טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentSaar Liora
SubjectReading, Understanding and Analyzing Adapted Scientific
Articles: Integrating Metacognitive Skills and
Chemistry Understanding Levels
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Yehudit Dori
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Reading adapted scientific articles is a vital part of communicating scientific knowledge to high school students. Scientific texts call for metacognitive strategies and higher order thinking skills. Understanding adapted articles in chemistry requires the application of at least a subset of the four chemistry understanding levels.

Our research investigated the effect of reading adapted scientific articles adjusted to the chemistry curriculum in Israel. Research objectives were to investigate (a) the way Israeli high school students comprehend the articles they read, and (b) the influence of integrating a specially-designed metacognitive tool on students' application of chemistry understanding levels.

The research participants included 650 chemistry majors from 24 high schools in Israel. The students were divided into one experimental and two comparison groups. All the participants in the research responded to two types of pre- and post-questionnaires. One questionnaire was adapted from Wandersee's questionnaire - "ways students read texts".  Other questionnaire, designed to identify students' procedural reading strategies, contained an unseen reading task which included 350-600 words. We defined the components of understanding an article as: identifying the main subject, understanding and articulating the chemistry issues discussed in the article both textually and graphically, posing complex questions, providing explanations for asking these questions, and responding to a transfer question. Only the experimental group students used the metacognitive tool to monitor their understanding while they were carrying out reading tasks

Analyzing the research results we found that one third of the students' population indicated that they did not use any reading strategy. The most important strategy needed for understanding scientific articles, connecting to prior knowledge, was rarely used by the students.

Using the specially-designed metacognitive tool for understanding scientific articles, the experimental group students developed awareness of the strategy they applied. The percentage of students claiming no use of reading strategies decreased while the percentage of the students' claming connecting to prior knowledge increased. 

Mapping the students' declarative metacognitive level, we found that students with high declarative metacognitive level gained better understanding of the article. 

 The experimental students scored significantly higher than the comparison students in all the article understanding components. Our metacognitive tool was found to improve students' declarative and procedural meta-cognitive knowledge for understanding adapted scientific articles in chemistry. The research findings provided a solid basis for developing a learning unit and a theoretical model aimed at exposing chemistry students to metacognitive strategies for reading and understanding adapted scientific articles.