Effectiveness of false correction strategy on science reading comprehension

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2008-05-01

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False-correction reading strategy theoretically prompted college students to activate their prior knowledge when provided false statements linked to a portion of their biology textbook. This strategy is based in elaborative interrogation theory, which suggests that prompting readers to answer interrogatives about text students are reading increases their comprehension of that text. These interrogatives always asked "why" statements pulled from a text, one sentence in length, were "true." True statements in this study based on a text were converted by the experimenter into false statements, one sentence in length. Students were requested to rewrite each statement (n=12) on average every 200 words in a text as they were reading, converting each false statement into a true statement. These students outperformed other students requested to reread the same biology text twice (an established placebo-control strategy). These students, in turn, outperformed still other students reading an unrelated control text taken from the same textbook used only to establish a prior knowledge baseline for all students included in this study. Students participating in this study were enrolled students in an undergraduate introductory general biology course designed for non-majors. A three-group, posttest-only, randomized experimental control-group design was used to prevent pretest activation of students' prior knowledge thus increasing chances of producing evidence of false-correction effectiveness and to begin augmenting potential generalizability to science classrooms. Students' (n=357) general biology knowledge, verbal ability, and attempts to use the false correction strategy were collected and analyzed. Eight of the participants were interviewed by the researcher in a first attempt in this domain to collect data on participants' points of view about the strategy. The results of this study are not yet recommended for use in authentic school settings as further research is indicated.

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