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Published on October 4, 2007

Author: Woodwork

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Summarizing, Explaining, and Diagramming: The Differential Effects on Reading Times, Text-Base Representations, and Mental Models of Science Text :  Summarizing, Explaining, and Diagramming: The Differential Effects on Reading Times, Text-Base Representations, and Mental Models of Science Text Janice Gobert Senior Research Scientist Research Associate The Concord Consortium Dept. of Learning & Teaching 37 Thoreau Street Graduate School of Education Concord, MA 01742 Harvard University jgobert@concord.org Cambridge, MA 01238 Check us out at www.concord.org This research is funded by the the National Science Foundation under grant No. REC-9806141 awarded to the author. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed are those of the presenter and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF. Background to the Research: Study 1:  Background to the Research: Study 1 Builds on two studies addressing the on-line processing of science text and conceptual gains made when different orienting tasks are given to students. Study 1: Gobert & Clement (1999; WTC, 1997) -- effects of either summarizing or diagramming vs. read only on 1) students’ understanding of science text using summaries or diagrams generated at 3 different points in the text (intermediate representations) 2) post-test measures reflecting conceptual understanding (situation models). On the post-test -- diagram group > summary group and summary group > read only group as predicted on both the understanding of spatial and causal/dynamic aspects of the domain. On students’ intermittent tasks (i.e., summaries and diagrams generated during reading)-- summaries contained more semantic information than did the diagrams. Puzzling at first, but…. Interpreted as follows: For summary group, summarizing was a low-level task, as it involved same media as text, and thus, did not elicit the development of rich mental models from which inferences could be made. Superior performance on the post-test by the diagram group, reflecting students’ situation model understanding (Kintsch, 1988) also supports these findings, i.e., that diagramming elicited a deeper processing of the text, seen at post-test. Background to the Research (cont’d): Study 2:  Background to the Research (cont’d): Study 2 Study 2: Gobert (1997) -- whether the learning advantages obtained by the diagram group > summary group in Study 1 were due to the translation from textual into a visual representation (constructing diagrams) or due to inferencing in general. same experimental design except the two orienting conditions used were diagramming and explaining (a higher level task than summarizing). Results: diagram group = explanation group on the amounts of semantic information generated on the intermittent tasks during reading AND diagram group = explanation group on the conceptual post-test measures reflecting mental models of the domain. Interpretation: generating explanations and diagrams both promoted inference-making on the textual material and development of rich situation models, as evidenced by equally good performance on the post-test and equivalent amounts of semantic information on the explanations and diagrams. Thus, it was not the visual representation driving the superior performance in Study 1. Ok, so the visual medium hypothesis was out the window, what now?…:  Ok, so the visual medium hypothesis was out the window, what now?… Studies 1 and 2 provided a motivation for investigating the reading time performance, intermittent task performance, and subsequent conceptual understanding in three different orienting conditions in order to track potential differences in text comprehension. Orienting tasks for Study 3: summarizing, explaining, and diagramming. IF reading time performance of the explanation = diagram group but > summary group….. it is possible that similar processes are being used in the explanation and diagram conditions in setting up mental models of the text. Research Design: Study 3:  Research Design: Study 3 Subjects: 30 5th grade students from a suburban town in eastern Massachusetts were selected for minimal prior knowledge of the domain on the basis of a written pre-test. Data Collection: Students interviewed individually; sessions = 45 minutes and 1 hour. All sessions were video-taped using two cameras, one focussed on the student and interviewer, the other was positioned over the student’s desk to record the diagrams, etc. The Text Source: 3 pages in total; 5 sections: 1) introduction, 2) layers of the earth, 3) the movement and processes inside the earth, 4) how mountains form and how volcanes erupt, and 5) how the sea floor spreads. text presented on a Macintosh computer using Select-the-Text for reading times (Goldman & Saul, 1990). reading times were recorded for each sentence and for each section of text, both in milliseconds. Research Design: Study 3 (cont’d):  Research Design: Study 3 (cont’d) The three orienting & intermittent tasks were: to draw a diagram at 3 specific points in the text, to summarize at 3 specific points in the text, and to explain at 3 specific points in the text. Orienting instructions, given BEFORE the respective section: “After this paragraph you will be asked to give a summary {OR give an explanation, OR draw a diagram} of…. the different layers of the earth (task 1) … .. the movement and processes inside the earth (task2) …… the movement and processes inside the earth when mountains form (task 3). The intermittent tasks (1-3) were designed and ordered in order to allow for a learnable progression of models where simple models provide conceptual leverage for building more complex models (Raghavan & Glaser, 1993; White, 1993). While drawing, summarizing, or explaining, the students could not look back at the text. Coding of Students’ Intermittent Data, e.g., Spatial Scoring- Mountain Formation (task 3) :  Coding of Students’ Intermittent Data, e.g., Spatial Scoring- Mountain Formation (task 3) Based on a propositional analysis of the text read by the students, Scoring of Spatial Components are: crust:: LOC: on surface/ 1st layer 1 point PRT: plates 2 points ATT: up to 96 miles thick 1 point ATT: plates, moving 1 point PRT: crust, continents 1 point mantle: PART: magma 2 points LOC: below crust/ 2nd layer 1 point magma: ATT: liquid 1 point ATT: hot 1 point core: LOC: center of earth/ interior layer 1 point ATT: hot mass 1 point total spatial (13) = Coding of Students’ Intermittent Data, e.g., Causal Scoring for Mountain Formation (task 3):  Coding of Students’ Intermittent Data, e.g., Causal Scoring for Mountain Formation (task 3) Based on a propositional analysis of the text read by the students, Scoring of Causal/Dynamic Components core heats magma 2 points if currents are shown/mentioned 2 points currents of magma “rise” to top of mantle 2 points mantle moves 2 points plates collide/forced together 2 points one plate moves under another 2 points crust/land breaking/crumbling 2 points cyclical pattern causes mountain 2 points total (16)= For more info on how a semantic-based coding scheme can be used for diagrams and explanations, see Gobert & Clement (JRST, 99) & Gobert (IJSE, 2000). Coding of Students’ Post-test Data:  Coding of Students’ Post-test Data Post-test: All of the post-test items assessed either spatial or causal/dynamic knowledge. Examples of spatial/static items are: “Where is the thinnest part of the crust, on the top of mountains or at the sea floor?” “If the continents were all together, would the rest of the earth’s surface be water?” and spatial features of students’ post-test diagrams depicting volcanic eruption and sea floor spreading (these diagrams were NOT requested during reading). Examples of causal/dynamic items are: “Plates moving apart causes. . .?” “Why is rock from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean newer (i.e. younger) than rock from the middle of the North American Continent because…. and causal and dynamic features of students’ post-test diagrams depicting volcanic eruption and sea floor spreading. Hypotheses Regarding Reading Times:  Hypotheses Regarding Reading Times For part 1- Introduction- no orienting task given: expected no differences in reading times provided an analysis of whether the three groups’ baseline reading times were equivalent For part 2- “The Layers of the Earth” consisting primarily of spatial information: expected diagram and explanation group > summary group since task instructions would elicit a deeper level processing of the text, interaction of diagramming or explaining with text requires setting up a spatial mental model AND that this would be similar in these two conditions. For parts 3- “The Movement and processes inside the Earth” and part 4- How Mountains Form” consisting of several different types of information (spatial, causal, & dynamic): expected diagram and explanation groups > summary group since their task instructions would elicit a deeper level processing of the text, and processing required to annotate spatial mental model with causal & dynamic information would be similar. For an elaboration on mental model building from text in this domain, see Gobert, Int. J. Sci. Ed., 2000. For part 5- “How volcanoes erupt and how the sea floor spreads”, no orienting task given: served as an exploratory analysis of whether the students would apply the same strategy used in reading the 3 previous sections of text. Hypotheses Regarding Post-test Measures:  Hypotheses Regarding Post-test Measures Based on vanDijk and Kintsch’s text comprehension model (van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983): simple recall and recognition tasks are best supported by a good text-base and inference tasks are best supported by higher level, mental models or situation models (Johnson-Laird, 1983; Kintsch, 1987)….(as well as based on date from Study 1) hypothesized that generating either diagrams or explanations while reading would promote the development of rich mental models reflected by a superior understanding of the domain compared to the summary group. Regarding Intermittent Tasks….:  Regarding Intermittent Tasks…. A corollary of the hypothesis for the post-test regarding the intermittent data is …. For the intermittent tasks--the summary group would generate summaries with information that more closely reflected the surface structure of the text when compared to the explanation group; thus, Summary> explanation on RECALL of propositions of propositions from text. Explanation>summary on PARAPHRASE and INFERENCE of propositions from text. This analysis is presently being done and will not be discussed today. Overview of Results:  Overview of Results There are four sets of quantitative data: 1) reading time data for each section of the text, 2) intermittent data generated by the student at 3 points during the text (these data will not be discussed today) and 3) performance on the post-test. Analysis of Reading Times:  Analysis of Reading Times (Re prior knowledge of the domain, there was no statistically significant differences found across the three groups for prior knowledge (F= 2.243, p=0.125), so all subsequent analyses were done NOT using prior knowledge as a covariate. (Subjects were selected for minimal p.k.). Reading time for each section of text was used as opposed to sentence reading times because multiple types of knowledge, (i.e., spatial, causal, & dynamic) were reflected in many of the sentences of the text. READING TIME ANALYSES Part 1: Introduction-- No orienting task given here Anova, total time part 1 as the d.v. yielded, as expected, no statistically significant differences across groups (F= .92, p=.414) Thus, no baseline differences in reading times across groups-GOOD. Table 1a Total Reading Time for Part 2: Layers of the Earth:  Table 1a Total Reading Time for Part 2: Layers of the Earth 0= summary 1= explanation 2= diagram Figure 1 Total Reading Time by group for Part 2: Layers of the Earth:  Figure 1 Total Reading Time by group for Part 2: Layers of the Earth Significant: Diag>sum Diag>exp Total Reading Time for Part 3: Movement in the Layers of the Earth:  Total Reading Time for Part 3: Movement in the Layers of the Earth 0= summary 1= explanation 2= diagram Figure 2 Total Reading Time by group for Part 3: Movement of the Layers of the Earth:  Figure 2 Total Reading Time by group for Part 3: Movement of the Layers of the Earth Significant: Diag>sum Diag>exp Total Reading Time for Part 4: Movement in the Layers of the Earth When Mountains are Formed:  Total Reading Time for Part 4: Movement in the Layers of the Earth When Mountains are Formed 0= summary 1= explanation 2= diagram Figure 3 Total Reading Time by group for Part 4: Movement in the Layers of the Earth When Mountains are Formed:  Figure 3 Total Reading Time by group for Part 4: Movement in the Layers of the Earth When Mountains are Formed Significant: Diag>sum Diag>exp Analysis 5: Part 5 of the Text, “Why the Atlantic Ocean is getting wider”.:  Analysis 5: Part 5 of the Text, “Why the Atlantic Ocean is getting wider”. Here, no orienting task given Exploratory question whether students might utilize the same reading processes they had were prompted to do in tasks 2, 3, and 4. Anova using total time on part 5 as the d.v. yielded no statistically significant differences between the groups (F=.243, p=.786). Thus, students did not employ the same processing strategies they had used in the prior three sections of text where the orienting tasks were given. Analysis of Post-Test Data:  Analysis of Post-Test Data spatial knowledge and causal/dynamic knowledge entered as variables into a manova. No statistically significant differences were found (Fmult= .60, p=.67). Univariate not significant for: for spatial knowledge (Funiv= .007, p=.99) or causal/dynamic knowledge (Funiv= .397, p=.68) Analysis of Specific Post-Test Items (desperate times calls for desperate measures….) Anovas on each of the 14 post-test items yielded no statistical significant results, but some means in the expected direction. Overview of Results:  Overview of Results The diagram group consistently took longer than either the explanation and summary group to read sections of the text where orienting tasks were given. It was expected the reading time explanation group = diagram group because it was assumed that higher level processing is required to construct mental models (regardless of medium of information received)- this did not happen! Rather the summary group = explanation group on reading time, and the diagram group > than summary or explanation. BUT, the post-test does not reflect any gains for the diagram group despite their longer time spent reading the text? Some Speculations:  Some Speculations Speculations about this are…... 1) the summary task (as well as the other two) said “Include as much information as you can” and as such, may have elicited a higher level processing of the test than is typical with summarization tasks. 2) through the act of articulating summaries and explanations during their reading of the text, students were reifying what they had read, and thus performed equally well on the post-test. Additional Analyses underway to tease this out are: 1) analyses of the three summaries and explanations generated during reading are being coded for propositions recalled, inferred, and paraphrased. If summarizing was interpreted as a high level task by the students we would expect to see similar proportions of propositions recalled, summarized, and inferred when compared to the explanation group. BUT, if summarizing was interpreted as a lower level tasks (as it was designed to), we would expect explanation>summary on propositions paraphrased & inferred but summary>explanation on propositions recalled. (The summaries, explanations, and diagrams are being coded for inclusion of semantic features but it is likely that this is not fine grained enough to pick up difference. Additional analyses may be required of all the video data in the three conditions to track possible differences between the three groups while they summarized, explained, or diagrammed). Conclusions:  Conclusions These data are consistent with other studies on self-explanations (Cote & Goldman, 1998; Cote, et al, 1998) in which it was found that the relationship between self-explanations and learning are not simple and linear. Cote et al speculate that differences might be due to the types of self-explanations that are generated. In terms of the present study, a fine grained analysis of the propositions recalled and inferred across the summary and explanation groups may yield important information about what features students are attending to in constructing these representations. Further research needs to be conducted with texts that are specifically designed to tease out potential group differences. The text used here had many sentences which contained multiple types of information, i.e., spatial, causal, and dynamic, and combinations of the three, thus sentence by sentence reading time comparisons would not be fruitful. The domain, being highly spatial, causal, and dynamic may not be conducive to designing “natural” texts for this purpose. Regarding “Summarizing, Explaining, and Diagramming”, there are differential effects on reading times, there may be differences in Text-Base Representations and there are no tractable differences in mental models of science text.

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