 C Using understanding of the prior paragraph to predict the next paragraph II. Skimming 3.Skimming for the main idea E C E Independent Samples T-test Value(P) (.189) (.652) (.809) III. Scanning 4.Scanning for important information IV. Guessing the unknown words C E C (.828) 5.Figuring out the complete E sentence first, and then guessing the unfamiliar words C Guessing the meanings of E unknown words or phrases from the context C Focusing on the understanding of the whole content rather than looking up each new word in the dictionary 8.Skipping the unknown words and go on reading E C E C (.614) (.828).108 (.914) (.920) V. Making inference

10 47 9.Using tables, figures, and pictures in text to better understand while reading 10.Using context clues to guess the missing information 11.Inferring the intention of the writer beyond the literal meanings VI. Self-monitoring 12.Adjusting the reading speed based on the difficulty of the articles and the time limitation for the reading 13.Thinking more times to comprehend the parts I do not understand 14.Seeking the strategy to better comprehend while having difficulty in reading 15.Knowing which strategy is used during the reading process 16.Deciding what to read carefully and what to ignore 17.Adjusting my prediction based on the content gradually E C E C E C E C E C E C E C E C E C (.720) (.909) (.208) (.812) (.418).391 (.697) (.899) (.788).130 (.897) *p.05 Note: E stood for the experimental group, and C for the control group For more statistical evidence, the inter-group differences were computed by Independent Sample T-test. The results presented in Table 4.4 indicated no significant difference in the use of strategies, i.e., prediction (Appendix C: items 1-2), skimming (Appendix C: items 3), scanning (Appendix C: items 4), guessing the meanings of

11 48 words (Appendix C: items 5-8), making inference (Appendix C: items 9-11), and self-monitoring (Appendix C: items 12-17) between the two groups before reading strategies instruction (p>.05). The t-test showed that the difference did not reach significant level Comparison of Students Use of Reading Strategies after the Instruction To examine inter-group differences in the use of reading strategies after reading strategies instruction, mean values were calculated for these seventeen items (see Table 4.5). Independent Sample T-test was then conducted to gain the frequencies of using the reading strategies for the two groups (see Table 4.5). The frequencies of using reading strategies presented in Table 4.5 indicated that the participants in the experimental group used these sub-strategies more often than those in the control group in the posttest. All the means in the experimental group were higher than those in the control group. In the posttest, the frequencies of using the seventeen sub-strategies increased. After receiving reading strategies instruction, the participants in the experimental group were more familiar with the sub-strategies and used them more frequently. Among these sub-strategies, the participants used (1) skipping the unknown words and go on reading, (2) scanning for important information, (3) using tables, figures and pictures in texts to better understand, (4) skimming for the main idea, and (5) guessing the meanings of unknown words or phrases from the context most often.

12 49 Table 4.5 Frequencies of 17 sub-strategies after the instruction Questions Subjects Posttest Means Posttest I. Prediction 1. Using knowledge of the topic, E pictures and illustrations to predict the content before reading C Independent Samples T-test Value(P) (.000*) 2. Using understanding of the prior paragraph to predict the next paragraph II. Skimming 3.Skimming for the main idea E C E C (.000*) (.000*) III. Scanning 4.Scanning for important information IV. Guessing the unknown words E C (.000*) 5. Figuring out the complete sentence first, and then guessing the unfamiliar words E (.000*) C Guessing the meanings of E unknown words or phrases from the context C (.000*) 7. Focusing on the understanding of the whole content rather than looking up each new word in the dictionary E C (.000*) 8. Skipping the unknown words and go on reading. E C (.000*)

13 50 V. Making inference 9. Using tables, figures, and pictures in text to better understand while reading 10.Using context clues to guess the missing information E C E C (.000*) (.000*) 11. Inferring the intention of the writer beyond the literal meanings VI. Self-monitoring 12. Adjusting the reading speed based on the difficulty of the articles and the time limitation for the reading E C E C Thinking more times to E comprehend the parts I do not understand. C (.202) (.000*) (.001*) 14. Seeking the strategy to better comprehend while having difficulty in reading 15. Knowing which strategy is used during the reading process E C E C (.001*).680 (.499) 16. Deciding what to read carefully E and what to ignore C (.369) 17. Adjusting my prediction based on the content gradually E C (.217) *p.05 In the posttest, the seldom-used techniques in the experimental group were (1) knowing which strategy is used during the reading process, and (2) inferring the intention of the writer beyond the literal meanings. The infrequent use of these

16 53 instruction Students Responses to Question 1: My Reflection on Learning the Instructed Strategies This section demonstrates the frequencies and percentages of the participants responses to their reflection on learning the instructed strategies after the instruction. The participants responses to Items 3-8 in the questionnaire were calculated for statistical analysis. The statistical results are shown in Table 4.6. As Table 4.6 illustrates, the results on Items 3, 4, 5, and 7 suggested that most of the participants had positive responses toward their learning of these instructed strategies after the instruction. For instance, 81.58% (18.42% for strongly agreed and 63.16% for agreed) of the participants agreed that they had learned how to skim for the main idea, and 84.21% (31.58% for strongly agreed and 52.63% for agreed) of them agreed that they had learned how to scan for important information. Besides, the percentages of participants who reported their learning of the other three strategies are also rather high, with 76.32% (26.32% for strongly agreed and 50% for agreed) for making predictions, and 78.94% (23.68% for strongly agreed and 55.26% for agreed) for guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words from context. The results imply that the explicit strategy instruction did help most of the participants acquire these instructed strategies. Nevertheless, the percentage of participants who either strongly agreed or agreed with Item 6 and 8 is much lower. For example, 63.16% (18.42% for strongly agreed and 44.74% for agreed) of the participants agreed that they had learned how to make inferences. Only % (13.16% for strongly agreed and 34.21% for agreed) of the participants reported that they had learned to do self-monitoring. These results correspond to the results of Questionnaire I-B in this study that most of the participants can not infer the writers intention beyond the

17 54 literal meanings. Also most of them seldom used some sub-strategies under self-monitoring (see Table 4.5). This indicates that the explicit strategy instruction did not help most of the participants acquire all of these six strategies. Table 4.6 Frequencies and Percentages of Participants Responses to Question 1: My Reflection on Learning the Instructed Strategies Item Response n % 3. I have learned how to skim for the main idea. SA A N D I have learned how to scan for the important information. SA A N D I have learned how to make predictions. SA A N D I have learned how to make inference. SA A N

18 55 D I have learned how to guess the meanings of unfamiliar words from context. SA A N D I have learned how to do self-monitoring. SA A N D Note. SA: Strongly Agree A: Agree N: Neutral D: Disagree : Strongly Disagree n=38 It is a satisfying result that most of the participants had a positive response toward their reflection on learning the instructed strategies, such as skimming for the main idea, scanning for the important information, making predictions, and guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words from context. The result highlights the importance of strategy instruction. Therefore, the results on Items 3, 4, 5 and 7 reflect that the explicit strategy instruction helped facilitate the participants acquisition of skimming, scanning, making prediction, and word-guessing. This supports what Oxford (1990) emphasized that strategy training could help students make effective use of multiple strategies. The result on Item 8 revealed that of the six instructed strategies, doing

19 56 self-monitoring while reading was reported by most of the participants as the most difficult strategy to be acquired. This may be one possible explanation for the participants difficulty in learning this strategy. Another possible reason is that during the instruction of this strategy, students were required to think about their reading process; however, Taiwan junior high school students seldom have the chance to think. In the past, they tend to directly accept what teachers taught rather than think by themselves. Therefore, it is not easy for JHS students to get used to self-monitoring Students Responses to Question 2: My Applying the Instructed Strategies to the Reading Comprehension Tests In this section, the frequencies and percentages of the participants responses to their applying the instructed strategies to reading comprehension tests are illustrated. Items in the questionnaire were designed to investigate whether the participants would use the instructed strategies in taking reading comprehension tests. The participants responses to these items were collected for the statistical analysis. The statistical results are displayed in Table 4.7.

20 57 Table 4.7 Frequencies and Percentages of Participants Responses to Question 2: My Applying the Instructed Strategies to the Reading Comprehension Tests Item Response n % 14. I once used the strategy skimming for the main idea in taking a reading comprehension test. SA A N D I once used the strategy scanning for important information in taking a reading comprehension test. SA A N D I once used the strategy making predictions in taking a reading comprehension test. SA A N D I once used the strategy making inferences in taking a reading comprehension test. SA A N D I once used the strategy guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words from context in taking a reading comprehension test. SA A N D I once used the strategy doing self-monitoring in taking a reading comprehension test. SA A N D Note. SA: Strongly Agree A: Agree N: Neutral D: Disagree : Strongly Disagree n=38

21 58 As shown in Table 4.7, the results on Items 14, 15, 17 and 18 reveal that a majority of participants once applied the instructed strategies in taking reading comprehension tests, with 78.95% (18.42% for strongly agreed and 60.53% for agreed) of the participants skimming for the main idea, 76.32% (28.95% for strongly agreed and 47.37% for agreed) scanning for information, 71.05% (23.68% for strongly agreed and 47.37% for agreed) making inference, and 73.68% (21.05% for strongly agreed and 52.63% for agreed) guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words from context. In addition, 63.16% (18.42% for strongly agreed and 44.74% for agreed) of the participants reported their use of the strategy making predictions. On the contrary, only 44.74% of participants (7.89 % for strongly agreed and 36.84% for agreed) used the strategy doing self-monitoring least. The results suggest that skimming for the main idea, scanning for important information, making inference, and guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words from context were reported by most of the participants as practical strategies in taking a reading comprehension test. In contrast, making predictions and doing self-monitoring may not be useful test-taking strategies for most of them. One possible reason for the outcome is that the former four strategies are often related to the types of questions in most reading comprehension tests, i.e., main idea question, detail question, inference question, and vocabulary question. Therefore, students are more familiar with these four types of questions in taking a reading comprehension test. On the contrary, with respect to Item 16, although there were only 63.16% of the participants reporting their use of the strategy making predictions in tests, it is used as not often as the four strategies. The reason may be, in the elementary reading comprehension test, titles are seldom given ahead of the article, and the whole article is not long. The result on Item 19 reveals that most of the participants did not report

22 59 their use of the strategy doing self-monitoring in tests. One possible explanation is that the questions in most reading comprehension tests they took are often multiple choice questions; therefore, they did not need a thinking process to answer these questions. This was consistent with the result in Questionnaire I-B (see Table 4.5) Students Responses to Question 3: My Belief in the Effects of Explicit Reading Strategies Instruction This section demonstrates the frequencies and percentages of the participants responses to Items 9-13 in the questionnaire. These items were designed to evaluate the participants belief in the effects of explicit strategies instruction. The participants responses to these items were collected for the statistical analysis. The statistical results are displayed in Table 4.8. Table 4.8 summarizes the frequencies and percentages of the participants belief in the effects of explicit reading strategies instruction. The results on Items 9, 12 and 13 suggested that most of the participants beliefs in the effects of the instruction are positive. For instance, the percentages of participants who either strongly agreed or agreed with Item 9 (84.21%), Item 12 (81.58%) and Item 13 (76.32%) were the top three highest ones. This revealed that the promotion of reading ability and the improvement on reading comprehension tests were regarded by a majority of participants as the most beneficial gains from the instruction. In addition, the result on Item 10 indicated that many of the participants (55.27%) considered the keen interest in English learning a benefit. However, only 34.21% of the participants viewed the enhancement of motivation in English learning as a benefit from the instruction.

25 62 instruction as much as possible. It is hoped that strategy instruction would help students become strategic readers. Table 4.9 Frequencies and Percentages of Participants Responses to Question 4: My Attitude toward the Way to Teach the Instructed Strategies Item Response n % 1. I like to learn these instructed strategies. SA A N D I like the teaching method of these strategies. SA A N D I hope there will be more teaching of reading strategies in English class. SA A N D Note. SA: Strongly Agree A: Agree N: Neutral D: Disagree : Strongly Disagree n= Students Responses to Question 5: My Liking of the Instructed Strategies This section displays the participants responses to their liking of the instructed strategies. Item 1 in the second part of the questionnaire was designed to collect the data for the statistical analysis. The participants were asked to choose one or two strategies which were the most practical to them. Then, their responses were summarized by the use of frequencies and percentages. The statistical result is presented in Table To get a clear comparison of the strategies ranked by the participants, a bar chart is shown in Figure 4.1.

26 63 Table 4.10 Ranking of the Frequency of Participants Responses to Question 5: My Liking of the Instructed Strategies Strategy Scanning for important information Skimming for the main idea Guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words from context Making inferences Making predictions Doing self-monitor Count % (Responses) Percentage Skimming for the main idea Scanning for information Making prediction Making inference Guessing word-meanings from context Doing selfmonitor Strategy Figure 4.1 Percentages of Participants Responses to Their Liking of the Instructed Strategies As Figure 4.1 illustrates, the percentage of the participants responses to the strategy scanning for important information is the highest % of the

27 64 participants responses supports that this strategy is the most practical one. That is, most of the participants regarded this strategy as the most useful one for them to comprehend a text. Skimming for the main idea is another strategy reported by many of the participants (26.39%) as a practical strategy, followed by guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words from context (16.67%), making inferences (12.50%), making predictions (6.94%) and doing self-monitor (4.17%). These results suggest that among the six instructed strategies, scanning for important information skimming for the main idea and guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words from context are the most three practical ones for these junior high school students. Scanning for important information is the sufficient strategy to help students get the clearly answer without reading word by word or sentence by sentence. As for skimming for the main idea, many of the participants considered it as a practical strategy. Since the participants in this study are all the eighth-grade high school students, they have to take a lot of English reading comprehension tests to prepare for the senior high school entrance examination. Thus, they may consider this strategy useful in taking a test because of the time limit. As for guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words from context, according to Chern (1993) & Field (1985), Chinese students tended to look up the words in a dictionary instead of guessing their meanings from context when encountering unfamiliar words. That is why most of the participants regarded word-guessing strategy as the practical one, for this may help them overcome what Alderson (1984) called the largest obstacle to reading for ESL readers a lack of vocabulary knowledge. Accordingly, helping Chinese students develop the ability to guess word-meanings from context should be a priority in the English reading class (Chern, 1993). Besides, many second language researchers also emphasize that teaching ESL learners techniques to guess word-meanings from context helps promote their reading comprehension (Coady,

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