Thursday, January 31, 2013

Annotation and reading comprehension

It might not mean much, but as I was recording some scores in my gradebook today, I noticed the difference between my students who annotated versus those who didn't annotate a sample AP English Language multiple choice passage. Out of the 65 students who took the test, 33 of them annotated but 32 didn't. The people who annotated the passage scored on average 9% higher than the students who didn't. I always encourage the students to read with a pencil in hand, but it's not a requirement; now I'm rethinking that. The image on the right is of a student of mine who had a perfect score, and I couldn't help but notice the rich annotation on the passage (arrows, summary, brackets, quoted materials). I haven't had the time yet to do more than a cursory view of the research on the effect of annotation on reading comprehension, so this could just be a coincidence.

And even if it isn't an isolated phenomenon, we all know that correlation isn't causation. Maybe annotation makes more effective readers, or maybe more effective readers annotate. Still, it does make me wonder....

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