Date of Award

1985

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Abstract

The ability to read materially critically is recognized as a goal of educators. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of training metacognitive strategies on critical reading ability. Critical reading was defined as the ability to judge or evaluate written materials and to compare them against some norm or standard. Metacognitive strategies encourage a conscious awareness of and/or control over one's own mental processes. A review of literature indicated that past researchers had considered critical reading as a distinct skill area, but more recently, educators have begun to recognize it as a part of the overall comprehension process. Little evidence could be found in the literature of an effective method for increasing critical reading ability. It was the hypothesis of this study that training strategies which have been shown to increase overall comprehension could be specifically adapted to increase critical reading ability. Strategies selected for instruction included: questioning, summarizing, predicting, and speculating about the author's tone or purpose. This three-week study was conducted using 50 low reading ability college students as subjects. One experimental group was instructed through the use of a Metacognitive Strategies Training Package specifically designed to increase critical reading ability. These subjects were taught how to use selected strategies and then given the opportunity to practice using these strategies in a group situation using metacognitive techniques. A second experimental group was instructed with the same strategies through the use of written materials; no metacognitive element was included in this instruction. A third group served as a control group. Critical reading ability, general comprehension ability, appropriate use of instructed strategies, and changes in attitude were evaluated. Results were analyzed using a mixed analysis of variance procedure. Although subjects appeared to become more adept at using instructed strategies to critically analyze text material, limited statistically significant effects of instructional procedures were found. Possible reasons for non-significant results include: lack of appropriate testing instruments, lack of transference from oral tasks involved in instructional procedures to written requirements of testing instruments, poor attitude of students, and short time span of study.

Pages

321

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