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Title: Strategy intervention to enhance reading comprehension of 15-year-old students in Mexico
Author: Villanueva Aguilera, Alaidde Berenice
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 426X
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2014
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Results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) places Mexico at the lower end of a list of 32 countries in the evaluation of students’ reading ability. Research suggests that students’ reading comprehension can be improved by the direct teaching of reading strategies. Previous studies analysing the effectiveness of strategy training have demonstrated that comprehension can be enhanced by making students aware of their thinking while reading, and by teaching them to monitor their understanding. However, these studies focus only on comprehension of texts in English language and it is unclear whether these findings can be transferred to the Mexican context. It might be hypothesised that the direct teaching of reading strategies might also foster the comprehension of Spanish texts but few studies have attempted to test this hypothesis empirically. This thesis reports on a quasi-randomised experimental intervention that was carried out in a secondary school located in a low-income working class neighbourhood in Mexico City. All students (N=177) in their last year of compulsory education were selected to participate in the project. All participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups: a) strategy group (direct teaching of reading strategies) and b) active control group. Students in the strategy group were taught cognitive and metacognitive strategies to test whether this would improve their reading comprehension. The intervention was carried out over a 6-month time period. The researcher taught both groups during the first two months and introduced the strategies. Two Spanish teachers subsequently practiced the strategies with the students for another two months. No further teaching of strategies was provided in the last two months. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative data analyses. Improvements in comprehension were assessed using a comprehension test developed on the basis of material from PISA assessments. A self-reported instrument helped to examine differences in the reported use of reading strategies and findings from this instrument were corroborated with evidence from a ‘think aloud’ verbal report. Reading comprehension was assessed before the intervention and at two and six months. Strategy use was elicited before the intervention and at two months. The results suggest that both groups improved their reading comprehension after the intervention but only the strategy group maintained their gains over time. Students in the strategy group more often reported to be aware of and use reading strategies than their peers in the control group. Both findings are statistically significant. However, a correlation test found no statistical significant correlation between gain scores of self-reported use of strategies and reading comprehension. This highlights the importance of employing multiple outcome measures to assess the effectiveness of reading comprehension instruction.
Supervisor: Marsden, Emma Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available