Self-regulated learning strategies of successful developmental reading students
vi Table of Contents Acknowledgments iv List of Tables ix List of Figures x CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1 Introduction to the Problem 1 Background of the Study 4 Statement of the Problem 5 Purpose of the Study 6 Rationale 7 Research Questions 8 Significance of the Study 9 Definition of Terms 10 Assumptions and Limitations 11 Nature of the Study 12 Organization of the Remainder of the Study 13 CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 14 Reading/Study Strategies in College Coursework 15 SRLS in an Academic Setting 17 SRLS in a College Mission 20 Promoting SRLS in a Centralized Developmental Reading Curriculum 21
vii Faculty and Support Staff’s Responsibility in the Importance of SRLS 26 Quality Instructional Practices 29 The Use of Multiple Types of Data in Reading 36 Conclusion 37 CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY 39 Population 39 Setting 40 Research Questions 40 Research Design 40 Data Collection 47 Data Analysis 48 Conclusion 55 CHAPTER 4. RESULTS 56 Introduction 56 Overview of Results 57 Results of Research Question 1 58 Summary Research Question 1 89 Results of Research Question 2 91 Summary Research Question 2 117 Results of Research Question 3 119 Summary Research Question 3 144 Additional Findings SRLIS “Other” Category 146 Chapter Summary 149
viii CHAPTER 5. SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION OF RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 152 Study Summary 152 Discussion of Results 155 Conclusions 158 Recommendations 164 Chapter Summary 168 REFERENCES 170 APPENDIX A. METACOGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES QUESTIONNAIRE (MRSQ) APPENDIX B. SELF-REGULATED LEARNING INTERVIEW SCHEDULE (SRLIS) APPENDIX C. INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW RESPONSE FORM (IIRF)
ix List of Tables Table 1. Examples of SRLS Assigned to PF Category 49 Table 2. Examples of SRLS Assigned to ABP Category 51 Table 3. Examples of SRLS Assigned to LE Category 53 Table 4. Summary of SRLIS Sample Frequency Responses for the PF Category 87 Table 5. Summary of SRLIS Sample Frequency Responses for the ABP Category 114 Table 6. Summary of SRLIS Sample Frequency Responses for the LE Category 141
x List of Figures Figure 1. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 5 58 Figure 2. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 6 59 Figure 3. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 8 60 Figure 4. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 9 60 Figure 5. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 11 61 Figure 6. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 12 62 Figure 7. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 19 62 Figure 8. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 20 63 Figure 9. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 21 63 Figure 10. Response Rates for MRSQ PF Category Item 22 64 Figure 11. Overall Response Rates on the MRSQ PF Category 65 Figure 12. Participants’ Response Rates for SRLIS PF Category 66 Figure 13. Overall Frequency Rates on the SRLIS PF Category 89 Figure 14 SRLIS and MRSQ Overall Frequency Response Rates for the PF Category 90 Figure 15. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 1 92 Figure 16. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 3 92 Figure 17. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 4 93 Figure 18. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 10 93 Figure 19. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 13 94 Figure 20. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 14 95 Figure 21. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 15 95
xi Figure 22. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 16 95 Figure 23. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 17 96 Figure 24. Response Rates for MRSQ Category Item 18 97 Figure 25 Overall Response Rates on the MRSQ ABP Category 98 Figure 26. Participants’ Response Rates for SRLIS ABP Category 99 Figure 27. Overall Frequency Rates on the SRLIS ABP Category 116 Figure 28. MRSQ and SRLIS Overall Frequency Response Rates for the ABP Category 118 Figure 29. Response Rates for MRSQ LE Category Item 2 120 Figure 30. Response Rates for MRSQ LE Category Item 7 120 Figure 31. Overall Response Rates on the MRSQ LE Category 121 Figure 32. Participants’ Response Rates for the SRLIS LE Category 122 Figure 33. Overall Frequency Rates on the SRLIS LE Category 143 Figure 34. MRSQ and SRLIS Overall Frequency Response Rates for the LE Category 145 Figure 35. Participants’ Response Rates for the “Other” Category 147
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION Introduction to the Problem In 2006, the U. S. Department of Education noted that “of the nation’s 14 million undergraduates, more than four in ten attend two-year community colleges” (p. viii). Many of these students are not adequately prepared for college work (Pressley, El-Dinary, & Brown, 1992). Roueche and Roueche (1999) reported that almost 50% of all first-time in community college students do not have college level academic skills. These underprepared students create significant challenges for community colleges. However, because of the open-door enrollment policies for these community colleges, the issue is not whether to accept them, but how the community colleges will identify them and help them acquire the skills needed to be academically successful (Ley & Young, 1998). According to Arendale (2006), the problem of underprepared students first surfaced in the 1800’s. Since that time, institutions of higher learning have provided educational programs to help students improve their academic skills. The names of these programs evolved over time from being called college preparatory courses, to remedial courses, to being currently identified as developmental education (Arendale, 2006). In a report from the National Center for Education Statistics in fall 1995, 78% of freshmen enrolled in higher education institutions were taking at least one developmental education course (Weissman, Bulakowski, & Jumisko, 1997). Developmental education is usually provided in the academic areas of reading, writing, and math. While all three areas are important, reading deficiencies will keep the student from taking significantly more college level courses than will writing and math deficiencies. Thus, developmental reading courses are frequently the
2 first taken by the student. The importance of reading deficiencies is further noted by Attewell, Levin, Domina, and Levey (2006) who stated, “The lack of well-developed reading skills could have more deleterious consequences than remedial work in other subjects” (p. 889). Given the high percentage of underprepared students who enroll in college, the institutions have the responsibility to establish effective programs and policies to promote student success (Weissman et al., 1997). A 2000 policy paper from the Education Commission of the States addressed the need for continued remediation (another name for developmental education), stating “In a society concerned for its citizens’ welfare, remediation will continue to be necessary for the country’s social and economic well-being. The question then is how to make it more effective and efficient” (Spann, 2000, p. 2). The report further stated one policy should address remediation by fostering “a process for determining the specific knowledge, skills and attitudes functionally literate adults need in a 21st-century global economy” (Spann, 2000, p.3).The report determined that “Functional literacy is based in reading, communications (oral and written), computation, and increasingly, “learning-how-to-learn” skills such as thinking and problem solving” (Spann, 2000, p. 3). This definition suggests that post-secondary developmental education must address more than acquisition of academic skills in order for students to become fully- functioning citizens. According to a 2006 U. S. Department of Education report, approximately 40% of all higher education students attend community colleges. Almost 50% of all first-time community college students do not have college level academic skills (Roueche & Roueche,
3 1999). There were 43,900 community college students enrolled in college preparatory reading in the 2006-2007 academic year in Florida (Fl. State Dept. of Education, 2007). To meet the challenges of these underprepared students, community colleges have created developmental education programs to help the students acquire academic skills. In addition to acquiring academic skills, it is necessary for students to be proactive in their learning. Zimmerman (2002) indicates self-regulation is a process used by self-directed learners to proactively transform mental abilities to accomplish academic tasks Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons (1986, 1988, 1990); Zimmerman (1989, 1998, 2002), Zimmerman and Bandura (1994); and Schunk and Zimmerman (2003) have described the “learning-how-to-learn” skill as self-regulated learning. Zimmerman (2002) indicates self- regulation is a process used by self-directed learners to proactively transform their mental abilities to accomplish academic tasks. Self-regulated learning involves students’ efforts to regulate their learning metacognitively, motivationally, or behaviorally (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990). Examples of self-regulated strategies include: self-evaluating, organizing and transforming, goal setting and planning, seeking information, keeping records and self monitoring, environmental structuring, self-consequences, rehearsing and memorizing, seeking social assistance (peers, teachers, and/or adults), and reviewing academic materials such as tests, notes, and/or texts (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1986). Students who use self-regulated learning strategies (SRLS) have a deeper processing of college level course material (Pintrich & Garcia, 1991; Zimmerman & Bandura, 1994) and will be able to continue to use these strategies to be successful life-long learners. However many students, especially underprepared students who require developmental education, do
4 not exhibit self-regulatory processes. They must be taught to develop them. According to Schunk and Zimmerman (1997) these self-regulatory processes are teachable and can lead to increases in students’ motivation and achievement. The processes can be taught explicitly in academic curriculum or embedded within that curriculum. This study evaluated how and to what extent did successful community college developmental reading students use the SRLS during their highest-level developmental reading course. The information obtained from the study helped the identified community college adjust the developmental reading curriculum to better foster students’ acquisition of SRLS. Currently, the community-college does not explicitly teach SRLS but embeds some of the strategies in the developmental reading curriculum. Background of the Study Researchers have long noted that developmental readers lack the self-regulated learning strategies that are essential to success in college (Martino, Norris, & Hoffman, 2001). Schloemer and Brenan (2006) found when students realize the benefits of self- regulation, they more actively monitor learning, face deficiencies, and are more receptive to alternative study strategies. Students are more successful academically, but developmental readers lack both knowledge and experience with these strategies (Nist, 1993). For example, developmental readers harbor self-doubt about their capabilities to succeed in expository reading tasks (Zimmerman & Bandura, 1994). Many developmental students do not understand academic tasks assigned by professors (Nist, 1993).
5 In recent years developmental reading students in community colleges have often been the subject of research studies. Because diversity, access, and inclusiveness are so important to contemporary higher education, colleges are eager to find ways to help underprepared learners succeed. Reading skills are particularly critical because college-level reading readiness is often a pre-requisite for most all core curriculum courses. Attewell, Levin, Domina, (2006) report when reading was in need of remediation, underprepared students were the least likely to graduate from college. The same study shows that difficulties in reading are a greater predictor of failure than difficulties in mathematics or English (Attewell et al., 2006). SRLS have been shown to be essential to success in college. Much research has been done on SRLS in various levels of educational settings. Research has also been done on SRLS in community college general education courses. Brozo (1990) observed poor readers developed refined and sophisticated ways of bluffing or “hiding out” so as to avoid being accountable for reading. One self-regulated learning strategy that can alleviate these self- defeating behaviors is to encourage “passive readers to monitor their own reading performance so as to see the connection between effort and its consequences” (Brozo, 1990, p. 327). Statement of the Problem Attewell, Levin, and Domina (2006) reported that students who are deficient in reading were the least likely to graduate from college. Recent research suggests that acquiring SRLS can help these students succeed (Winne & Hadwin, 1998). Unfortunately, at
6 the community college cited in this study, success in the highest level of a developmental reading course does not ensure these students can successfully make the transition from developmental reading content to independent expository reading in general education courses. Ley and Young (1998) conducted a study comparing successful developmental students and non-developmental students using these strategies. A review of the literature found no study focusing on developmental reading students’ use of SRLS. The community college identified as the setting for this study has a large number of students who require developmental reading. The professors who teach the developmental reading courses have observed that students who use SRLS are more successful in the course. However, the current developmental reading curriculum does not include provisions for assessing the students’ knowledge or use of SRLS. Additionally, the curriculum does not include explicit teaching of SRLS. Some of the professors embed some of the SRLS into their instruction, but this is not required or evaluated. This lack of information about the use of SRLS by successful developmental reading students’ may result in less effective developmental reading curriculum at this community college. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to identify SRLS used by successful developmental reading students after completing the highest level developmental reading course. This was accomplished through the use of two measures. The first was the use of a questionnaire to explore the knowledge students have of reading. The next measure was an open-ended structured-interview to further evaluate the SRLS used. Support for using multiple types of
7 data sources when evaluating strategies used in reading activities was found in the literature. Levine and Reves (1998) used a talk-aloud which can be equated to the interview and a questionnaire reported that “the two data-collecting instruments used in our study complemented each other by providing partly similar and partly different data” (p. A-1). The researchers postulated that the students’ comments were likely to be more authentic than the data obtained from the questionnaire because the questionnaire identifies specific strategies. However, research indicated the questionnaire might help the student to realize he/she actually uses the strategy. Taraban et al. (2000a) suggested that Metacognitive Reading Strategies Questionnaire (MRSQ) could be used with other research methodologies to explore differences among strategies used by skilled and less-skilled readers. Ley and Young (1998) recommended that research studies include “concurrent validation of the interview measure with a Likert scale” (p.58). The results of the study provided useful information to developmental reading professors as well as to administrators who design developmental reading curricula and create policies and/or practices which impact developmental reading courses. Ultimately, a process for increasing developmental reading students’ use of SRLS may be developed. Rationale Examining successful developmental reading students’ self-regulated learning attitudes and practices after completing the highest level developmental reading course provided new knowledge about students’ use of SRLS. An analysis of responses provided a basis for discussion about the curriculum in developmental reading at the identified
8 community college. Knowledge gained from student interviews revealed which SRLS were used, under what expository reading tasks these SRLS were used, and why students selected particular SRLS. Professors who teach these students should embed SRLS into their instruction (Young & Ley, 2003). This information can possibly be generalized to developmental reading programs at other two-year and four- year colleges by administrators who need to create a successful culture for students seeking a college degree. In addition, administrators could look at the possibility of establishing opportunities for professors and staff affiliated with instruction in general education courses so they feel confident using SRLS to assist students. Research Questions This study used a qualitative research design to address the following questions. 1. How and to what extent do successful developmental community college reading students use personal functioning (organizing and transforming, rehearsing and memorizing, goal setting and planning) to self-regulate learning? 2. How and to what extent do successful developmental community college reading students use academic behavioral performance (self-evaluating and self-consequences) to self-regulate learning? 3. How and to what extent do successful developmental community college reading students use a learning environment (seeking information, record keeping and self monitoring, using environmental structuring, seeking social assistance from peers, teachers,
9 and/or adults, reviewing academic materials such as tests, notes, and/or texts) to self-regulate learning? Significance of the Study Research has shown that effective readers employ a variety of skills and approaches including SRLS. Adding explicit instruction in these strategies to developmental reading programs helped these students make a successful transition to general education courses in college. Young & Ley (2003) suggested principles to embed SRLS in instruction for these less skilled learners. These principles included “(a) goal-setting, (b) preparing a place to study, (c) organizing materials, (d) monitoring learning, (e) evaluating progress and effectiveness, and (f) reviewing tests,” (Ley & Young, 2001, p. 2). Record keeping and self monitoring has been shown as one of five significantly SRLS used by students who scored above the minimum score for college admission eligibility (Ley & Young, 2001). Professors should also model self-regulatory behaviors to help students adopt these behaviors themselves (Schunk & Zimmerman, 1997). Previous researchers had studied data to measure the use of SRLS. Students concurrently enrolled in developmental reading and general education courses were examined (Illich, et al., 2004; Ley & Young, 1998). Researchers had also used data from students’ grade point averages (GPA) to study SRLS (Hennessey, 1990). SRLS in reading were studied using undergraduate non-developmental students (Wade, Trathen, & Schraw, 1990). Currently there is no research examining developmental reading students’ views of SRLS after completing developmental reading courses. This study has added to the literature
10 relating to developmental reading students’ use of SLRS and provided useful information to the community college stakeholders who develop curriculum for these students. At the community college site of this study there is currently no behavioral objective stated nor is there a measurement to see if students are proficient in using them as a course requirement. Definition of Terms Terms that have specific application or meaning were used in the context of this dissertation. The following list of terms and definitions is provided as operational definitions for a clearer understanding of their contextual meaning. Academic self-regulated learning is the self-generated thoughts, feelings, and actions for attaining academic goals (Pintrich, 2004; Pintrich & De Groot, 1990; Schunk & Zimmerman, 1997; Zimmerman, 1998). Critical reading comprehension is the author’s message implicitly stated. Components of critical reading comprehension are recognizing author’s purpose and tone, identifying organizational patterns, recognizing the relationships between words, phrases and sentences, distinguishing between facts and opinions, detecting bias, recognizing valid/invalid arguments, and drawing inferences and conclusions. Developmental Education is a course or series of courses a community college student enrolls as determined by placement of a college entrance exam score such as the ACT or SAT when the placement score was not at or above admission standards. These courses primarily address content in English, reading, and math.
11 Literal reading comprehension is the author’s message explicitly stated. Components of literal reading comprehension are selecting the topic sentence, identifying the main idea, identifying the supporting details, and determining the meaning of words by context. Reading is a complex process of constructing a meaning through the dynamic interaction of the reader, the text, and the surrounding context of the reading situation that results in the acquisition of knowledge, experience or information and is thought to depend upon the reader’s ability to integrate acquired knowledge with the information suggested in text (Farley & Elmore, 1992; Martino & Hoffman, 2002). Self-regulated learning strategies refer “to learning that results from students’ self- generated thoughts and behaviors that are systematically oriented toward the attainment of their learning goals” (Schunk & Zimmerman, 2003, p. 59). Within-participants approach is a research strategy used to control variables and every participant in the study is exposed to all treatments and then assesses the effects of each treatment independently” (Cone & Foster, 2006, p. 221). Assumptions and Limitations The following were assumptions of this study. 1.Students had successfully completed the highest level of a developmental reading course in order to prepare for general education coursework. 2.Students provided an accurate report of self-regulated learning experiences on the questionnaire and in the interview process. The following were limitations of this study.
12 1.This was not a longitudinal study. This study was only conducted at one time and at one place with participants who successfully completed the highest level of a developmental reading course during the 2007 fall semester. 2.Because this study was conducted at a small community college, the sample size was also small (N = 14). 3.The data collection was limited to one community college. This community college uses many of the same developmental education practices used by other community colleges in Florida. The degree to which these results can be generalized to other community colleges was not known. 4.No attempt was made to collect demographic information for any of the participants. Nature of the Study This narrative inquiry study was based on the use of qualitative data. Actual attitudes and practices of developmental students were shown to be a challenge for students because they lack the knowledge to construct fruitful strategic efforts to complete academic tasks (Butler, 2002). A purposive sample of students was interviewed for the data collection. The first was a questionnaire on the use of reading and study strategies. The second was an open- ended, structured interview to measure the extent successful developmental students use SRLS in a developmental reading course.
13 Organization of the Remainder of the Study This study was conducted with students who had successfully completed the highest level developmental reading course in a small Southeastern community college. Chapter 1 comprises the introduction to the problem and relevant background information to the study. Chapter 2 is a review of the literature addressing the SRLS in developmental reading courses of community college students. Chapter 3 reviews the research questions, outlines a description of the research methodology design, sampling design, data collection instruments, and data analysis. Chapter 4 provides the results of the study with a rich description of the narratives of the study’s participants regarding the use of SRLS. Chapter 5 gives a summary and discussion of the research, conclusions based on this research, and recommendations for further research.
CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW Institutions of higher education expect students to be college ready and to be self- regulated learners actively meeting the rigors of college work, but unfortunately, many students are not adequately prepared for college work (Pressley et al., 1992). In a report from the National Center for Education Statistics in fall 1995, 78% of freshmen enrolled in higher education institutions were taking at least one developmental education course (Weissman, et al., 1997). “Proponents of developmental college work note that many promising students combine strengths in certain subject areas with weaknesses in others, which can be addressed by skills courses” (Attewell et al., p. 887). In college academic reading, students are expected to read and to understand content from a variety of genre usually written on a much higher reading level than were the textbooks used in high school. Since expository reading requires effort, students must call up and employ self-regulating behaviors in academic settings (Taraban, Kerr, & Rynearson, 2004). Unfortunately, developmental readers may not have fully developed self-regulated learning strategies (SRLS) before entering college. SRLS required for success in college encompass three areas. First, students use SRLS to regulate their personal functioning. Categories of personal functioning include organizing and transforming, rehearsing/memorizing, and goal setting/planning. Another area of self- regulated learning includes what students do to regulate their academic behavioral performance. Behavioral performance includes self-evaluating and self-consequences. In the last area of self-regulated learning students regulate the learning environment. The learning environment of seeking information, record keeping and self monitoring, using environmental structuring, seeking social assistance (from peers, teachers, and/or adults), and reviewing academic materials (tests, notes, and/or texts) is related to this self-regulated
15 learning strategy (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990). What follows are descriptions of reading/study strategies needed in college coursework, SRLS in an academic setting, the importance of self-regulated learning in a college mission, opportunities to promote SRLS in developmental reading courses, the faculty and support staff’s responsibility in promoting SRLS, and the quality instructional practices necessary in promoting SRLS. Reading/Study Strategies in College Coursework In the early 1980s, the field of reading was shifting paradigms. Reading and learning were shifting from behaviorism to schema theory and constructivism (Stahl, 2006). Reading instruction does not teach a system of translating speech to print but forms an understanding of thinking and communication (Calfee & Drum, 1986). By developing a schema in the mind, a skilled reader can use the separable processes. Skilled reading goes beyond using single strategies for comprehending text (Pressley et al.,1992). Skilled reading is complex in its application of strategies and procedures while implementing prior knowledge for interpretation (Pressley et al.). Therefore, there is the need for more direct instruction especially for underprepared college students in reading. These students have few strategies and use flexibility in reading poorly when approaching reading and comprehending expository text (Martino & Norris, 2001). One common element of teaching in the field of reading focuses on strategies to develop students’ comprehension and vocabulary development when reading expository materials (Stahl, Simpson, & Hayes, 1992).
16 The reading process merges decoding, vocabulary, sentence comprehension, paragraph comprehension, and text comprehension. The reading process is merged with language and the history of English language (Calfee & Drum, 1986). An example of a reading/study strategy is to focus thinking of the passage in the text to recall background information and to predict what may happen next (Ivey & Fisher, 2006). Another example includes the use of good decoding skills, an adequate reading vocabulary, and a recall of what the text said (Mokhtari & Reichard, 2002). Reading well requires readers to develop thinking about reading resulting in learning to promote ownership of the text’s important ideas (Paul & Elder, 2003). If reading comprehension and vocabulary are not cultivated, students will develop a repertoire of coping strategies to avoid reading or to avoid accountability for reading (Brozo, 1990). Brozo found that the most common way poor readers coped in class was to avoid eye contact and engage in disruptive behavior. Poor readers were also more likely to be rebuffed when they actually attempted to initiate an academic interaction between themselves and a teacher (1990). A conclusion based upon a synthesis of current research in reading is that reading is a process in which meaning is constructed through the interaction of the reader, the text, and the knowledge or experience a reader brings to the reading situation (Farley & Elmore, 1992). Spring (1985) surmised that critical reading skills, as exhibited by college freshmen, would not reach full development until later in college years. Reading instruction can teach students necessary skills and strategies to master reading in the content area, but students also must have many opportunities to apply these as