Abstract

Background knowledge is a strong predictor of reading comprehension, yet little is known about how different types of background knowledge affect comprehension. The study investigated the impacts of both domain and topic-specific background knowledge on students’ ability to comprehend and learn from science texts. High school students (n = 3,650) completed two background knowledge assessments, a pretest, comprehension tasks, and a posttest, in the context of the Global, Integrated, Scenario-based Assessment on ecosystems. Linear mixed-effects models revealed positive effects of background knowledge on comprehension and learning as well as an interactive effect of domain and topic-specific knowledge, such that readers with high domain knowledge but low topic-specific knowledge improved most from pretest to posttest. We discuss the potential implications of these findings for educational assessments and interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalDiscourse Processes
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - May 3 2018

Fingerprint

comprehension
Students
scenario
Ecosystems
student
Scenarios
Background Knowledge
ability
science
school
knowledge
learning
Posttests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

McCarthy, K. S., Guerrero, T. A., Kent, K. M., Allen, L. K., McNamara, D., Chao, S. F., ... Sabatini, J. (Accepted/In press). Comprehension in a Scenario-Based Assessment: Domain and Topic-Specific Background Knowledge. Discourse Processes, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2018.1460159

Comprehension in a Scenario-Based Assessment : Domain and Topic-Specific Background Knowledge. / McCarthy, Kathryn S.; Guerrero, Tricia A.; Kent, Kevin M.; Allen, Laura K.; McNamara, Danielle; Chao, Szu Fu; Steinberg, Jonathan; O’Reilly, Tenaha; Sabatini, John.

In: Discourse Processes, 03.05.2018, p. 1-15.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McCarthy, KS, Guerrero, TA, Kent, KM, Allen, LK, McNamara, D, Chao, SF, Steinberg, J, O’Reilly, T & Sabatini, J 2018, 'Comprehension in a Scenario-Based Assessment: Domain and Topic-Specific Background Knowledge', Discourse Processes, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2018.1460159
McCarthy, Kathryn S. ; Guerrero, Tricia A. ; Kent, Kevin M. ; Allen, Laura K. ; McNamara, Danielle ; Chao, Szu Fu ; Steinberg, Jonathan ; O’Reilly, Tenaha ; Sabatini, John. / Comprehension in a Scenario-Based Assessment : Domain and Topic-Specific Background Knowledge. In: Discourse Processes. 2018 ; pp. 1-15.
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