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Revista signos

versión On-line ISSN 0718-0934

Resumen

GOMEZ, Ángela; DEVIS, Anna  y  SANJOSE, Vicente. Micro and macro-structural comprehension monitoring when reading science texts in a foreign language: Is it just a proficiency matter?. Rev. signos [online]. 2013, vol.46, n.81, pp.56-81. ISSN 0718-0934.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-09342013000100003.

We present a study with Spanish university students with elementary, intermediate and advanced English proficiency levels. We aimed at analyzing the comprehension monitoring (CM) effectiveness in English, compared to the one in Spanish, and explaining the results using the model for text comprehension developed by Kintsch and colleagues. Our focus was the Semantic mental representation, differentiating CM at micro and macro-structural levels. Micro and macro-structural CM was measured assuming the ‘Error Detection Paradigm’: inconsistencies were embedded in the texts and students were asked to assess the comprehensibility of them using a key-code to distinguish ‘unknown words’, ‘absurd ideas’ and ‘inconsistent or contradictory ideas’. We used science texts, three in English and three in Spanish to improve reliability. Predictions were: a) in English, participants would exhibit lower efficacy in their CM than in Spanish; b) subjects with elementary English proficiency would show higher efficacy in their microstructural CM than in their macrostructural one, and; c) as English proficiency increased, the Spanish/English differences in CM would tend to disappear. Results partially supported our predictions: macrostructural CM did not improve as much as expected in subjects with advanced English proficiency levels. Unexpectedly, in Spanish, subjects tended to monitor their micro-level comprehension in a more effective way than their macro-level comprehension. These results were explained using the assumed cognitive model.

Palabras clave : Comprehension of scientific texts; comprehension monitoring; microstructure and macrostructure; English proficiency level; English as L2.

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