Reading in a Foreign Language
Volume 16, Number 2, October 2004
ISSN 1539-0578

Reading in a Foreign Language: October 2004: abstracts

Statistical procedures for research on L2 reading comprehension: An examination of ANOVA and Regression Models
Cindy Brantmeier

Through a discussion of research that examines a plethora of variables involved in second language (L2) reading comprehension, the present study attempts to examine and analyze the statistical procedures utilized in studies of this nature. A review of recent research from the past five and a half years from four leading scientific journals of reading is offered. Research questions that motivate the selection of statistical procedures are examined for each study. Results show that Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) is utilized more than Regression Models (RM) primarily because researchers are asking questions about the variation between and within groups of variables and are not predicting performance on dependent variables via independent variables. The strong resemblances and differences between ANOVA and RMs are discussed in light of the review of research, and through a detailed critique of Brantmeier's (2003) study with different research questions and additional analysis of data, the relationship between statistical procedures is further exemplified. Explanation for the use of statistical procedures in light of recent theoretical models (Bernhardt, 2003) is included.
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Developing reading fluency in EFL: How assisted repeated reading and extensive reading affect fluency development
Etsuo Taguchi, Miyoko Takayasu-Maass, and Greta J. Gorsuch

Extensive research on reading in a first language has shown the critical role fluency plays in successful reading. Fluency alone, however, does not guarantee successful reading. Cognitive and metacognitive reading strategies and schemata that readers utilize also play important roles in constructing meaning from text. Most research, however, indicates that good reading ability is virtually impossible in the absence of fast and accurate word recognition skills and reading fluency. Therefore, efficient ways of improving fluency must be developed. In answer to this need, extensive reading programs have been implemented as an effective approach in EFL settings. Another method, repeated reading, seems equally promising. The main objective of the current study is to focus on whether and how assisted repeated reading with an auditory reading model enhances EFL readers' fluency. Some comparisons of Japanese university students' performances in repeated reading and extensive reading programs are also made in an attempt to see gains in reading fluency and comprehension, and to explore some characteristics which are unique to assisted repeated reading. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of participants' reading behaviors suggest that assisted repeated reading is equally as effective as extensive reading in increasing EFL readers' silent reading rate, and favorably affects learners' perceptions of reading activities. Furthermore, the results indicate the specific role the repetition and listening components of assisted repeated reading play to facilitate reading comprehension. Assisted repeated reading can potentially develop weak ESL/EFL readers' fluency and help them become independent readers by providing a distinct form of scaffolding.
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Towards enhanced second language reading comprehension assessment: Computerized versus manual scoring of written recall protocols
Peter J. Heinz

Second language (L2) reading comprehension assessment has long relied upon classical quantitative, product-oriented measurement techniques (i.e., multiple-choice and cloze) in both research and classroom assessment. As Bernhardt (1991) clearly demonstrated, these traditionally employed assessment methods are unable to capture the complex processes that take place between learner and text. The present paper has as its central purpose to enhance and extend the efficiency, consistency, and validity of an alternative measure, the immediate free recall protocol. Unlike the multiple choice or cloze tests, the recall protocol is a truly integrative authentic-task measure, firmly grounded on a constructivist model of reading comprehension. Given an understanding of the model, the literature base on memorial representation, and the formulation of a "weak-rule" scoring system, the present study demonstrates a computerized recall protocol scoring system that has high correlation with traditional manual scoring methods. The results further demonstrate that the computerized procedure provides efficiency in delivery and scoring, enhances consistency, is practical for large-scale assessment, and can lead to improved diagnostic and placement testing. Using this system as part of a multiple-measures approach, valid and reliable quantitative score information is readily available and directly linked to a qualitative database ripe for additional examination to advance L2 reading comprehension research and model development.
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