EFFECTS OF LEVELS OF PROPOSITIONAL COMPLEXITY AND SYNTACTIC COMPLEXITY UPON READING COMPREHENSION

EILEEN ROSE GILLESPIE, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated the interactional effects of levels of propositional complexity and syntactic (structural) complexity upon reading comprehension. Syntactic (structural) complexity was measured according to the syntactic complexity formula developed by Granowsky (1971). Propositional complexity was measured according to propositional analysis (cf. Kintsch, 1974). Reading comprehension was determined by a score on the instrument designed by the investigator. The investigator-designed instrument consisted of thirty statements and test sentences of controlled and varied levels of combined propositional and syntactic complexity.^ These hypotheses were investigated: (1) There will be no significant differences in reading comprehension scores between different levels of complexity; (2) There will be no significant difference in scores of subjects in the Alpha reading level and subjects in the Omega reading level; (3) There will be no significant interaction between levels of complexity and reading group.^ The subjects of the study, 100 students in grade six and grade eight in the public schools of Central Islip, Long Island, New York ranged in age from 11 to 13 years. Based upon the Stanford Achievement Test grade equivalent scores, the subjects were designated as Alpha (higher) reading level or Omega (lower) reading level.^ The data was analyzed by two two-way analyses of variance. A two-way analysis of variance was performed on the sixth grade data. A separate two-way analysis of variance was employed on the eighth grade data. The population was separated according to grade level and reading group. The .05 level of confidence was established.^ The three null hypotheses were retained for grade six. For grade eight, the first two null hypotheses were retained but the third was rejected. The data of the study indicates that the difficulty which results from the combined propositional and syntactic complexity of a sentence is a factor to be considered in reading comprehension. The findings further suggest that for both grade levels, sixth and eighth, grouping does relate to performance on different levels of complexity. The levels of complexity need to be reexamined since the difficulty was not as anticipated. ^

Subject Area

Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

GILLESPIE, EILEEN ROSE, "EFFECTS OF LEVELS OF PROPOSITIONAL COMPLEXITY AND SYNTACTIC COMPLEXITY UPON READING COMPREHENSION" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8326172.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8326172

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