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Extending refutation texts to promote science learning

A central instructional resource to support the acquisition of knowledge is the use of texts. This is especially true in the science domains, where the subject matter gets increasingly abstract and complex so that detailed verbal descriptions are indispensable. As students continue to struggle with reading in middle and high school, numerous studies have focused on evaluating instructional approaches to support students’ reading comprehension. However, less is known about the contribution of reading comprehension to meaningful learning and transfer.

As reading comprehension outcomes are quite temporary and closely linked to the text, different cognitive processes and strategies need to be employed to encode this information in long-term memory. Under this perspective, significantly less is known about the differential effects of most approaches on different comprehension and learning outcomes as well as for specific subgroups of students.

Based on the project proposal presented here, we aim to provide more insights into the question, how different facets of reading comprehension contribute to learning from reading scientific texts. To address this goal, different short-term and long-term measures are combined to assess both comprehension and learning outcomes of students as a result of reading. Aside, specific manipulations of the texts or the reading instruction are implemented to gain insights into the design of reading-based learning environments in science classrooms that promote comprehension and learning.