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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Relationships between two methods of vocabulary instruction, vocabulary achievement, reading attitude, and locus of control in a community college reading course Tolsma, Catherine Colette


The purpose of this study was to examine effects of interactions between learner characteristics and instructional approaches on vocabulary skill development. Aptitude variables included language background (English first or second language), prior vocabulary achievement, attitude toward reading, and locus of control. Dependent variables included vocabulary achievement, attitude toward reading, satisfaction with instruction, and achievement attribution. Two methods of teaching general reading vocabulary were developed which varied in instructional task and format of learning materials, designed to interact with the locus of control construct. Treatment A centered around the use of a daily newspaper, and was intended to capitalize on strengths of internal locus of control students by fostering self-direction and decision making. Treatment B used wordlist-classification vocabulary exercises developed especially for this study, and was designed to facilitate learning for external locus of control individuals. Approximately twelve hours of vocabulary instruction were delivered during an eight-week period. Treatment group subjects were community college students enrolled in a reading and study skills course at the grade 11 level. .The control group was composed of students enrolled in business education courses at the same school. The final sample included 35 students in Treatment A, 37 in Treatment B, and 17 in the control group. English was the native language for 65 percent of participants in the study. Measuring instruments included the vocabulary subtests from the "Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests", Level F, Forms 1 and 2; the "Mikulecky Behavioral Reading Attitude Measure" (used for both pre and post measures); "Rotter Internal-External Scale"; and two questionnaires developed for this study, "Vocabulary Study Evaluation Questionnaire" (satisfaction measure) and "Vocabulary Attribution Scale". Analysis to detect main effects and aptitude treatment interactions consisted of forward stepwise multiple regression with hierarchical inclusion. Regression analyses are reported for each of the four dependent variables. The full model regression was found to be significant on two of the dependent variables, vocabulary achievement and attitude toward reading. For the dependent variable vocabulary, significant aptitude ma in effects were found for language background and prior vocabulary achievement; for reading attitude, prior vocabulary achievement and initial reading attitude were significant; for attribution the significant aptitude variables were prior vocabulary achievement and locus of control. A significant treatment effect was found when the combined treatment groups were compared with the control group in the vocabulary achievement regression. The Treatment A-Treatment B contrast was not significant for any of the dependent variables. Four aptitude by treatment interactions are discussed: (1) attitude x group (treatment versus control) on vocabulary, (2) vocabulary x group on attitude, (3) attitude x treatment (Treatment A versus Treatment B) on attribution, and (4) locus of control x treatment on attribution.

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