An Investigation of the Minimum threshold Level towards the end of the first cycle: reading Skills in Focus

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Addis Ababa University


The principal objective of the study was to investigate the reading achievement of the first cycle students and then compare this with the achievement level expected of them. As a corollary to this, the investigation sought to discover whether the reading objectives of the first cycle are met or not. To this end, an achievement test and two sets of questionnaires were employed to collect the data. To prepare the test, the profile for the first cycle was closely analyzed. The textbooks for grade one, two, three and four were surveyed. Based on the objectives of the syllabi and the proportional representation of the sub-skills in the textbooks, a table of specifications was prepared. A test comprising literal comprehension, vocabulary in context, word recognition (identification), information transfer, comprehension-at-word level, comprehension-at-sentence level, reordering jumbled sentences and reading for the main ideas was developed as this would most likely gauge students' expected performance at the level. This test was administered to 180 randomly selected students from six schools: three from Government and three from Public Schools. The test was piloted on 40 students and then was administered to the 180 sample students. The result of the test indicated that from the total of 180 sample students 94 students or 52% scored below the overall average of the test (54%). A close examination of student's performance further revealed that students performed better in comprehension-at-word level, information transfer and reordering jumbled sentences tests. They performed adequately in literal comprehension test. The students performed below average in comprehension at sentence level, in Reading-for-the main idea and word identification tests. The results of teachers' questionnaire also corroborate the test results. The response of teachers' questionnaire indicated that students' reading performance was below standard. Further analysis of the questionnaire revealed that there were some problems which account for such poor performance. On the basis of the results, some recommendations were forwarded. These recommendations call for some remedial activities on the part of the teachers, supply of reading materials on the part of the parents and school administrators, syllabus and other minor policy adjustments on the part of the bodies concerned and improving reading practice on the part of the students.



reading Skills