The Relationships Among Literal And Inferential Reading Comprehension Skills And Selected Cognitive Processes

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Educat.D.)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among the levels of achievement in literal and inferential reading comprehension skills and the cognitive functions of analytic field approach cognitive style, conceptual tempo cognitive style, and the hypothesis (H) theory.A population of 305 sixth-grade students was selected from two Dade County, Florida, sixth-grade centers. They were given the Petriel Reading Comprehension Test. Based on their reading scores subjects (N = 48) were assigned to four sample reading comprehension groups of Low Literal-Low Inferential, High Literal-Low Inferential, Low Literal-High Inferential, and High Literal-High Inferential.The subjects were given three cognitive instruments. The Children's Embedded Figures Test classified their analytic field approach cognitive styles. The Matching Familiar Figures Test classified their conceptual tempo cognitive styles. The hypothesis (H) probe technique classified their strategies in concept-attainment for the hypothesis (H) theory.The data were analyzed by means of t tests, discriminant function analyses, and Cohen's kappa. The hypotheses, in the directional form, were tested at the .05 level.The combination of scores from the hypothesis (H) probe technique and the Matching Familiar Figures Test significantly discriminated across the four groups (p < .005).The same two variables discriminated between the combined groups which reflected total low versus high inferential skills (p < .005), the two sample groups which contrasted both literal and inferential skills (p < .001), and the two sample groups which contrasted low versus high inferential skills under low literal conditions (p < .001). These two discriminating variables were measuring significantly different discriminant dimensions for each comparison and had little shared variance.Common thinking processes were found in both the cognitive functions, which were exhibited in the types of concept-attainment strategies and conceptual tempos, and the reading comprehension skills. The stronger discriminative power between certain reading comprehension groups gave possible clues about the relationships between literal and inferential comprehension processes. When the literal comprehension skills were weak, the involvement of concept-attainment strategies and capacities for selecting correct solutions were apparent in inferential comprehension skills.


Education, Educational Psychology

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text