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Title:Knowledge Acquisition in the Content Area Classroom: Exploring the Consequences of Instruction (Reading Comprehension)
Author(s):Gallagher, Margaret C.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:A series of studies designed to address basic questions about instruction in subject areas such as science and social studies at the elementary level were described and findings reported. The focus of investigation was group discussion of textbook content, and the basic questions addressed concerned the effects of instruction in terms of students' knowledge acquisition and their independent reading comprehension of novel content.
Subjects for the studies were fourth grade students. Instructional treatment conditions were created to distinguish two primary methods of treating text content during class discussion: (1) instruction which isolated brief segments of text for oral reading and subsequent discussion, modeled on conventional practice in elementary classrooms and labeled Discrete; and (2) instruction which focused on larger content units (a subsection rather than a paragraph), designed to promote students' abilities to relate information within and across sections of text, labeled Integrative. An independent reading condition, with no instruction, served as a control.
Students either read silently or participated in teacher-directed instruction, which included guided discussion of text content, after reading. The content was a series of twelve articles about three insect societies in a specially prepared booklet entitled Insect Societies, discussed and/or read over a twelve-day instructional period. Prior to reading the articles students were administered a series of pretests designed to assess domain-specific factual knowlege, abilities to use texts as information sources, and approach to learning from texts. During the instructional period students completed a daily test of knowledge acquired after reading or instruction, without access to the text. These measures assessed understanding of factual information, ability to construct explanations, and application of knowledge in new contexts. At the conclusion of the study, all pretests were administered as posttests. Additionally, transfer to independent reading comprehension was assessed through measures constructed for each of three passages varying in degree of relatedness to the instructional material.
Principal findings indicate that instruction significantly enhances both the amount and kind of knowledge students' acquire. Further, Intergrative instruction is more effective than Discrete instruction with respect to students' knowledge acquisition and independent reading comprehension of both related and unrelated material.
Issue Date:1985
Description:404 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1985.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8600188
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1985

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