The effects of different levels of cognitive development upon the reading achievement scores of selected community college students

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1979

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect, if any, of students1 operational levels on their growth in reading vocabulary, comprehension, and application level reading prior to and after a term of reading instruction in a community college reading program. The subjects used in this study were eighty-two students who were enrolled in six classes of community college developmental reading on the basis of low appraisal test scores or difficulty in courses. The students ranged in age from seventeen to fifty-seven years, the average age being twenty-three. The Nelson Denny Reading Test Forms C and D were used to assess reading vocabulary and comprehension. The students1 scores on these tests served as their pre- (form D) and post-test (form C) scores. The test of application level reading, constructed by the investigator and evaluated by a panel of experts, consisted of passages which were taken from the Nelson Denny Reading Test in order to assure that the difficulty of each passage was equivalent in style and vocabulary to that of the other comprehension questions. The students' cognitive levels on various Piagetian tasks were assessed using the Lawson Classroom Test of Formal Operations, which consists of a demonstration by the investigator of fifteen items measuring conservation of weight and displaced volume, four items measuring proportional reasoning, and three items measuring probability. The students received thirty hours of instruction distributed each week as follows: vocabulary skills, thirty minutes; study skills, twenty minutes; comprehension skills, fifty minutes; outside reading assignments, twenty minutes; and, individually prescribed practice in all skills, forty minutes. The various reading skills were introduced in either a large group or small setting using slide-tape or teacher demonstrations accompanied by some student practice activities. The data was first examined using an analysis of variance to determine if students1 cognitive levels were significantly related to their respective achievement in reading vocabulary, comprehension, and application level reading on both pre- and post-assessments. A multiple linear regression was used to prepare the data for an analysis of covariance to determine if the post-test scores added significantly to the prediction of the criterion. Examination of the data revealed that ten percent of the subjects' scores reflected transitional operational performance, while only three percent reflected formal operational performance. Nineteen percent of the students demonstrated high concrete levels and sixty-eight percent demonstrated low concrete levels. [...]

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