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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Effects of headings on the written recall and organization of expository text in grades 5 through 10 with emphasis on grades 7 and 8 King, Cynthia Marilyn


This study investigated the effects of headings and text organization on grade 5 through 10 students' written recall of expository prose passages written in a classification/description mode. Emphasis was placed on the results from students in grades 7 and 8. This study was a component of a three part study. The other two parallel studies emphasized grades 5 and 6 (Stables, 1985) and 9 and 10 (Gibbs, 1985). Each subject read and recalled two passages: one written at his or her grade level and one written at a low readability level. Performance on the written recalls from passages with headings and without headings was examined on the basis of the number of superordinate and subordinate ideas recalled, the superordinate and subordinate organization, and the format. Developmental trends were investigated by including the data from the two parallel studies (Gibbs, 1985; Stables, 1985). There was some evidence that headings had a significant positive effect on the number of superordinate ideas recalled from a passage of low readability. Some significant differences indicated negative effects by headings. The majority of differences, however, were not significant. Developmental trends in grades 5 through 10 were noted in the number of ideas recalled on a low readability passage and the format used on the written recalls. Implications for instruction and suggestions for further research are discussed.

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