Data Collection?

In my last CoL post I shared my grand plans for collecting data to inform my inquiry. I talked about administering e-asstle and arbs tests in person and then reflecting on the test practices of my learners.

Covid-19 has obviously altered these plans and at first I was pretty defeated. However, I now realise that actually gave me the unique opportunity to witness my students independent habits from afar.
The whole point of my inquiry was to investigate how I can support my students to be more independent readers. That is what they were forced to be, albeit with a little help through email and Google Meet.

Over level 4 and 3, I learnt a great deal from my students independent slides alone. However, I also gave my students a short text to read and asked them to answer comprehension questions (written on a Google Doc) over Google Meet. This was fascinating.

I found that most of my learners skimmed the text before making very basic meaning from it. Some of them grasped the text at a literal level, unpacking the what, when, who and where, but missed the deeper meaning and subtleties of the text. Others may have made sense of the first few lines, but missed major plot lines that were vital to unpacking the story.

The quality of the answers also varied dramatically for each student day to day. There were a few occasions were my students reported that they particularly enjoyed a text and read it more than once. They then spent more time thinking about it and answering the comprehension questions that accompanied it. In these instances, my students were able to make inferences about what they had read and could talk much more about the plot.

This experience really highlighted the impact that motivation and self regulation has on learning. It is so clear to me now how vital self-regulation is in succeeding at school. However, in terms of reading habits, it has highlighted the importance of re-reading and self correction. I've noticed that even if I ask students to read a text a second time, they may not notice mistakes or important plot points that they have missed unless I explicitly discuss this with them.

This aligns with the research  I read about students habits in the PAT test. Corkey (2014), also found that students who read a PAT reading text once had poor recollection of what they had read.They also often failed to update their understanding of the text even when presented with information that contradicted with their own version of the text.

It also supports my theory as to why students perform better in Probe testing. In this situation they must read the text at least twice and they are forced to answer questions about the text (and use information from within the text to support their answer). However, given the time pressures of PAT, many of the students will only read the texts once and count on their memory of it when answering questions.


  1. This is a really interesting hypothesis. It made me wonder about what would prompt the realisation that there was more to understand, thereby cuing a need to reread. At the moment, it seems like questions are the key prompt for realising that rereading is required. How might students therefore question themselves while reading to check for understanding?

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for the comment!

      That is a really helpful point; questioning would be a really useful skill for the students to learn.


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