Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Adult readers' calibration of word learning
by Parkinson, Meghan M., Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2011, 177; 3478890
Abstract (Summary)

The current study examined undergraduates' metacognitive processes during word learning, a crucial component of building representations of key concepts from text. Noticing the need to construct meaning for unknown words requires metacognitive monitoring. Constructing meanings for those words requires regulation of cognition.

Fukkink (2005) provided a model for word learning, based on think aloud data that represented a series of metacognitive activities word learners engaged in when faced with an unknown word. The evaluation process within Fukkink's (2005) model related to the judgments learners made about new word meanings and how accurate they believed those judgments to be. A specific aspect of metacognitive evaluation is calibration, or the accuracy with which learners assess their knowledge on a particular cognitive task (Glenberg & Epstein, 1985; Lichtenstein & Fischhoff, 1977). The current study more closely examined word learning and calibration, while addressing some gaps in the literature and offering a model of influences on word learning to complement Fukkink's process model.

The current study sought to answer questions related to the following goals: 1. To determine the influence of several factors related to adult readers' word learning and calibration of word learning. 2. To assess empirical evidence relative to a model of reading skill, vocabulary knowledge, passage comprehension, and metacognitive evaluation related to word learning using methods that directly measure word learning and metacognitive evaluation. 3. To determine which text factors influenced the ease with which word learners could derive meaning while reading and evaluate their level of performance on a word knowledge test.

A measured variable path analysis showed a similar goodness of fit for both the incidental word learning condition and the intentional word learning condition. Prior word knowledge was found to be positively related to judgments of learning, but negatively related to calibration of word learning within the path model. Think-aloud data did not illuminate a connection between passage comprehension, strategic processing, and word learning. However, think-aloud data did reveal that students who decreased in performance from word knowledge pretest to posttest self-reported challenge while reading more frequently than other students. Finally, repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed differences in passage comprehension and JOLs between passages, prompting an analysis of specific text features underlying text difficulty that were not represented with a readability formula.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Alexander, Patricia A.
Commitee: Battle, Ann A., Hancock, Gregory R., Wang, Min, Wentzel, Kathryn R.
School: University of Maryland, College Park
Department: Human Development
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 73/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Calibration, Metacognition, Word learning
Publication Number: 3478890
ISBN: 9781124968445