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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Measuring students’ appreciation of poetry Sanderson, Alan Geoffrey

Abstract

The purposes of the study were: (1) to develop and test a new measure, of appreciation of poetry, and (2) to determine the relationship between appreciation of poetry and (a) creative performance in poetry, (b) silent reading ability, and (c) subjective assessment by a teacher of a student's level of appreciation. Following a review of some of the major attempts this century to define and measure appreciation of literature, the procedures adopted in the study were outlined. Based on the findings of the research, it was decided to employ poetry rather than prose in the new measure, and design it specifically for the junior secondary level. The test, called the Poem Comparison Test, consisted of twelve poems. Each poem was in two versions, the original and an inferior imitation, and the subject was asked to rate each of the two versions. In order to measure creative performance in poetry three other measures were also developed specifically for the study. These measures were: the Rhyme Test, the Rhythm Test, and the Imagery Test. So that the subjects' responses would be as little restricted as possible, all three of these tests employed an open-ended format. Two outside markers were employed to score the Rhythm Test and the Imagery Test. Silent reading ability was measured by the Gates-McGinitie Reading Test, Survey E, Form 2M. The subjective assessment of the students' level of appreciation was measured by a questionnaire, also developed specifically for the study, and given to the teachers of the students involved in the study. The subjects were grade eight and grade ten students in a large metropolitan secondary school in an average socio-economic section of the city. The testing took place in April, 1975, and complete data were obtained for 95 students. The main questions that the study was designed to answer were: (1) Is there a significant, positive correlation between appreciation of poetry and creative performance in poetry? (p>.5) (2) Is there a significant, positive correlation between appreciation of poetry and silent reading ability? (p>.5) (3) Is there a significant, positive correlation between students' appreciation of poetry and their teachers' assessment of their level of appreciation? (p>.5) (4) Do appreciation of poetry and creative performance in poetry increase from grade eight to grade ten? (a=.01) (5) Are girls better than boys in appreciation of poetry and creative performance in poetry? (a=.01) Based on the data obtained, the following conclusions were drawn: (1) There is not a significant, positive correlation between appreciation of poetry and creative performance in poetry (2) There is not a significant, positive correlation between appreciation of poetry and silent reading ability (3) There is not a significant, positive correlation between students' appreciation of poetry and their teachers' assessment of their level of appreciation, (4) Appreciation of poetry increases from grade eight to grade ten, but creative performance in poetry does not. (5) Girls, are better than boys in creative performance in rhyme and rhythm, but not in appreciation of poetry or creative performance in imagery. The overall conclusions for the study were: (1) there is a factor of appreciation of poetry which is distinguishable from both creative performance in poetry and silent reading ability, and (2) that the measure of appreciation of poetry developed specifically for this study could provide a valid tool for both the researcher and the classroom teacher.

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