Frances H. Mecartty (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Denver, CO.
The Effects of Proficiency Level and Passage Content on Reading Skills Assessment1
Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
© 1998 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 31, Issue 4, pages 517–534, December 1998
How to Cite
Mecartty, F. H. (1998), The Effects of Proficiency Level and Passage Content on Reading Skills Assessment. Foreign Language Annals, 31: 517–534. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.1998.tb00597.x
I am indebted to Dr. James F. Lee for his comments and insights on an earlier version of this manuscript.
- Issue published online: 31 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
ABSTRACT This study is designed to investigate the use of reading skills by intermediate and advanced learners of Spanish and to determine whether performance on these skills is uniform across learners and across reading texts, and whether there is a gradation of skills from least complex to most complex.
Subjects read two authentic unabridged passages in Spanish and were asked to answer questions based on the skills isolated for the study. These skills are: a) locating details which include the subskills recognition and paraphrase; b) simple inferential skills which include understanding words in context and recognizing cause and effect; c) complex inferential skills which include recognizing main ideas and drawing conclusions.
The results of the study showed a) a significant three-way interaction of level, passage and skill; b) a significant interaction of passage and skill; c) a significant interaction of level and skill; and d) a significant main effect of skill. The findings of the study lend support to a hierarchy of skills. However, it is argued that reading comprehension cannot be viewed in terms of a discrete set of skills when the nature of reading is so complex.