CLOZE COMPREHENSION AND PRIOR KNOWLEDGE IN TWO CONTENT AREAS
GROSS, GEORGE JOHN
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This study examined the relationship between seventh grade pupils' prior knowledge of the content, standard English syntax and reading ability, as measured by the Degrees of Reading Power test (DRP) and cloze comprehension in two content areas--science and social studies. There were 88 inner city junior high school seventh graders in the final sample. Data were analyzed utilizing multiple regression analysis and canonical correlation. The results of the two statistical methodologies were then compared for differences.;Results of this study differed between the two methodologies. When all of the variables were tested simultaneously using a canonical correlation, only prior knowledge of Reading Ability--Degrees of Reading Power (DRP), with a canonical coefficient of .724, was found to be a significant predictor of the cloze comprehension. When the variables were tested using multiple regression analysis, reading ability again made the most substantial contribution, but other variables Prior Knowledge (PK)-Science for the science cloze; PK-standard English syntax (Test of Adolescent Language--TOAL) for the social studies cloze also made significant contributions to the stepwise regression equation. This was significantly less of a contribution than was reading ability--DRP.;Thus, it was apparent that (1) the results of a study can differ based on whether the data is analyzed using a statistical method in which a set of independent variables is compared to only a single dependent variable (i.e., multiple regression analysis) or the data is analyzed using a method in which the dependent variables, as well as the independent variables, are statistically tested simultaneously (i.e., canonical correlation). (2) reading ability (as measured by the Degrees of Reading Power test) was more important than prior knowledge of the content or standard English syntax (TOAL) for the cloze comprehension of the content area passages in this study. (3) to the extent that prior knowledge of the content is a part of advance organizer research, schema theory, Smith's theory on comprehension and other cognitive processing theories related to prior knowledge, the present study raises some questions about the relationship of prior knowledge within these theories.