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Title: A study on the developmental characteristics of Hong Kong primary students' ability to integrate textual information in narrative text reading
Authors: Liao, Xian
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: Integration is one of the key constituents of students' reading ability. However, systematic investigations have rarely been reported in this field worldwide. As international assessment programmes (e.g. PIRLS) and local public examinations (e.g. Hong Kong Territory-wide System Assessment) on reading have shown that Hong Kong primary students’ integration ability in reading is yet to be developed, it is of great theoretical and practical importance to get a deeper understanding of this ability. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to explore the developmental characteristics of Hong Kong primary students' integration ability in reading and factors that influence the development. The present study was conducted among Grade 4 and Grade 6 students in Hong Kong who were at the stage of "read to learn". Using narrative as a sample genre, the present study aims at finding out: (1) what are the characteristics of integration performance of Hong Kong Grade 4 and 6 primary students in reading narrative text? (2) What are the differences between integration performance of Grade 4 and Grade 6 students? (3) What are the differences between integration performance of boys and girls? (4) What are the factors that influence the development of students’ integration ability in reading? To answer the research questions, the present study adopts multiple methods to triangulate the findings, including reading integration test, semi-structured interviews with teachers and students and student questionnaire survey. Specifically, a "six integration skills" is first proposed, which includes identifying a referent of pronoun (IRPN), identifying relationships between adjacent sentences (IRS), identifying main idea (IMI), identifying relationships among paragraphs (IRP), abstracting specific information (ASI) and summarising the whole text (SWT). A reading integration test was then designed according to these skills and 352 Grade 4 students and 371 Grade 6 students participated in the test. Upon completion of the test, all participants completed a questionnaire designed to investigate potential factors that influence the development of students' integration ability. In addition, the researcher interviewed 24 students to explore the process of how they answered items in the test and 7 teachers were selected randomly for interviews to investigate teachers' perceptions of students' integration ability development and their teaching methods.
The present study has reached some conclusions based on the statistical analysis of quantitative data and text analysis of qualitative data. The major findings are: (1) Primary students in Grade 4 and Grade 6 have attained preliminary integration ability in reading but still have room for further development. Students in both grades performed best in IRS and worst in ASI; (2) In general, students in both grades performed better in integration skills relying on "straightforward inference" (IRS, IRPN and IMI) than in those skills requiring complex inference and language transformation (IRP, ASI and SWT); (3) Grade 6 students performed significantly better in individual integration skills than Grade 4 students. Compared with Grade 6 students, Grade 4 students were unable to identify complete information referred by pronouns and had difficulties in identifying the relationships between adjacent sentences and between paragraphs and locating topic sentences. Also, Grade 4 students were not capable of summarising specific abstracted information in a complete and brief way. Therefore, Grade 4 students performed worse in terms of complicity and accuracy in integrating information of the whole text than Grade 6 students; (4) In general, girls performed better than boys in total integration score and individual integration skills, which indicates that girls' develop their integration ability earlier than boys. However, boys may gradually catch up with girls' performance in some easier skills such as IMI and IRS; and (5) Three factors play important roles in development of students' integration ability in reading, use of reading strategy, extensive reading and reading attitude. In sum, the present study has revealed some developmental characteristics of students' integration ability in the context of Chinese teaching. A series of implications of Chinese curriculum, teaching and assessment are drawn from the results of this study in order to improve students' integration ability.
Subjects: Reading (Primary) -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xii, 214 pages : illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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