09 SES 02 B, Issues in Assessing Reading and Language Competencies in Mother Tongue, Second and Foreign Language
In this paper, I argue that complex research projects profit from using an emergent mixed methods research (MMR) design, integrating multiple qualitative and quantitative methods. The paper reports from a reading research project comprising three separate studies; two using multiple qualitative methods, and one using quantitative methods. Discussing how the three studies were designed sequentially as a multiphase MMR project I argue that including fewer dimensions in a research design would not have provided the same insight into the richness of the material. I show how using an MMR approach within the field of reading research strengthens the credibility of the analyses. The main contribution of this paper arises from discussing how the emergent multiphase design adds value to reading research projects.
Attending to the developments within the field of reading research over the last quarter century, this paper argues that using a mixed methods approach within the field of reading research strengthens the credibility of the analyses (Bazeley & Kemp, 2012; Creswell, 2013; Kamil et al., 2011).
The present paper reports on a complex reading research project designed as a multiphase mixed methods research (MMR) study, where each of the three phases of assessment influenced the next, and where the interrelation between reading instruction, reading strategies, metacognitive awareness, and reading proficiency within and across reading in the first (L1) and the second language (L2) were identified for upper secondary school teachers and their students in Norway. In the three component studies (Brevik, 2014, 2017; Brevik, Olsen, & Hellekjær, 2016), two used multiple qualitative methods, and one used quantitative methods. The overall project would be considered MMR by most researchers in the field because it meets the defining characteristics of MMR (Creswell & Clark 2011).
While researchers are increasingly recognising the usefulness of applying more than one methodological approach in research (Bazeley & Kemp, 2012; Creswell & Clark, 2011; Creswell, 2013), questions remain about how to integrate various approaches. In line with Bazeley and Kemp (2012), MMR was used to study the qualitative and quantitative aspects of practices involved in developing reading comprehension in English L2. In doing so, various types of data were collected, analysed, and integrated to produce findings where the sum is greater than what either approach could provide on its own and to corroborate the findings across the separate studies (Creswell, 2013).
Bearing in mind that the intention of using reading strategies is to improve reading proficiency (Brevik, 2014; Duke et al., 2011; RAND, 2002; NRP, 2000), it was important to compare the students’ use of reading strategies to their reading proficiency as assessed by national reading tests. Since students in Norway participate in national reading tests in their first year of upper secondary school, the study included a quantitative analysis of reading scores from two national reading tests in L1 and L2. The decision to collect data from both languages was based on cross-linguistic reading research (Grabe, 2009; Koda, 2007) and compensatory reading theory (Bernhardt, 2011), which has suggested that students transfer skills between the L1 and the L2.
Bazeley, P., & Kemp, L. (2012). Mosaics, triangles, and DNA: Metaphors for integrated analysis in mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 6(1), 55–72. Bernhardt, E. (2011). Understanding advanced second language reading. NY: Routledge. Brantmeier, C. (2004). Statistical procedures for research on L2 reading comprehension: An examination of ANOVA and regression models. Reading in a Foreign Language, 16(2), 51–69. Brevik, L. M. (2014). Making implicit practice explicit: How do upper secondary teachers describe their reading comprehension strategies instruction? International Journal of Educational Research, 67, 52–66. Brevik, L. M. (2017). Strategies and shoes: Can we ever have enough? Teaching and using reading comprehension strategies in general and vocational programmes. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 61(1), 76–94. Brevik, L. M., Olsen, R. V., & Hellekjær, G. O. (2016). The Complexity of Second Language Reading: Investigating the L1-L2 Relationship. Reading in a Foreign Language, 28(2), 161-182. Creswell, J.W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry & research design. Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Inc. Creswell, J.W., & Clark, V.L.P. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (2nd ed.). California: SAGE Publications Inc. Duke, N.K., Pearson, P.D., Strachan, S.L., & Billman, A.K. (2011). Essential elements of fostering and teaching reading comprehension. In S.J. Samuels & A.E. Farstrup, (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (pp. 51–93). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Grabe, W. (2009). Reading in a second language: Moving from theory to practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kamil, M.L., Afflerbach, P.P., Pearson, P.D., & Moje, E.B. (2011). Preface. Reading research in a changing era: An introduction to the Handbook of Reading Research, Volume IV. In M.L. Kamil, P.P. Afflerbach, P.D. Pearson, & E.B. Moje (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. IV) (pp. xiii–xxvi). London and New York: Routledge. Koda, K. (2007). Reading and linguistic learning: Crosslinguistic constraints on second language reading development. Language Learning, 57(1), 1–44. National Reading Panel [NRP]. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction: Reports of the sub-groups. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. OECD. (2010). PISA 2009. Assessment framework. Key competencies in reading, mathematics and science. Paris: OECD Publications. RAND Reading Study Group. (2002). Reading for understanding. Toward an R&D program in reading comprehension. RAND Reading Study Group. USA: Rand Education.
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