The effects of student -centered and traditional models of teaching on reading skills

Clifton W Hamilton, Florida International University


A pre-test, post-test, quasi-experimental design was used to examine the effects of student-centered and traditional models of reading instruction on outcomes of literal comprehension and critical thinking skills. The sample for this study consisted of 101 adult students enrolled in a high-level developmental reading course at a large, urban community college in the Southeastern United States. The experimental group consisted of 48 students, and the control group consisted of 53 students. Students in the experimental group were limited in the time spent reading a course text of basic skills, with instructors using supplemental materials such as poems, news articles, and novels. Discussions, the reading-writing connection, and student choice in material selection were also part of the student-centered curriculum. Students in the control group relied heavily on a course text and vocabulary text for reading material, with great focus placed on basic skills. Activities consisted primarily of multiple-choice questioning and quizzes. The instrument used to collect pre-test data was Descriptive Tests of Language Skills in Reading Comprehension; post-test data were taken from the Florida College Basic Skills Exit Test. A MANCOVA was used as the statistical method to determine if either model of instruction led to significantly higher gains in literal comprehension skills or critical thinking skills. A paired samples t-test was also used to compare pre-test and post-test means. The results of the MANCOVA indicated no significant difference between instructional models on scores of literal comprehension and critical thinking. Neither was there any significant difference in scores between subgroups of age (under 25 and 25 and older) and language background (native English speaker and second-language learner). The results of the t-test indicated, however, that students taught under both instructional models made significant gains in on both literal comprehension and critical thinking skills from pre-test to post-test.

Subject Area

Community college education|Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Hamilton, Clifton W, "The effects of student -centered and traditional models of teaching on reading skills" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3298586.