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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Elementary students' comprehension of computer presented text Bird, Paul


The study investigated grade 6 students' comprehension of narrative text when presented on a computer and as printed words on paper. A set of comprehension tests were developed for three stories of varying length (382 words, 1047 words and 1933 words) using a skills hierarchy protocol. The text for each story was prepared for presentation on a Macintosh computer using a program written for the study and as print in the form of exact copies of the computer screen. Students from two grade 6 classes in a suburban elementary school were randomly assigned to read one of the stories in either print form or on the computer and subsequently completed a comprehension test as well as a questionnaire concerning attitude and personal information. The responses from the comprehension tests were evaluated by graduate students in Language Education. The data evolved from the tests and questionnaires were analysed to determine measures of test construct validity, inter-rater reliability, and any significant difference in the means of comprehension scores for the two experimental groups for each story. The results indicated small but insignificant differences between the means of the three comprehension test scores for computer and print. A number of students reading from the computer complained of eye fatigue. The scores of subjects reading the longest story and complaining of eye fatigue were significantly lower.

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