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Title: Local text cohesion, reading ability and individual science aspirations: Key factors influencing comprehension in science classes
Authors: Hall, Sophie S.
Kowalski, Rebecca Kowalski
Paterson, Kevin B.
Basran, Jaskaran
Filik, Ruth
Maltby, John
First Published: 24-Feb-2014
Publisher: Wiley for British Educational Research Association (BERA)
Citation: British Educational Research Journal, 2015, 41 (1), pp. 122-142
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.
DOI Link: 10.1002/berj.3134
ISSN: 0141-1926
eISSN: 1469-3518
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2014, Wiley. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website. Following the embargo period this version is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License ( ), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

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