Effects of Induced Schemata Upon Intermediate and Advanced High School ESOL Students' Reading Comprehension of Selected Expository Passages.

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Cappucia Ben-Barka, Alba
De Lorenzo, William E.
This study investigated the effects of induced schemata upon the reading comprehension of intermediate or advanced high school ESOL students. A secondary purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between subjects' reading comprehension and: (1) the quality of their domain-specific prior knowledge; and (2) their metacognitive knowledge. The sample was comprised of 152 intermediate and advanced ESOL students from two high schools in a suburban Maryland school district. Subjects were randomly assigned to the training or control condition. Training was administered over five consecutive days. The investigator and an ESOL teacher alternated instruction to the control and experimental groups in order to balance instructor effects. Time and materials were the same and scripts were developed for both groups to ensure uniformity of instruction. Following training, subjects were tested using a 10-question multiple-choice test and a 34-item maze performance measure, both developed for and validated in the study. Additionally, subjects completed: (1) prediction and confidence ratings to assess their metacognitive knowledge; and (2) a free association task, following Langer's (1980) assessment/instructional prior knowledge paradigm. In reading expository test, subjects in the training group utilized a webbing technique whereas control group students used the SQ3R, a study skills method. In the second school, subjects (N=79) were also interviewed to further understand students' educational experiences. Data were analyzed using multivariate tests of covariance (MANCOVA). Results indicated no significant effects for inducement of schemata upon comprehension on both dependent measures and across levels of English language proficiency. Pearson Product Moment Correlation coefficients indicated a positive and significant relationship between subjects' reading comprehension performance scores and: (1) the quality of their domain- specific prior knowledge; and (2) metacognitive assessment of both quality and quantity of reading comprehension. No significant relationship was found between subjects' metacognitive assessment of their level of interest and their reading comprehension scores. The multiplicity of factors influencing subjects' performance suggested by the interviews calls for a cautious interpretation of the findings. Both limitations of the study and its implications for theory, research, and practice were provided.