Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


The Problem: The purpose of this investigation was to study the performance of fifth grade students on reading comprehension under two conditions: (1) when stated purposes for reading were provided prior to reading, and (2) when stated purposes were not provided prior to reading. A second purpose of the investigation was to determine whether the effect of providing purposes for reading is different at various cognitive levels.

The Procedure: The sample for this investigation was comprised of students enrolled in the thirty-two fifth grade classrooms of Independent School District #191, Burnsville, Minnesota. The subjects were assigned by classroom unit to the experimental or control group by a random selection process. The 797 subjects included in this investigation were assigned as follows: 415 in the experimental group and 382 in the control group.

The test instruments designed for use in this study were administered to all subjects at 9:00 a.m. on May 3, 1973. The Reading Comprehension Test from the SRA Achievement Series was employed in two different formats in this investigation. The Regular Edition was reproduced in a format very similar to its original form. The Modified Edition was reproduced with the inclusion of stateed purposes for rading prior to each of the six reading selections in the test. The Modified Edition was administered to the experimental group, and the Regular Edition was administered to the control group. The test administration was performed by the subjects' regular classroom teacher according to a script provided by the investigator. All subjects were allowed up to 60 minutes to complete the 60 item test.

The testing procedure provided a total reading comprehension score for each subject. Sub-test scores for the following levels of comprehension were derived: Story Context, Re-state Material, Sequence and Summarize, Draw Inferences, Apply to New Situations and Logical Relationships. The test instruments also yielded scores for the social studies-type comprehension questions and science-type comprehension questions.

The analysis of the data involved the use of a one-way analysis of variance. To test the eleven sets of null hypotheses, comparisons were made of the mean scores achieved by the subjects in the two groups. The comparisons included performance of each group on the total comprehensions test, on each of the levels of comprehensions, on the social studies and science-type comprehension scores, and on the performance of each group when stratified into high, middle and low groups by past achievement scores and by non-verbal I.Q. scores.

Conclusions: This investigation has provided evidence which supports the following conclusions, subject to the limitations of the investigation:

1. Providing students with stated puproses for reading does not improve their comprehension of material read. The findings indicate that the subjects who read without stated purposes and those who had stated purposes provided performed equally well on a test of reading comprehension.

2. Providing stated pruposes for reading does not appear to be an effective strategy at any of the six levels of comprehension. The experimental and the control group subjects achieved comparable scores on each of the six sub-scales.

3. Providing stated purposes for reading was not of special assistance to students in any of the high, middle or low achievement or ability groups. The subjects in the control group scored as high in all of those comparisons, and in one case, they scored significantly higher than the experimental group.

4. Providing stated purposes for reading does not increase the achievement level of students on social studies or science-type comprehension material. The subjects in both the control and the experimental groups scored equally well on those two sub-tests.