College students’ academic performance and self-reports of comprehension strategy use

Roman Taraban, Kimberly Rynearson, Marcel Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reading for college courses places considerable cognitive-processing demands on students. Drawing on descriptive studies of highly-skilled adult readers, a questionnaire was constructed to determine if the use of reading strategies improved everyday college course performance. Three-hundred and twenty-four college undergraduates responded to an open-ended question about reading goals, an open-ended question about reading comprehension strategy use, and rated 35 reading comprehension strategies for frequency of use. The number of goals and the number of strategies that students gave as answers for the open-ended questions, and the ratings for the 35 strategies as a whole, reliably discriminated between participants with higher and lower grade-point averages. Additional tests with a freshman sample showed that the strategy ratings also discriminated between participants with higher and lower ACT (American College Testing) Reading and English scores. Statistical tests for individual strategies revealed that the strategies that consistently differentiated participants were related to setting and responding to reading goals. Overall the results showed the benefits of comprehension strategy use on college students’ academic performance. They contrast with a common characterization of college readers as unsophisticated, inefficient, and ineffective. Future research should focus on developing instructional settings that readily evoke comprehension strategies and encourage students to use them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-308
Number of pages26
JournalReading Psychology
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2000

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