e 4.3: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the control group on the reading pretest
Figure 4.4: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the experimental group on the reading pretest
As the normality assumption for t test was not met again, a Mann Whitney U test was run. The following tables show the result:
Table 4.5: Mean Ranks of reading scores before treatment
Sum of Ranks
Table 4.6: Test Statisticsa of reading scores before treatment
Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed)
a. Grouping Variable: grouping
Table 4.6 shows that the difference between the reading scores of the two groups was not significant (p=.703>.05), therefore, the researcher was rest assured that the two groups were homogeneous with respect to their reading ability prior to the treatment.
Before administering the posttest the test has been piloted, the item facility of items was between 0.40-0.62. The item discrimination of items was between 0.41-0.56. The reliability of the test was 0.89. The correlation coefficient of writing was 0.9387. Reading scores of the two groups were supposed to be compared to explore which group performed better after the completion of the treatment. The normality assumption was first checked again as a prerequisite for a t test:
Table 4.7: Descriptive Statistics of the posttest scores
reading posttest control
reading posttest experimental
Valid N (listwise)
Again the skewness ratio belonging to the experimental group indicates that the distribution of this set of scores was not normal as it exceeds 1.96. The following graphs show the distributions:
Figure 4.5: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the experimental group on the reading posttest
Figure 4.6: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the control group on the reading posttest
As the assumption of normality was not met, t test was not legitimate to run. Therefore, a Mann Whitney test was run again:
Table 4.8: Mean Ranks of reading posttest scores
Sum of Ranks
Table 4.9:Test Statisticsa of reading posttest scores
Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed)56
a. Grouping Variable: grouping
As depicted in table 4.9, the mean ranks of the two groups on the reading posttest was not significantly different (p=.793>.05), thus the research hypothesis failed to be rejected, implying that the treatment did not have a significant effect on the learners’ reading comprehension ability.
The following bar graph shows the means of the two groups on the posttest:
Figure 4.7: Bar graph representing the mean scores of the two groups on the reading posttest
Reading comprehension is one of the focuses of researchers. Kasper, 2000a, b; Singhal, 2001 and Van Wyk, 2001 agree that in order to meet the reading needs of students within the 21st century; educators are pressed to develop effective instructional means for teaching reading comprehension and reading strategy use (cf, Yelland and Masters 2007). ”Through the use of scaffolding strategies a teacher can support learners to read and write far more complex texts than they normally could on their own. This supported practice allows learners to develop reading and writing skills that they can then use independently” (Rose et.,al 2006).
In this study the scaffolding did not have any significant effect on the reading comprehension ability of participants. This result is opposite of study conducted by Rahimi and Ghanbari (2011), they state that ”implementing scaffolding strategy is effective in the process of instruction students’ reading comprehension upgraded students’ reading comprehension” (p.2011, p.1074).
Unsuccessful scaffolding is ineffective in raising the scaffoldee’s independent activity levels. During unsuccessful scaffolding, the scaffolder’s input is not related to the scaffoldee’s current (or preceding) level. It may appear to be on levels lower than those of the scaffoldee. The scaffolder’s input does not follow the scaffoldee’s breaks in interest and engagement. Either partner or both do not seem to enjoy the process (Granot, 2005).
Hu (2006), in one study came to point that” there was no significant interaction effect between linking phrase scaffolding and articulation hint scaffolding on students’ performance in retention of comprehension(p.130).
(Beet et al., 1991; Davis and Linn, 2000; Palinscar, 1998 as cited in Hu, 2006) state that enough evidence has shown that well-designed scaffolding can systematically and dynamically facilitate learning based on the characteristics of a learner, the nature of the subject or task, and the learning environment. However, factors that influence the effectiveness of scaffolding remain in scattered pieces. Having an integrated view about the factors can help us understand research studies and expand the use of scaffolding to different context. So, maybe the requirements for effective scaffolding were not met in this study.
Effective instruction should occur in learners’ ZPD and balance between challenge and scaffolding (Roehler & Cantlon, 1997;Vygotsky, 1978). (McLoughlin, 2002) to match learners’ level of cognitive development, scaffolding should occur in learners’ ZPD (cf, Hu 2006). Another possible justification for the outcome of the present study maybe that the material was not so challenging for the participants.
Moreover, effective scaffolding depends greatly on the teacher. According to (Hogan & Pressley, 1997; Lepper et al., 1997; Pressley et al., 1996) the teacher who does the scaffolding should not only be a content expert, but also knows how to present contents in a way that it is easy for learners to understand (cf, Hu, 2006).
”Only when this teacher knows the curriculum very well could they be able to identify which kind of problem or misunderstanding students might have and offer help accordingly. In addition, during scaffolding it is quite normal that the initial support to students might not work and another attempt is needed. This requires that they are able to dynamically assess students’ learning and provide appropriate support, which is also based on their in-depth knowledge of the curriculum” (Hu, 2006 p.70).
Effective scaffolding requires that teacher also have a variety of pedagogical expertise (Lepper et al., 1997; Tharp & Gallimore, 1988). Pedagogical expertise includes managing classroom and behavior, supervising students’ activities, monitoring and assessing students’ progress, providing student’s feedback, and knowing how to help students when they have trouble (Pressley et al., 1996; Tharp & Gallimore, 1988). That teacher should also have insights into individual learners, i.e., understand what the learners already know, what level they can reach with help, and what their misconceptions are (Hogan & Pressley, 1997; Pressley et al., 1996). Pedagogical expertise is normally accumulated through
years of teaching experience (cf Hu, 2006).
Effective scaffolding needs a” teacher who also knows how to get learners engaged in learning by both initiating and sustaining their interests. Hogan and Pressely (1997) claim that good scaffolding is more than teachers helping students using small sequences. Instead, it is a very complex collaboration process, which requires shared understanding and effort between teacher and students. They urther propose that the communication quality and values that the two parties attach to scaffolding will greatly influence the success of scaffolding”.(cf Hu,2006 p.70). The researcher thinks that these requirements could not be fully met in 10 sessions. In Other words effective scaffolding requires time and patience. Riley(1995), after reviewing previous studies, found that it takes time for students to learn scaffolding strategies or tools ( cf Hu,2006). Also scaffolding has many models as well as strategies. The researcher’s speculation, therefore, is that using the model adopted for this study was not optimal and influential.
Similarly in effective scaffolding, the teachers have a wide range of scaffolding strategies, know when and how to use them, and are ready to use them to support learners (e.g., Palincsar, 1998). Scaffolding is student-dependent and context-sensitive. Students with different levels of cognitive development need different scaffolding strategies. Under different contexts, for example, one-on-one help or a whole class setting, different scaffolding strategies are required. In addition, when one strategy fails to facilitate students, they should be able to use another strategy to try again. All these factors require that they do have a variety of scaffolding strategies and know how to apply them (cf, Hu, 2006).
Researchers (Hmelo & Day, 1999; Kao, 1996; King, 1991; Oliver, 1999) also argue that to succeed in scaffolding, students need to master the strategies or skills offered in scaffolding. Thus, it is suggested that in future studies students should be provided more time to practice the different scaffolding methods to see if that would generate any significant effects ( cf Hu, 2006).
Conclusion and Pedagogical Implications
The present study was an attempt to investigate the impact of scaffolding on intermediate students’ reading comprehension. Therefore the following question was raised:
Q1: Does scaffolding have any significant effect on intermediate EFL learners’
To investigate the preceding research question empirically the following null hypothesis was formulated:
H0: Scaffolding has no significant effect on intermediate EFL learners’ reading comprehension.
In this chapter, a summary of the study and the conclusion derived from the result of the study will be presented. Then pedagogical implications and some suggestions for further research will be offered.