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Type: Journal article
Title: The influence of question type, text availability, answer confidence and language background on student comprehension of an expository text
Author: Marmolejo-Ramos, F.
Miller, J.
Habel, C.
Citation: Higher Education Research and Development, 2014; 33(4):712-727
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 0729-4360
Statement of
Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, Julia Miller and Chad Habel
Abstract: Reading is an essential activity for learning at university, but lecturers are not always experienced in setting appropriate questions to test understanding of texts. In other words, their assessments may not be ‘constructively aligned’ with the learning outcomes they hope their students to exhibit. In examination conditions, questions may be set with insufficient time for re-reading available texts, thus drawing more on students' powers of recall than on deeper learning and comprehension. Previous research has been undertaken on reading comprehension generally, but no research has yet explored the interaction of factors such as text availability (re-reading of texts), text layout, question type and respondents' language background. This study explores the correctness of 50 participants' responses to a set reading task based on an expository text, and participants' confidence in giving those answers, in relation to four factors: the effects of question type; text availability; text layout; and language background. The main findings are that non-native speakers of English have more difficulty and less confidence in answering implicit questions and that reviewing the text has a significant effect on response correctness for implicit questions. The form of text layout did not show a significant effect, however. Our results have implications for lecturers who set readings and questions for comprehension and others who use reading comprehension as part of their ‘hidden curriculum’. Further research in this area is required to determine more precisely the effects of language background.
Keywords: academic reading; confidence ratings; expository texts; higher education; question type; text availability; text comprehension
Description: Published online: 19 Dec 2013
Rights: © 2013 HERDSA
RMID: 0030024057
DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2013.863841
Appears in Collections:Education publications

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