Metacognitive Skills and the Role of Text-Marking in Reading Comprehension



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Text-marking is a popular reading strategy among students, but there has been much debate in empirical literature on its effectiveness. The current study examined the relationship between readers’ metacognitive skills and the quality of their text-marking, as well as the impact of text-marking on reading time, question answering time and comprehension accuracy. Specifically, we asked if the effect of text-marking relied on the physical act of marking or seeing the marks in text. 90 undergraduate students were separated into three groups and completed a reading task with six passages. One group was provided with a highlighter and could access their highlighted text when answering questions, one group could highlight but answered questions with a clean text, and the other group did not use highlighting. Readers who were provided with a highlighter spent significantly more time reading the text, regardless of how many words they actually highlighted, but this increase in reading time did not translate into any benefits when answering questions. Additionally, contrary to our hypothesis, readers with higher metacognitive skills highlighted more words and less central words. We recommended that students should use text-marking with caution and instructors should inform students of the cognitive processes involved in text-marking.



Reading Comprehension, Metacognition