ERIC Number: ED173371
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Jan
Reference Count: 0
Learning in the Learner's Perspective. III. Level of Difficulty Seen as a Relationship Between the Reader and the Text. No. 78.
Marton, Ference; Saljo, Roger
Structural reading difficulty of argumentative prose (text with an underlying message or superordinate principle), is related to the reader's approach to reading and learning. Ninety Swedish teenagers and adults with varying levels of formal education, were divided into three groups, based on their own descriptions of reading and learning: deep approach, surface approach, or neither. Subjects read a 3,700-word argumentative passage and were given a 28-item retention test. Although the deep group performed significantly better than the surface group, the latter performed considerably higher on factual questions alone, as opposed to conceptually more difficult questions. Another experiment focused on readers' ability to realize that an excerpt was only an example, introduced in the text to illustrate qualitative differences in the outcome of learning. The surface group did not know why the example was included; that is, they saw the principle and example as two different topics with solely a serial relation. The reading difficulty examined in both experiments was not a function of content (words used, sentence length, etc.), but was not totally unrelated to content. In conclusion, reading difficulty should be viewed in relation to structure, content, and the reader's description of his/her approach to learning. (CP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Stockholm.
Authoring Institution: Gothenburg Univ. (Sweden). Inst. of Education.
Note: For related documents, see TM 008 655-658