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The IERI Research Community :: Projects

Promoting Active Reading Strategies to Improve Students' Understanding of Science

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:
Danielle McNamara

CATEGORIES:
Reading, Science

PROJECT OVERVIEW:
Background: A primary mode of science instruction involves the reading of challenging expository texts. Unfortunately, many students do not possess the necessary reading strategies required to productively learn from such activities. To help remedy this problem, this research project developed several innovative instructional interventions.

Purpose: The purpose of this project, Promoting Active Reading Strategies, was to develop instructional interventions that would significantly improve student understanding while reading challenging expository science texts. The first component of the project involved the creation of a classroom-based training program called SERT (Self-Explanation Reading Training). Building upon this research, the project then developed a computer-based training system called iSTART (Interactive Strategy Trainer for Active Reading and Thinking) which provides students with customized instruction based upon their individual ability level.

Intervention: This research examined two different types of interventions situated in the classroom. The first, SERT, was delivered in a lecture-style format by the students high school teachers. The second, iSTART, was an individualized adaptive computer-based training.

Setting: Middle school and high school science classrooms were included in different states: Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Research Design: During the studies a series of pretest-intervention-posttest mixed factor designs were used. Individual difference variables were included to examine interactions between student ability and the effectiveness of strategy training. The study participants were 5,358 8th 12th grade students in schools located in Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee. There were several control/comparison conditions employed across the studies, such as no-strategy control condition and alternative reading strategy comparison conditions. There were several different outcome measures, the two most important being the levels of comprehension and Self-Explanation quality. These included both standardized measures (e.g., Gate-MacGinitie) and assessments designed by our research team (e.g., prior science domain knowledge). Particularly noteworthy was the creation of new techniques for coding self-explanations using both human-raters and computer-based algorithms.

Findings: This project successfully demonstrated that providing students with reading strategy training through the SERT and iSTART programs can significantly improve students understanding of challenging expository science texts. Especially encouraging was the fact that these results are most strongly demonstrated for the students most in need - struggling readers. Furthermore, these improvements were rather robust and were often observed several months after training.

PROJECT PUBLICATIONS:
Best, R., Ozuru, Y., & McNamara, D. S. (2004). Self-explaining science texts: Strategies, knowledge, and reading skill. In Y. B. Yasmin, W. A., Sandoval, N. Enyedy, A. S. Nixon, & F. Herrera (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the Learning Sciences: Embracing diversity in the learning sciences (pp. 89-96). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Best, R. M., Rowe, M, Ozuru, Y., & McNamara, D. S. (2005). Deep-level comprehension of science texts: The role of the reader and the text. Topics in Language Disorders, 25, 62 - 80.

Boonthum, C., Levinstein, I. B., & McNamara, D. S. (in press). Evaluating self-explanations in iSTART: Word matching, latent semantic analysis, and topic models. In A. Kao, & S. Poteet (Eds.), Natural Language Processing and Text Mining. London: Springer-Verlag, UK.

Briner, S. W., McCarthy, P. M., & McNamara, D. S. (in press). Automating text propositionalization: A tool and an assessment of its needs and functions. To appear in the Proceedings of the 28th annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

Cottrell, K., & McNamara, D. S. (2002). Cognitive precursors to science comprehension. In W. D. Gray & C. Schunn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 24th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 244 - 249). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Graesser, A. C (in press). An introduction to strategic reading comprehension. In D. S. McNamara (Ed.), Reading Comprehension Strategies: Theories, interventions, and technologies. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Graesser, A. C., Hu, X., & McNamara, D. S. (2005). Computerized learning environments that incorporate research in discourse psychology, cognitive science, and computational linguistics. In A. F. Healy (Ed.), Experimental cognitive psychology and its applications: Festschrift in honor of Lyle Bourne, Walter Kintsch, and Thomas Landauer (pp. 183 - 194). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Graesser, A., McNamara, D. S., & VanLehn, K. (2005). Scaffolding deep comprehension strategies through Point & Query, AutoTutor, and iSTART. Educational Psychologist, 40, 225 - 234.

Kurby, C. A., Wiemer-Hastings, K., Ganduri, N., Magliano, J. P., Millis, K. K., & McNamara, D. S. (2003). Computerizing reading training: Evaluation of a latent semantic analysis space for science text. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 35, 244 - 250.

Levinstein, I. B., McNamara, D. S., Boonthum, C., Pillarisetti, S. P., & Yadavalli, K. (2003). Web-based intervention for higher-order reading skills. In D. Lassner & C. McNaught (Eds.), Proceedings of the ED-MEDIA 2003 World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 835 - 841). Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.

Louwerse, M. M., Graesser, A. C., McNamara, D. S., Bell, C., & Lu, S. (under review). Paying attention to embodied conversational agents.

Magliano, J. P., Millis, K. K., Ozuru, Y., & McNamara, D. S. (in press). A Multidimensional Framework to Evaluate Reading Assessment Tools. In D. S. McNamara (Ed.), Reading Comprehension Strategies: Theories, interventions, and technologies. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Magliano, J. P., Todaro, S. Millis, K. K., Wiemer-Hastings, K., Kim, H. J., & McNamara, D. S., (2005). Changes in reading strategies as a function of reading training: A comparison of live and computerized training. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32, 185-208.

Magliano, J. P., Wiemer-Hastings, K., Millis, K. K., Mu oz, B. D., & McNamara, D. S. (2002). Using latent semantic analysis to assess reader strategies. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 34, 181-188.

McNamara, D. S. (2001). Speed reading. In N. J. Smelser & P. B. Bates (Eds.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.

McNamara, D. S. (2004). SERT: Self-explanation reading training. Discourse Processes, 38, 1 -30.

McNamara, D. S. (2004). Aprendiendo a traves de los textos: efectos de la estructura del texto y las estrategias de los lectores. Signos, 37, 123-159.

McNamara, D. S. (Ed.). (in press). Reading Comprehension Strategies: Theory, Interventions, and Technologies. Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ.

McNamara, D. S., Best, R. M., & Castellano, C. (2003). Learning from text: Facilitating and enhancing comprehension. Speechpathology.com, Article 45.

McNamara, D. S., Boonthum, C., Levinstein, I. B., & Millis, K. (in press). Using LSA and word-based measures to assess self-explanations in iSTART. In T. Landauer, D. S. McNamara, S. Dennis, & W. Kintsch (Eds.), LSA: A Road to Meaning. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

McNamara, D. S. & the CSEP lab (2001-2005). Promoting active reading strategies to improve undergraduate students' understanding of science. Annual project reports submitted to the National Science Foundation, IERI.

McNamara, D. S., de Vega, M., & O'Reilly, T. (in press). Comprehension skill, inference making, and the role of knowledge. In F. Schmalhofer & C. A. Perfetti (Eds.), Higher level language processes in the brain: Inference and comprehension processes. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

McNamara, D. S., Levinstein, I. B., & Boonthum, C. (2004). iSTART: Interactive strategy trainer for active reading and thinking. Behavioral Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 36, 222 - 233.

McNamara, D. S., & O'Reilly, T. (2002). Learning: Knowledge acquisition, representation, and organization. In J. W. Guthrie (Ed.), The encyclopedia of education. New York: Macmillan Reference.

McNamara, D. S., & O'Reilly, T. (in press). Theories of comprehension skill: Knowledge and strategies versus capacity and suppression. In F. Columbus (Ed.), Progress in Experimental Psychology Research. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

McNamara, D. S., O Reilly, T. P., Best, R. M., & Ozuru, Y. (in press). Improving adolescent students reading comprehension with iSTART. Journal of Educational Computing Research.

McNamara, D. S., O Reilly, T., Rowe, M., Boonthum, C., & Levinstein, I. B. (submitted). iSTART: A web-based tutor that teaches self-explanation and metacognitive reading strategies. In D. S. McNamara (Ed.), Reading Comprehension Strategies: Theories, interventions, and technologies. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

McNamara, D. S., Ozuru, Y., Best, R., & O'Reilly, T. (in press). A Reading Strategy Framework. In D. S. McNamara (Ed.), Reading Comprehension Strategies: Theories, Interventions, and Technologies. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

McNamara, D. S., & Shapiro, A. M. (2005). Multimedia and hypermedia Solutions for promoting metacognitive engagement, coherence, and learning. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 33, 1 - 29.

Millis, K. K., Kim, H. J., Todaro, S. Magliano, J., Wiemer-Hastings, K., & McNamara, D. (2004). Identifying reading strategies using latent semantic analysis: Comparing semantic benchmarks. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36, 213 - 221.

Millis, K. K., Magliano, J. P., & Todaro, S. (in press). Measuring discourse-level processes with verbal protocols and latent semantic analysis. Scientific Studies of Reading.

Millis, K. K, Magliano, J. P., Wiemer-Hastings, K., & McNamara, D. S. (2001). Using LSA in a computer-based test of reading comprehension. In J. D. Moore, C. Luckhardt-Redfield, & W. L. Johnson (Eds.), Artificial intelligence in education: AI-ED in the wired and wireless future: Vol. 68. Frontiers in artificial intelligence and applications (pp. 583 - 585). Amsterdam: IOS Press.

Millis, K., Magliano, J., Wiemer-Hastings, K., Todaro, S., & McNamara, D. S. (in press). Assessing comprehension with Latent Semantic Analysis. In T. Landauer, D. S., McNamara, S. Dennis, & W. Kintsch (Eds.), LSA: A Road to Meaning. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Mu oz, B., Magliano, J. P., Sheridan, R., & McNamara, D. S. (in press). Typing versus thinking aloud when reading: Implications for computer-based assessment and training tools. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers.

O'Reilly, T., Best, R., & McNamara, D. S. (2004). Self-explanation reading training: Effects for low-knowledge readers. In K. Forbus, D. Gentner, & T. Regier (Eds.), Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1053 - 1058). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

O'Reilly, T., & McNamara, D. S. (2002). What's a science student to do? In W. D. Gray & C. Schunn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 24th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 726 - 731). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

O Reilly, T., & McNamara, D. S. (Accepted pending revision). Success in high school science courses: The impact of domain knowledge, reading skill, and reading strategies. American Educational Research Journal.

O'Reilly, T. P., Sinclair, G. P., & McNamara, D. S. (2004). iSTART: A web-based reading strategy intervention that improves students science comprehension. In Kinshuk, D. G. Sampson, & P. Isa as (Eds.), Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in the Digital Age: CELDA 2004 (pp. 173-180). Lisbon, Portugal: IADIS Press.

O'Reilly, T. P., Sinclair, G. P., & McNamara, D. S. (2004). Reading strategy training: Automated versus live. In K. Forbus, D. Gentner, T. Regier (Eds.), In K. Forbus, D. Gentner, & T. Regier (Eds.), Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1059-1064). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

O Reilly, T., Taylor, R. S., & McNamara, D. S. (2006). Classroom based reading strategy training: Self-explanation vs. reading control. To appear in the Proceedings of the 28th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Ozuru, Y., Best, R., & McNamara, D. S. (2004). Contribution of reading skill to learning from expository texts. In K. Forbus, D. Gentner, & T. Regier (Eds.), Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1071-1076). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Rus, V., McCarthy, P. M., & Graesser, A. C. (2006). Analysus of a text entailer. In A. Gelbukh (Ed.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Computational Linguistics in intelligent Text Processing: 7th International Conference (pp. 287 298). New York: Springer Verlag.

Taylor, R. S., O Reilly, T., Rowe, M., & McNamara, D. S. (2006). Improving understanding of science texts: iSTART strategy training vs. web design training. To appear in the Proceedings of the 28th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Taylor, R. S., O'Reilly, T., Sinclair, G. P., & McNamara, D. S. (2006). Enhancing learning of expository science texts in a remedial reading classroom via iSTART. To appear in the Proceedings of the 7th International Conference of the Learning Sciences.

Todaro, S., Magliano, J. P., Millis, K. K., Kurby, C. A., & McNamara, D. S. (under revision). Understanding factors that influence the content and form of verbal protocols: The roles of the reader and the text. Manuscript submitted to Discourse Processes.

Todaro, S., Magliano, J., Millis, K., & McNamara, D. S. (2005). The influence of reading skill on the given-new strategy. In B. G. Bara, L. Barsalou, & M. Bucciarelli (Eds.) Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2562). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Todaro, S. A., Magliano, J. P., Millis, K. K., McNamara, D. S., & Kurby, C. C. (2004). Intra-clause constraints in think-aloud protocols. In K. Forbus, D. Gentner, & T. Regier (Eds.), Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1642). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

VanderVeen, A., Huff, K., Gierl, M., McNamara, D. S., Louwerse, M., & Graesser, A. C. (in press). Developing and validating instructionally relevant reading competency profiles measured by the critical reading sections of the SAT. In D. S. McNamara (Ed.), Reading Comprehension Strategies: Theories, interventions, and technologies. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

ON THE WEB:
You can learn more about this project by visiting http://csep.psyc.memphis.edu/istart/front.htm.