FACTORS AFFECTING THE READING COMPREHENSION OF SELECTED ACCS STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MAKATI SCHOOL YEAR 2012-2013 An ACTION RESEARCH Project Requirement of: Dr. Amelia P. Paje Submitted by: Jennifer Ramos Umali MAED-IMD INTRODUCTION Reading means many things to many people. It can be one of the most rewarding, preoccupation of the individual his horizons and making it possible to partake of means accumulated experience and achievements through the ages. It also plays a vital role in ones’ success in school. Reading is one of the most important skills in English than an individual must need to master. It is a toll subject for it is prerequisite of all learning areas. It serves as a gateway to every student to learn the different subject because students have a difficulty in reading, he may encounter also difficulties in all subject areas. Comprehension is reading with understanding. It is decoding meaning from the printed text not only in single words or sentences but also of the interrelationships among the sentences in discourse. One of the concerns of ACCS students of University of Makati is how to improve their reading speed comprehension skills which is a basic requirement when they enter the call center industry. It is necessary therefore for the teachers to provide as many opportunities as possible to enhance and teach these students the skills or strategies they will need to improve their reading comprehension. There are some studies made on the factors that affect reading comprehension. But most of these studies focused on the primary and secondary level’s problems on reading comprehension and only few could have probably investigated on the factors that affect the reading comprehension of the students on the tertiary level especially those who are enrolled on Business Communication. These made the researcher investigate on what are some factors that affects students reading comprehension. This will help on determining on how to improve their reading skills that would qualify the students in what the BPO industry needs. Background of the Study The area of focus for my action research is improving Reading Comprehension by identifying the Factors that affect Reading comprehension of the selected ACCS students. Without the solid foundation of reading skill the researcher feels the students will struggle hard throughout their schooling and adult life. By learning the best comprehension strategies and how to best teach these strategies to the students, the researcher hopes to provide the solid foundation needed to succeed. The researcher concludes that the students score decreases because of the students’ attitude towards reading. Review of Related Literature Reading is one of the four macro skills taught in an English language classroom, which requires a response from the reader through summarizing the main facts based on what was read (Zintz&Maggart, 1986, in Blay et.al, 2009).Reading is not just extracting meaning from the text but a process of connecting to the information given by the text. Reading in this sense, is a communication between the reader and the text (Grabe, 1988in Villanueva, 2006). Reading is essential to life. And reading with comprehension is the chief justification why we read, understanding what the text is all about (Lastrella, 2010).Reading comprehension is a complex balance between recognizing printed symbols and interpreting the meaning behind the symbols (Dennis, 2011). There is a growing body of evidence supporting the concept that a reader’s background knowledge about what he is reading is one of the most critical factors in determining whether a student will understand what he is reading or not (Hirsch,E.D. (2006); Kamhi, A.,(2007). To continue to make progress in learning, as well as fuel self concept and motivation, students should participate in regular classroom experiences appropriate to their cognitive and maturational levels, including interesting and cognitively challenging books presented orally or on tape (Worthy, 1996). According to Worthy (1996), it is not sufficient to provide books that are geared solely to a student’s instructional reading level. When reading level is solely considered, below level basal readers are generally used for instructing struggling readers. Reading such “baby books” often makes struggling readers feel more defeated. Focusing on student interests in selecting reading materials may be more beneficial in promoting reading success than a focus on level. It turns out that interest is far more significant than readability. When students have strong interest in what they read, they can frequently transcend their reading level (Worthy, 1996). Many educators and researchers consider interest to be an essential factor in all learning (Hidi, 1990; Schiefele, 1991). Students who do not enjoy typical school texts often fail to engage in reading, and may develop a lifelong aversion to reading. Even if they are not initially struggling readers, “reluctant readers tend to gradually lose some academic ground, because wide Journal of Inquiry & Action in Education, 3(2), 2010reading is related to increases in general knowledge and reading comprehension” (Williamson & Williamson, 1988). High challenge academic tasks invite students to expend the maximum level of effort and encourage students to value the processes of learning. As a result, motivation researchers view high challenge tasks as most beneficial for promoting learning and motivation (Miller, 2003). Teachers promote motivation when they provide students with opportunities to assume increasingly higher levels of responsibility for their learning. Moreover, a challenging task often requires students to use prior knowledge and construct an understanding of a topic. This practice increases the personal meaning that students attach to an activity, therefore increasing the likelihood of becoming engaged in an activity (Miller, 2003). During school, students interact and work alongside peers and adults. These social perceptions and relationships are related to and predictive of school-related outcomes (Patrick, Knee, Canevello, & Lonsbary, 2007). For an individual to survive in today’s world, it is a requirement for him/her to know how to read with understanding. He/she should be capable of understanding simple text such as transportation documents which includes travel directions and road instructions, bills and contracts. The effect of not being able to comprehend could be disastrous (e.g. instructions on a bottle of medicine or chemical warnings) (Lastrella, 2010).With the ability to comprehend a text, people are able not only to live safely and productively, but also to continue to develop socially, emotionally and intellectually. Likewise, reading is a very significant language skill for a student. Since they are subject to a continuous flow of information, they need to prepare themselves for the demands that reading in school and in the bigger society places on them. Reading also has been a segment of the entrance test in most colleges and universities. But there are cases by which students fail during the entrance examination because of lack of comprehension (Yale, 2011 in Lastrella, 2010).Maggart and Zintz (1970) in Marquez (2008) state that comprehension is the major purpose of reading- without comprehension, reading is a meaningless activity regardless of age or ability of the reader. There are levels of reading comprehension, namely: literal level (reading the lines), inferential or interpretive level (reading between the lines) and the critical level (reading beyond the lines (Romero, 1987 in Marquez, 2008). Some studies have shown that the performance (reading comprehension) of the students is affected by several factors. Rizardo&Tabuno, (1998)in Marquez (2008)in their study on the reading comprehension of Fourth year high school students of Iligan, made the following conclusions:1. Parents’ monthly income and educational attainments have contributed to the reading performance of the student. 2. The kind of materials that the respondents read enhanced their ability to comprehend a text 3. The respondents’ attitude towards reading differed from each other 4. The availability of reading materials at home and in school and the students’ curiosity to learn enhanced their reading comprehension. Educational researchers have also focused on the teacher’s behavior that should be effective in promoting student’s motivation (Brophy, 1986 in Marquez, 2008). In the local context, Mante (2009) in Ilustre (2011) sought to identify factors that affected Filipino bilingual high school student’s reading comprehension in English. The objective of her paper was twofold; first was to determine and measure the participants' dimensions of motivation to read, and second was to identify the relationships between the participants’ motivation to read in English, their reading comprehension and their use of meta-cognitive reading strategies when reading in the same language. Results were not conclusive as to whether reading motivation or use of meta-cognitive reading strategies affects reading comprehension more for there was no single predictor of the reading test scores. On the contrary, Anderson (1994) as cited in Lastrella (2010) presented that the recall of information in a text is affected by the reader’s schemata and explains that a reader comprehends a message when he is able to bring to mind a schema that gives account of the objects and events described in the message. Moreover, Wilson (1972) in Marquez (2008) stated that the lack of educational opportunity and reading materials among poor families contribute to the performance and competence of the learner. Educational attainment of the parents of the respondents also matter. Students whose parents have higher educational background perform well than those whose parents only attained elementary or high school education. This is because the former are able to provide more learning experiences that are essential to the development of the student’s reading skills and other aspects as well (Lardizabal, 1981 in Marquez, 2008). In a country like Nigeria, it was found in 1985 that secondary pupil’s poor learning characteristics, which were identified in terms of attitudes, enthusiasm, self-concept as well as study habits, are caused by their disadvantage when their parents have a lower education. Furthermore, more than lower socio-economic status groups in Nigeria mostly fall into the low or the non-educated groups (Ezewu, et.al, 1981 in Omoregbe, 2010). Parental educational level in known as a factor positively related to children’s academic achievement. And the educational level of parents is greatly connected to the educational attainment of their children (Grissmer, et.al in Omoregbe, 2010).Reading comprehension too lies on the student’s interest in reading. “Reluctant readers tend to gradually lose some academic ground, because wide reading is related to increases in general knowledge and reading comprehension” p.31-32 (Williamson, 1988 in Seitz, 2010). Kukuyo (1989) as cited by Tubio (2004) in Marquez (2008), noted that the students might interact if they are interested with the topic and make comprehension possible because of the interest that they have. This interest and attitude are determined through hobbies and experiences that the reader had in order to motivate him to read (Edorot, 1998 in Marquez, 2008). Furthermore, in the study made by Kelcey (2010), results suggest that schools should be associated with differences in teachers’ knowledge. By comparing teachers with similar personal and school backgrounds, results showed that measured knowledge is significantly associated with student’s achievement in reading comprehension. Objectives of the Study This study aims to determine the main factor, among the three factors, that affects the reading comprehension of selected Business Communication students of the University of Makati S.Y 2012-2013. The following variables were used in this study: mother’s educational attainment; students’ attitudes towards reading; and the perception of the students towards their teacher’s competency in teaching reading. Finding revealed that all the factors mentioned can all be contributing factor that would affect the learner’s reading comprehension. Statement of the Problem The main problem of this study is to determine the Factors Affecting the Reading Comprehension of Selected Business Communication Students of the University of Makati S.Y 2012-2013. Specifically, this study aims to answer to the following questions: 1. What is the level of the reading comprehension of the students in terms of their test scores? 2. Is there a significant difference in the reading comprehension of the students when categorized in terms of the following? 3.1 mother’s educational attainment 3.2 attitudes of the students towards reading; and, 3.3 perceptions of the students’ regarding their teachers’ Competence in teaching reading HYPOTHESIS There is no significant difference (Ho) in the reading comprehension of the students when categorized in terms of the following: mother’s educational attainment; attitudes of the students towards reading; and, perception of the students’ regarding their teachers’ competence in teaching reading. METHODOLOGY Research Design The researcher used the descriptive type of research in this study. Descriptive research is a research design in which events are recorded, described, interpreted, analyzed and compared. Its objective is to describe systematically a situation, condition or area of interest factually and accurately. Descriptive designs include observation, surveys and interviews, standardized tests, and case studies (Castillo, 2002). Research Instrument The researcher uses a survey-questionnaire needed for this study which is divided into two parts. First is the checklist that was used to gather information about the personal information of the respondents and their mother`s educational attainment. The second part is composed of questions that determined the perception of the students on their Teachers competence in teaching reading. And lastly, is a 7-item test that measures the reading comprehension of the students. Data Gathering Procedure The researcher surveyed 30 selected students from Associate in Contact Center Servicing or ACCS course. Only those students who were present on February 15, 2013 at around 12:45 p.m. were given the survey questionnaire since majority of them were inside the classroom and waiting for their professor to arrive. Scoring Procedure and Categorization of Variable A. Perception of the Student of the student on the Competence of the Teacher in Teaching Reading The range of value and grouping of the class intervals considered in this study for the perception of the student on their teachers’ competence in teaching reading are presented below (Marquez, 2008) Range of Value Description 3.25-4.00 Very Competent Grouping Competent 2.50-3.24 1.75-2.49 Competent Moderately Competent Less Competent 1-1.74 Less Competent B. Attitude of student towards reading Range Value Description 3.25-4.00 Very Desirable Desirable 2.50-3.24 Desirable 1.75-2.49 Less Desirable Less Desirable 1-1.74 Undesirable C. Reading Comprehension of the Students Range of Values Description 5-8 Very Satisfactory 0-4 Satisfactory Statistical Treatment The following treatments were used in this study: Descriptive Statistics such as Percentage, arithmetic mean, and weighted mean were used to describe the distribution of data and to determine the evaluation of the respondents on the different variables given in this study. Statistical Tools/Formula Descriptive Statistics 1.1 Percentage: % 1.2 Arithmetic Mean: x 1.3 Weighted Mean wx f 100 n x n wx w RESULTS AND DISCUSSION PART I 1. Personal Information of the Respondents a. Respondents Profile. There are twenty four (24) females and six (6) male respondents for a total of thirty (30). b. Twenty-seven (27) of the age respondents are in age between 17-21 years old and 24 to 35 years old. c. Out of thirty (30) respondents, 29 of t hem are single and there was one married respondents. PART II Attitudes of Students towards Reading The researchers able to find out the different factors that affect the reading comprehension. One of the strategies conducted by the researcher was to use descriptive questionnaire for the possible answer using checklist method in order to answer different questions. There are thirty (30) respondents/students to be chosen randomly to answer survey questionnaire based on their desired understanding /perceptions. One of the factors possible identify by the researcher that affects the reading comprehension of the students was the mother`s educational attainment. At the very beginning of the children`s learning, mother was the their first teacher. It would be difficult to teach their children if even their mothers may have a problem about their educational attainment, the same reason why most of them cannot provide their children a proper learning and understanding. Based on the data gathered about on the educational attainments of every respondents mother, four (4) of them achieve there education in primary level, sixteen (16) of them had their studies in secondary level, and there are only ten (10) who were able continue their studies in college/tertiary level. Educational Level Primary Secondary Tertiary Total Numbers of mother`s Last School Attended 4 16 10 30 Mother`s Educational Attainment Primary Secondary Tertiary In this study the respondents were able to answer two sets of questionnaire (1) Attitudes of students towards reading and (2) their perceptions on their teacher`s competency in teaching reading. With this question the researcher found out that Eighty-three percent (83%) of the respondents said they agree that English was very important language in studying., fifty (50%) percent on them on the other hand said its constant or neutral and that English reading comprehension test are too difficult and forty percent (40%) of them disagree and that they get nervous when there is a reading comprehension test in school. Most of Asian countries like Philippines where the medium of instruction for communication is English. In school, it was one of the curriculums to be mandated in delivering the lessons in such a way that it is also considered a skill to be developed by the learner. Having this skill and strategies in reading with comprehension can be used as a tool for understanding ideas, information and other facts that could help one person intellectual capacity. With this thirteen (13) respondents or 43% percent said they disagree that they don’t have the skills and strategies on reading with comprehension test, but eighty percent (80%) or 24 respondents agreed that reading strategies would improve their reading comprehension in English and fifty-eight percent (58%) of them said that having high score on reading comprehension test are very important. On the other hand about the perception of the students on their teacher`s competency in reading, based on their answers on this question given there are only forty percent (40%) of them says that they agree that their teacher discusses the subject matter in reading and fifty-eight percent (58%) says they strongly agree that their teacher had enough knowledge on the subject their teaching. A communication skill was a very concrete tool on how the teacher delivers the lesson properly and accurately. The teacher’s ability in communicating their ideas to learners was very important, in this study, about sixty-two percent (62%) of the respondents agreed that their teacher has a good way of teaching communication. In terms of teaching or asking some of the question about the subject they teach, the teacher was able to pronounce it very well and they discusses the lessons using conspicuous visual aids and presentation and about twenty-five percent (25%) of them said that they agreed that their teacher used this to motivate the perception of every student . Fifty percent (50%) of them said that the teacher clarifies the reading problems when the students were asked to some of the complex question. On the other hand, almost seventy-five percent (75%) of the respondents strongly agree that the teacher give corrections to mispronounced words and seventy-five percent (75%) of them said their teachers responded immediately if there are some clarifications. Conclusion The researcher have come up with the following conclusions :(Ezewu (1981) is precise in mentioning that parents, specifically mothers’ educational levels known was one of the factors that positively related to children’s academic achievement. This is clearly supported by the results of the respondents’ scores in the comprehension test. Some of the respondents who failed in the test are those whose parents had only attained primary and intermediate education. If parents have good educational background, they would be able to guide their children and help them in their academic difficulties particularly in reading. The attitude of students towards reading is also an influencing factor that affects their reading comprehension performance. Most likely, students would be able to understand the text if they are interested with what they are reading and if reading is really one of their interests or hobbies and according to Kukuyo (1989), students might interact if they are interested in the topic and make comprehension possible because of the interest that they have. Therefore, comprehension takes place if the willingness and the desire of the students, to understand the text are present. Teachers’ competency in teaching reading is also a contributing factor. Teachers’ knowledge in teaching reading plays an important factor in student’s learning. Competent teachers would result an efficient learners. Therefore students must be able to practice comprehension to be able to pass the basic requirement of the industry. References Blay, R., Mercado, K., &Villacorta, J. (2009).The relationship between motivation and second language reading comprehension among fourth grade Filipino students. 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