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Comprehension is a foundational skill that is essential to learning. One often overlooked aspect of teaching and assessing comprehension is the role of the properties of the text itself. The current study investigated various indices of text features that have been found to impact the comprehensibility of texts in controlled, experimental studies. Factor analytic techniques were used to investigate the covariation among these indices on a set of 745 texts obtained from academic settings. The results of the text analysis were then applied to a sample of over 1 million students from grades 3 through 10, where both text features and overall reading comprehension ability were ascertained to investigate the relationship between factors of text cohesion and reading comprehension. Results revealed three factors of text cohesion; surface code, textbase, and situation model that consisted of measures of syntactic simplicity, word frequency, referential cohesion, semantic relatedness, and causal cohesion. Results from a two-level hierarchical model showed that factors of cohesion accounted for a significant amount of variance in comprehension above that accounted for by traditional readability measures.
Coh-Metrix, Comprehension, Construction Intergration Model, Text cohesion
Date of Defense
July 19, 2012.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Christopher Schatschneider, Professor Directing Dissertation; Barbara Foorman, University Representative; Richard K. Wagner, Committee Member; Jon Maner, Committee Member; Jeanne Wanzek, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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