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Abstract

This article reports an investigation of some of the skills needed for the critical reading of physics texts. To assess these skills a reading comprehension test was developed that combines features of errordetection and true–false–unreported tests. This test was administered to college students of physics, and the results were analyzed statistically to determine the separability of the skills and their hierarchical ranking. It was found that the skill required to comprehend texts in continuous format is of a higher level than and separable from the skill required to comprehend texts in the form of a separated list of statements. The skill required to discriminate unreported statements from the others (true and false) was found to be of a higher level than and separable from the skills required to make the other discriminations. The relation between the students' reading comprehension skills and their problem-solving ability was also investigated. Students' scores on reading comprehension of texts that require a very low problem-solving ability were found to be uncorrelated to their grades on solving problems that require a very low decoding ability. This implies that the two abilities are independent.