Local text cohesion, reading ability and individual science aspirations: key factors influencing comprehension in science classes

Hall, Sophie and Kowalski, Rebecca and Paterson, Kevin B. and Basran, Jaskaran and Filik, Ruth and Maltby, John (2015) Local text cohesion, reading ability and individual science aspirations: key factors influencing comprehension in science classes. British Educational Research Journal, 41 (1). pp. 122-142. ISSN 0141-1926

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/berj.3134

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Item Type:Article
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Abstract

In response to the concern of the need to improve the scientific skills of school children, this study
investigated the influence of text design (in terms of text cohesion) and individual differences, with
the aim of identifying pathways to improving science education in early secondary school (Key
Stage 3). One hundred and four secondary school children (56 females, 48 males), aged 12–13
years took part in the study. To assess the influence of local cohesion (lexical and grammatical links
between adjacent sentences) in science texts, we measured students’ comprehension (through multiple
choice questions) of science text that was high and low in local cohesion. To explore the role of
individual differences, students completed tests to measure general reading ability, general intelligence,
facets of conscientiousness, science self-concept and individual, friends and family aspirations
in science. Students were more accurate in answering comprehension questions after reading
text that was high in cohesion than low in cohesion, suggesting that high local text cohesion
improved students’ comprehension of science text. Reading ability predicted increased comprehension
for both text designs. Individual aspirations in science accounted for unique variance for comprehension
for high cohesion text. Implications for the teaching of secondary school science are
discussed.

Keywords:Education, comprehension, bmjolf, bmjgoldcheck, NotOAChecked
Subjects:X Education > X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:14305
Deposited On:11 Jun 2014 13:40

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