Without assessment and evaluation of learning processes it's difficult to understand the dimension of student learning. Stufflebeam stated that "the evaluation process is the determination and judgment about the value of information, the objectives of educational program and the operations and its results are used to the guidance and decision making" (Wolf, 1984). One types of evaluation studies, are studies which have been done by some international organizations such as International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). The subject of these evaluations includes test subjects such as: Mathematics, Science, literacy, reading and some of eligibility. The test which is used for reading literacy is called PIRLS, it's the short form of Measurement, Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and its run once every 5 years in some educational systems. Iran is one the countries' which is participating in these studies. Deliberation performance of participating countries in PIRLS test provides opportunities based on data from information and implementation status of the education systems for other countries to study, compared and to evaluate the different aspects such as : planning, methods, textbook content, organization, factors within the school, family, social and cultural conditions.
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Students become familiar with new ideas and information by reading skills, including ability to understanding, interpretation and inference of texts and non-tuition and also they help them for learning "better thinking" and "better living". The scientific and comprehensive meaning of "reading literacy" is a means that the endless human experience can be found (Karimi, 2005, p. 48). In PIRLS method reading literacy is defined as: "The ability of understanding and use of various forms of written language which is necessary for society and it is valuable for people. Beginners can realize the meaning of different texts. They use reading for learning, participating in school community daily life and also they use it for pleasuring (I. V. S. Mullis, Kennedy, Martin, & Sainsbury, 2006, p. 3).
This view of reading reflects a constructive and interactive process and readers to be seen as active makers' meanings that are familiar with effective reading strategies and methods. (Ruddell, 2004). Readers can be awareness by reading different texts about themselves and the world around. From this point of view aspects of reading are: process of understanding, goals of reading, reading behaviours and attitudes. Comprehension process shows that how beginners make sense of the text and interprets it. PIRLS method evaluates students' comprehension by interpret, and integrate ideas, information and direct inference of the elements of the text (Martin, Mullis, & Kennedy, 2007). PIRLS study was designed with the focus on individual, family and school factors for providing credible information about the quality of reading in elementary schools (Grade 4 students 9 to 10 years). PIRLS method, determines basic literacy reading skills of students in primary schools rather than the other learning's. So there is a direct relationship between the range and the quality of students' academic achievements and the quality of reading and learning and understanding of lessons.
Results of PIRLS 2001 and 2006 studies show that the performance of Iranian students with score 405 and 418 (world average = 500) in comprehension are not being in a good condition. In the next study which had been done in 2006 students had a little progress towards 2001 PIRLS test but from statistically point of view it is not significant. Therefore, the factors influencing the results, something is inevitable (Karimi, 2008).
There are different perspectives about literacy reading. Among all of them the Psycholinguistic Perspective, Social constructivist perspective and Socio- Cultural perspective, paid more attention to the importance of cognitive factors for comprehension of the texts by the students. In a study which had been done by Black (2006) he divided the influence factors on students' understanding and comprehension into three categories: cognitive, family and educational factors.
Previous researches performed different variables as influencing factors which affected on cognitive comprehension of students. In present study based on the former studies cognitive variables such as: individual and family reading self-concept, attitude towards reading, outside school reading activities and education level of parents are used.
Self- concept is a set of perceptions and attitudes that someone has about himself or it is a set of attributes, qualities, quantities, capacity, limitations, values and relationships that people understand themselves and describe their identities (Sanchez & Roda, 2003). James has stated that "self" includes "Subjective-Self" and "self-objective". Self-objective includes individual qualities, knowledge and skills. "Subjective-Self" is a person and it's an article. Many evidences supported James's theory for achieving a common definition of self-concept and the definition which is presented by Shavelson, Hubner, & Stanton (1976). The following authors consider the term of self-concept as a self-cognitive that everybody may know about him/herself base on the experiences and perception of the environment. Self-concept as a part of the human personality has its own nature and peculiarity. These authors tried to determine the nature of self-concept and for this purpose they pointed to seven features or seven main aspects. Namdari-Pejman (2008) believes that self-concept has a psychological domain that is divided to multi-dimensional and hierarchical structure (general self-concept and specific self-concept). This process is stable but when we go much lower, self-concept become more specific and ready for changing. Different shapes of self-concept such as age and sex are more separable. Self-concept includes descriptive and evaluation aspects which is more separable rather than the other structures
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Kjaldman (2006) believes that the self-concept has three components: "cognitive component": which is connected to cognitive meaning implicit in self-concept as the qualities and roles of self-assessment "and" social interaction". "Emotional feelings" includes any individual feeling which is reflected to him/her except any behaviour that is reflected to individual behavioural.
Mullis, et al. (2003) in their study concluded that the students who have positive self-concept in reading, read the texts for entertainment and pleasure. According a comparison PIRLS test that was performed in 2001 (Tse, Raymond, Joseph, Yiu, & Elizabeth, 2005). In Hong Kong, Singapore and England They reported that when a student reads something it brings valuable experience to him/her and changes him/her into a skilled reader. They also concluded that there is a positive relationship between positive self-concepts with reading comprehension and self-concept as a fundamental concept requires the understanding of human behaviour. Rider and Susan (2006) in their study of literacy in order to reading progress tested 80 elementary students in year three in Sydney. They found a positive and significant relationship between self-concepts and attitude towards reading.
Aiken and Gable (2000) studied emotional features in 3 concepts: attitudes, interests and values. They claimed that attitude can be prepared for certain stimulus response. Another definition which is presented by Freedman, et al., (1970) emphasis' on three dimensions of cognitive, emotional and behaviour. According to this definition, attitude, including stable system of beliefs, feelings and action to prepare for what is attitude issue. This definition has three cognitive, emotional and ready for action (behaviour) elements. The definition of attitude emphasis on the word system and it has been defined to exist in the system interaction and correlation between the three components which is forming attitudes (knowledge, feeling and readiness for action). The recognition of individual feelings accepts effect from desiring about his/her practice, so changes in any of these components cause other components changing. The part of cognitive beliefs about a person or an object to the idea is formed by attitudes and beliefs. Emotional or emotional attitude related toward the emotions which makes the topic of attitude and eventually wants to practice, how individual attitudes and behaviour tend to approach the subject in a certain way.
Papanastasiou (2006) on his PIRLS study in 2001 which has done on 3001 primary fourth student in Cypriot pointed to some factors for displaying students high and low reading skills. Attitude of students to reading is stated as a significant factor. This factor has been introduced after homework, reading activities outside of school, time spent at home for homework, as the fourth factor. Swalander and Taub (2006) base on their study on students of eighth year in Stockholm reported the significant impact of attitude on reading self-concept and reading comprehension. Salabas (2008) in his research on students of year eighth in Turkey has reached to lower correlation coefficients (0.08) between attitude towards reading and comprehension skills of students the results showed the impacts of mediator variables.
Base on PIRLS test studies, students do their activity reading levels outside and inside of school for two reasons: 1 - experience of literacy and 2- gaining and using of information. Each of these goals with specific types of texts related together. For example, reading for literacy experience will be formed by reading fiction texts while reading for using information will be achieved with awareness training articles and texts (I. V. S. Mullis et al., 2006).
Levine and Turner (2001) were studied reading habits in the school environment and outside the school and obtained interesting results. Results showed that reading habit in school predicts 35% of the variance comprehension and reading habits outside school predicts 36% of the variance in comprehension. Wedin and Dalarna (2005) base on their findings on Tanzania students' pointed to the role of reading activities outside the school as an important factor for the power of understanding comprehension. Folkesson and Swalander (2007) in their study looked for the effects of home literacy, writing and self- concept on comprehension as three variables. Results indicated a significant function effect of writing (0.44) and a significant function effect of self-concept (-0.30) on comprehension, but the impact of home literacy activities which is consisted as reading outside of school was not a significant.
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Since the Coleman study (1966) about the Equality of Educational Opportunity, social status is considered as an important economic variable to predict academic achievement of students. Since then, in different studies this issue has been analyzed. Kiamanesh and Mahdavi-Hezaveh (2008) believed that social status-economic is the value of academic background, social capital, education and family facilities. Thomas and Stockton (2003) in their paper have concluded that there is a relationship between social status-economic, gender and academic achievement and girls are more power in reading literacy. They also pointed that the variable of social status-economic impacts on both sexes with a significant academic achievement of a diagnosis. Chiu and Chan (2006) in a research which had done on the students with 15 years old from 43 countries with Multilevel Analysis concluded that the reading scores of girls in all countries is higher than boys. They also found that students with a higher social status-economic have a better performance in reading literacy.
By considering the importance of cognitive factors in increasing student comprehension, this study is going to review the relationship between cognitive factors with individual and family background levels from understanding and interpretations of primary students in forth year point of view. These factors include reading self-concept, attitude towards reading, reading activities outside school (home), and parents' literacy. Base of these points the research hypothesis are as follow:
There is a significant relationship between the education level of parents and the amount of direct interpretations students reading.
There is a significant relationship between reading self-concept and the amount of direct interpretations students reading.
There is a significant relationship between attitude towards reading and the amount of direct interpretations students reading.
There is a significant relationship between reading activities outside the school and the amount of direct interpretations students reading.
Mullis, et al. (2006) stated that PIRLS test take-assessment reading literacy for children with 9 years old. A selection of this population is above the phase transition of a significant growth in reading skills of children. In Iran education system most of 9 years old children are studying in grade four in primary schools.
Population of this study: All Iranian students who were in the fourth year of elementary schools during school years 2004-2005. According to the official report of Information and Statistic Center (ISC) in 2005 there were 63,365 schools with 1,386,886 students. For doing PIRLS test the researcher according to standard methods by Institute of Statistics Canada (Three-stage stratified cluster design) totally selected 5411 students from 235 schools (2500 girls and 2911 boys) with mean age 10.2.
Data related to reading self-concept, attitude towards reading and reading activities outside school (home) was gathered by using student questionnaire and parent literacy data was gathered by questionnaire survey of parents and learning reading literacy and performance scores.
In table number one the number of questions for per scale and the reliability coefficient has been separated.
Data in Table one, indicates that the reliability coefficient obtained in all variables are over 0.7, and this suggests that it is favorably. It means that the internal cohesion of each of the research variables is high.
The number of questions for reading literacy in fourth primary grade is 126. Base on PRLS test the goals of reading and comprehension has been measured by 10 texts (5 texts for the purpose of literature and 5 texts for the purpose of information). Approximately each text was accompanied by 12 questions (I. V. Mullis, Martin, Kennedy, & Foy, 2007). Table 2 shows these questions to examine the type and content area.
For measurement of relationships, hierarchical multivariate regression method is used. This method is used for the study of effecting of one or more independent variables for predicting dependent variable.
A. Description: descriptive findings of this research, including some indices such as: Mean Standard deviation and range of scale questions. These are showed in the table.
According to data in Table 3, the average scale of reading self-concept is (3.24), the attitude of students to reading is (3.5) and reading activities outside school is (3.01) so they are more than expected average (2.5). Average of parents' literacy is (2.22) so it is lower than the expected average.
Table 4, shows the descriptive statistics indicators related to the questions of reading literacy performance from understanding, interpretations and analyzing point of view
According to data in Table 3 average direct deduction is higher than interpreted and both of dimensions are less than the international standard score (500).
B. Inference: In order to test the assumptions the multivariate regression analysis based on hierarchical and progressive practices were used because reading comprehension using two dimensions (understanding and direct interpretations), so the multivariate regression test was run twice. The results of this test in the later interpretation in Table 5, 6 and 7 are presented.
According to data in Table 5, F changes after every new variable at level p<0.01 is significant. In other words, all variables have significant effect on the later interpretation and understanding and totally 43% of the variance clear the interpretation.
According to data in Table 6, the rate of F is (641.11) at the level of p<0.001 so it is significant. In other words, predictable regression coefficients shows that individual and family variables, are significant for interpretive and understanding
In Table 7 the coefficient of cognitive variables which influence on the Pearson t shows that this variable with 99% confidence can be predicted the changes that are related to interpreted Notify variable. Calculated tolerance factors, show that there is low integration between predictable variables. It is caused of suitable choosing of variables Denotative correlation obtained between the variables shows that among predictable variables literacy parents has the highest correlation with the interpretation (0.46) and then reading self -concept variables with (0.31), attitude towards reading (0.17) and activities outside of school with(0.09) are significant. So we can say that these correlations have meaning.
On this basis, hypothesis which are related to literacy parents, reading self-concept; attitude towards reading and activities outside of school with reading comprehension interpretation was confirmed.
The results of multiple regression after direct deduction pointed in tables' numbers 8, 9 and 10.
According to data in Table 8, F changes after every new variable at level p<0.01 is significant. In other words, after deduction of direct comprehension there is a significant effect of all variables, and totally contains of 43% of the variance.
According to data in Table 9, the F rate at level p<0.001 is (591.16) so it is significant. In other words, regression coefficients predictable variables show that cognitive individual and family variables can induct direct variance to comprehension with a significant representation.
Table 10 shows the cognitive variable influences on the coefficients after the direct inference Pearson t, that this variable with 99% confidence can be interpreted Notify variable to predict. The calculated tolerance factor for variables, suggests predict low levels of time variables. Denotative correlation obtained between the variables represents the direct relationship between parental education which has a direct corollary to direct inference (0.45) and then reading Self-concept variables (0.03), attitude towards reading (0.16) and activities outside of school (0.07) are Significant and meaningful to this.
On this basis, hypothesis related to parental literacy connects, Self-concept reading, attitude towards reading and activities outside the school reading comprehension after direct inference was confirmed.
Discussion and Conclusion
This study analyzed PIRLS 2006 test in reading comprehension of students from two dimensions, interpretations and direct relationship; and then the relationship between these two individual cognitive and family factors were analyzed.
The results of data analysis indicated that there is a significant relationship between being dimensions of literacy of parents and direct interpretations of reading students. This variable has the main effect of students understanding (interpretation =0.46 and inference =0.45). The findings of this study with the results of Thomas and Stockton (2003) and Chiu and Chang (2006) studies are the same. They also found to a significant relationship between parental literacy and academic achievement in reading.
The relationship between student reading self-concept and the dimension direct interpretations of reading comprehension was one of the hypotheses of the research. The results show that the variables have a positive and significant relationship with fancy and it is about 0.30 of variance to comprehension and representation. The findings of this study with the results of Mullis et al. (2003); Tse, et al. (2005) and Rider and Susan (2006) studies are the same. The results of these researches show that the imagination of students who have positive reading, reading material is for entertainment and pleasure. While a student reads something for him/herself, it made him/her to a skilled reader with a valuable experience. This study from the obtained result of significant is as the same as Folkesson and Swalander (2007) study but from direction it's opposite of it.
The other hypothesis of the research was the relationship between students reading attitude dimensions with direct interpretations of reading comprehension. The data analysis was determined that the attitude toward reading has a positive and significant relationship with the dimensions understanding and it shows about 0.17 of understanding of variance so the findings of this study with the results of Papanastasiou (2006) and Swalander and Taube (2006) studies are the same. However, the place of attitude in these researches was not the same so Salabas (2008) who achieved lower correlation coefficients (0.08) mentioned the mediator variables and Namdari-Pejman (2008) who achieved (0.28) correlation coefficients because his study was based on structural equation modeling with using variables to intermediate
The last hypnotizes of study was looking for reading activities outside the school and the level of dimensions of comprehension. Based on the results, this relationship was significant. Among cognitive variables, variable activities outside the school had the minimum variance representation of understanding with (00.07) that this value was also significant. The findings of this study were the same with the results of Levine and Turner (2001), Wedin and Dalarna (2005), Folkesson and Swalander (2007) studies.