# The effect of reading comprehension abilities primary school students over their problem solving achievement.

In this research study whether 2nd grade primary school student's reading comprehension ability has a positive effect over their problem solving achievement or not has been analyzed.

This research has been carried out over 43 students that have similar capacities, attending 2-A and 2-B at a Primary School of Eyup County in the province of Istanbul. In order to analyze data, calculations such as, mean, frequency distribution, standard deviation with related group t-test, unrelated group t-test, reliability analysis and one-way anova were used.

Final test results showed that there was a meaningful difference between experimental and control group: Experimental group succeeded better than the control group on the level of acquired skill of understanding. The significance of the subject on the level of problem solving ability with reading comprehension was discussed and some useful suggestions were offered.

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Growing up individuals who are capable of solving their probable problems that they may come across in the future is one of the prior objectives of the education. Mathematics educators agree with the idea that students' abilities to solve problems need to be improved. It should be one of the up most objectives of education (Charles& Lester, 1982) [4] . When you analyze the primary school Mathematics program, you can see that giving the ability to solve the problems is one of the objectives of Mathematics lesson. During problem solving, students should combine concepts and mathematical operations and be able to use them to solve problems. Besides to solve a problem, one should be able to understand the problem sentence, choose the necessary data to solve the problem, enhance the problem, and finally offer an alternative way (Charles, 1985) [3].

According to H.P. Rickman understanding is the prerequisite for acquiring. Understanding is acquiring the transferred knowledge by the learner with all the dimensions without any disconnection and without causing any misunderstanding. It is not possible for someone to find a solution to a problem that he or she does not understand. The learner should propose alternative solutions by relating the given and asked data (Bingam, 1988, p20).

In order to make a problem understandable and to make familiar the abstract concepts in the sentence, they need to be used frequently in the daily life. The student should learn before-after and above-below concepts. To do this, these concepts should be related with the learners' daily experiences by using the language (Healy, 1997 p. 326) [5]. A learner who can understand completely and correctly what he or she reads, and who can express his or her feelings clearly and understandably, can interpret a problem and determine what is asked in the problem and can develop suitable solutions to problem.

Reading is fundamental of getting a knowledge means stressing the importance and necessity of reading comprehensively. In all the lessons, leaning activities mostly based on the power of reading comprehensively (Cemiloglu, 1998 p. 133) [2]. It can be said that the effect of reading comprehensively has the quality to be a common fundamental and to be a general introductory behavior to all the lessons (Bloom, 1998 p. 61-62) [1]. The ability to read comprehensively is tried to teach a learner during his/her education life. This effects the learner's learning during his/her life. Learning in any lesson depends on understanding of the learning instrument of that lesson (Bloom, 1998, p. 59) [1]. Therefore for a learner who cannot read comprehensively is difficult for him/her to be successful in his or her lessons (Ulug, 1996, p. 31)[6] .

A student, who can read comprehensively, can also be successful in all his or lessons. In mathematics lesson, when you encounter with a problem understanding this problem can help a learner to solve the problem. It is known that in our country, the university and high school entrance examinations have mostly questions based on testing learners' ability whether they can read comprehensively and can come up with new interpretations by making analysis and synthesis on the given data in this research, it has been analyzed whether learners' ability to solve mathematics problems and reading comprehensively which effects our learning during our education life, have a positive interaction or not.

The Problem

The question 'What is the effect of reading comprehensively over second grade primary school students' ability to solve mathematics problems?' is the problem sentence of our research.

The Purpose of the Research

The purpose of this research is to understand whether increasing second grade primary students' reading comprehension ability has a positive effect over their problem solving achievement.

Hypothesis

1 .There is not a meaningful statistical difference between control and experiment group students' pre-test scores.

2. There is a meaningful statistical difference between control and experiment group students' final-test scores.

3. There is a meaningful statistical difference between pre-test and final-test scores of the experiment group.

4. There is not a meaningful statistical difference between pre-test and final-test scores of the control group.

5. The pre-test scores of the control and experiment groups do not show a meaningful difference according to sex variation.

6. The final-test scores of the control and experiment groups do not show a meaningful difference according to sex variation.

The Importance of the Research

Mathematics lesson is an important instrument to give individuals the ability to solve problems during their primary education. Giving the ability to solve problems is among the objectives of mathematics program.

It is known that students have difficulty both in primary and high school mathematics lessons. Students do not have any difficulty to solve problems that can be solved by four operations, and they have the necessary mathematical operation knowledge to solve a problem. On the contrary, they have difficulty to understand the problem text and to determine what is asked in the problem. This situation is mostly because students do not have the habit of reading and they do not have the ability to read comprehensively. Turkish lesson has the quality to be a fundamental to all the lessons during education. The native language forms the way of thinking of the students. A student, who is capable of using his or her native language effectively, can also be successful in his or her lessons when his or her interpretation ability and thinking structure is developed.

A lesson which contributes to develop a learner's reading comprehension is Turkish lesson. When a student who has reading comprehension, interpretation and reasoning ability encounters with a problem can understand concrete and abstract concepts in the problem and can have the ability to express the problem with his or her way and have the ability to think over a problem and find a solution.

In this research, the effect of a learner's reading comprehension over his or her problem solving achievement is tried to explain. The result of this research is important that it shows us a way to develop the ability to solve mathematics problems in primary mathematics lesson.

Assumptions

1. There is not a meaningful difference between the intelligence level of the control and experiment group students.

2. The sample of the research is representing the population.

3. It is accepted that the students attending the research express and state their real knowledge, thought and feelings, when they fulfill the personal information form, problem solving test and Mid-term evaluations.

4. There is not a meaningful difference between the capability of the teachers of the control and experiment group students.

Limitations

1. The research is limited with the 43 students attending 2-A and 2-B classrooms of a primary school in Defterdar neighborhood of Eyup county in Istanbul.

2. The research is limited with 2004-2007 education year.

3. The research is limited with Personal Information Form, Problem Solving Test and Mid-Term Evaluation's questions.

Method

The Model Of The Research

In this research 'The effect of reading comprehension ability of second grade primary school students over their problem solving achievement' has been analyzed. Experiment and control groups were formed to understand whether students' reading comprehension ability had an effect over their problem solving achievement. To collect data and analyze data quantitative techniques were used. For this reason, the model of the research was experimental method with control group Pre-Test and Final Test.

Trying to determine the subjects attending to research, two classrooms that one had 20 and the other had 23 students that we accepted that they had equal circumstances during their education, were used. In order to understand their mathematical achievement and Turkish reading comprehension ability, Mathematical Evaluation Test and Reading Comprehension Test were carried out. When we looked at the results of these two tests, it was obvious that the average of the both classrooms were close to each other. Averages were taken and to sustain homogeneity these two classrooms were decided as study groups. In order to prove this choice was scientifically true, unrelated group t-test was carried out between the scores of Mathematical Evaluation Test and Reading Comprehension Test. It was understood that there was not a meaningful difference between these two tests

In this research, which was carried out in four months, only activities just to find the solution of a problem was used at the control group mathematics lesson. At the experiment group 4 hours of 12-hour Turkish lesson was separated to reading. In this time span that was distributed to four hours a week, experiment group students read story books according to their levels. Then students prepared written summaries for the book that they had read. Besides, students told the summaries of the books in the classroom. Students' language mistakes during the reading and telling sessions were corrected by the class teacher. In these activities, the objective was to develop reading comprehension abilities of the students. To experiment group in Mathematics lesson, problem solving behaviors and activities to set up a problem were used. Thinking problems as Turkish texts and given and asked concepts were provided. Telling the problem and re-writing the problem with their own words were asked from the students. In addition to that, the teacher asked students to set up new problems from the given data.

Since the aim of this research was to determine the problem solving achievement of the students who have reading comprehension ability and the reflection of reading comprehension activities in problem solving, two reading comprehension mid-term and six mathematics mid-term evaluation test were applied between ten days in four months during the research period. By using reading comprehension mid-terms, students' reading comprehension abilities and by using mathematics mid-terms, students' understanding of a problem and how they achieved the solutions were tried to determine.

In March, the second term of 2004-2007 education year, Personal Information Form was applied at the same week in one class time to the students. At the beginning day of the 4 month education, problem solving Test was applied as pretest to control and experiment group students. At the end of the 4-month education, the Problem Solving Test that had been used as pre-test was applied both groups as final-test to determine the difference between the control and experiment groups' problem solving achievement.

Population and Sample

The universe of the research was the whole students in second grades of the primary schools in Defterdar neighborhood of Eytip County in Istanbul in 2004-2007 education year. The sample of the research was 20 students from 2-A and 23 students from 2-B in a primary school in Defterdar neighborhood of Eyup County in Istanbul in 2004-2007 education year.

Collecting The Data

In this research, in order to determine the homogeneity of experiment and control groups, Mathematics Evaluation Test with 15 multiple choice questions which had 3 choices were applied. Besides, to state the difference between control and experiment groups that was supported by reading comprehension activities, Problem Solving Test with 20 multiple choice questions that had 3 choices was applied as pre-test and final-test. While preparing these tests, second grade Turkish and Mathematics course books that had been approved by Ministry of Education was used. These tests were applied both groups at the same week without any time limitation and it was understood that subjects had completed the tests between 20 and 40 minutes. Six mid-term mathematics examinations with 3 choices were applied to understand the ability and the performance of students during the process of finding a solution to a problem. These tests were applied between ten days in one hour. These mid-term questions were prepared according to second grade course books which had been approved by Ministry of Education. While preparing the questions of the mid-term, questions both testing the students ability to analyze the given information about the problem and questions testing the students' ability to set up new problems were included. Cronbach [alpha] test was used to analyze the validity and reliability of the test used for collecting data. The reliability results of all the tests were shown at the table below.

Personal Information Form was used in this research to determine the control and experiment group students' characteristics, their fathers and mothers' education status and in what circumstances that students were studying mathematics. This Personal Information Form that had fifteen questions had taken from a survey that had sixty questions.

Analyzing The Data

In this research, I used SPSS (16.00) programme. Because of the number of data greater than 29 we chose the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. It was applied to experiment and control group students' pre-test and final-test scores to determine the analyzing techniques to understand the data taken form pre- test and final-test scores. After these tests it was seen that pre-test and final-test scores had normal distribution. Since the distribution was normal, Paired Sample t-test was used to compare the pretest and final-test's average. One way anova test was used to test the homogeneity of both groups. After the test it was seen that there was not a meaningful difference between both groups.

After the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test which was used for control and experiment group's pre-test and final-test scores, it was understood that both groups' pretest and final-test scores had normal distribution. As a result of this Paired Sample t-test was used to compare the control group's pre-test and final-test scores. It was seen that there was not a meaningful statistical difference between both tests' scores.

Since the pre-test and final-test scores had normal distribution, Paired Sample t-test was used to compare experiment group's pre-test and final-test scores and it was understood that there was a meaningful statistical difference between both tests' scores.

The median and frequency distribution of the Mathematical Mid-Term Test which was applied to experiment group were given in the tables at Findings and Interpretation Part.

One-way Anova was used to determine the differentiation situation between pretest and final-test and Personal Information Form answers of the experiment and control group students that formed the sample.

Paired Sample t-test was used to analyze the subjects' pre-test and final-test scores' average according to their sex. The meaningfulness level of the tests for deducing meaning was taken as [alpha] =0.05

Findings

The Mid-Terms and their Analysis Which Were Applied to Experiment Group that was Supported by Activities for Understanding the Effects Reading Comprehension Abilities over Problem Solving Achievement

In this research students' who have the ability to read comprehensively problem solving achievements was mentioned. With this purpose control group students were taught with classical mathematics lessons and reading comprehension activities was not used in these lessons. To experiment group students, to stress the importance of reading comprehension in problem solving, suitable story books were read and their summaries were prepared by the students in Turkish lessons. Besides, in Mathematics lessons activities were used for understanding the problem in problem solving. In order to determine the effects of these studies over Mathematics problem solving achievement, 6 mathematics midterms were applied in 4 months to students. By using these mid terms, students' performance in solving problems was tried to specify. The table 2 below is showing the scores of Mathematics Mid-terms.

As it is seen in Table 2, the mean of the Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 1 scores of experiment group students was 2,95. Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 2 was applied after 10 days from Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation I had applied. The mean of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 2 scores of experiment group students was 3,2. The mean of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 2 scores of experiment group was 0,25 more than Mathematics Mid-term Evaluation 1. Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 3 was applied after 10 days from Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 2 had applied.

The mean of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 3 scores of experiment group was 3,0. The mean of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 3 scores of experiment group was 0,2 less than the mean of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 2. When we analyzed the answers of the experiment group in Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 3, we did not realize any realize at questions for reading comprehension. Students mostly made mistakes at questions that required Mathematical operations. This problem that the students had, caused the situation that Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 3 scores' mean was less than Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 2 scores' mean. After 10 days from the Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 3 had applied, Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 4 was applied.

The mean of the Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 4 scores of the experiment group was 3,05. This was 0,5 more than the mean of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 3 scores' mean. After 10 days from the application of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 4, Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 5 was applied. The mean of the Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 5 scores of experiment group was 3,30. This was 0,25 more than the mean of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 4 scores' mean. After 10 days from the application of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 5, Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation 6 was applied.

The mean of the 6th evaluation of the experiment group was 3,65. This was 0,35 more than the 5th evaluation of the experiment group. When we analyzed the questions of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluations that we saw the results above, we saw that the questions were not asking students to find just the solution. Instead, the questions were asking students to understand the problem, to express new ideas by using their own words and by reading the problem's written expression, to discriminate the ways to find a solution, finally to guess the possible solutions. When we looked at the above table which showed the scores of Mathematics Mid-Term Evaluation that we applied to experiment group and their scores' means, a progress could be seen at students' problem solving achievement parallel with the application of reading comprehension activities. When the students gained the ability to read comprehensively, it was obvious that they also performed better at problem solving.

Testing Hypothesis

In this experimental research, there are six hypotheses which belong to six sub-problems. First, second, third and fourth hypotheses are related to experimental and control groups' pre-test and final-test scores. Since the pre-test and final-test scores of the control and experimental groups had normal distribution, to test the first four hypotheses related group t-test and unrelated group t-test were used. Fifth and sixth hypotheses were formed to state the pre-test and final-test scores of experimental and control according to their sex variation. In order to test these two hypotheses related group t-test was used. Below, the hypotheses stated respectively, and statistical analysis to test these hypotheses and the result of these analyses were given.

First Hypothesis

The unrelated group t-test results of pre-test scores of control and experiment group students were given at the Table 3.

When we looked at the p value after t-test, we could say that there was not a meaningful difference between pre-test scores of experiment and control group students.

Second Hypothesis

The unrelated group t-test of final-test scores of control and experiment group students were given at Table 4.

When we looked at the p value after t-test, we could say that there was a meaningful difference between the final-test scores of experiment and control groups' students. This difference that we found was the result of the 4-month education program that included activities for developing reading comprehension ability and for stressing the importance of reading comprehension at problem solving. Besides, this difference showed us a progress of the experiment group students' achievement.

Third Hypothesis

Related group t-test results of pre-test-final-test scores of experiment group students were given at Table 5.

After the t-test, when we looked at the p value, it could be said that there was a meaningful difference between pre-test and final-test scores of experiment group students. This difference that we found was the result of the 4-month education program which includes activities for developing reading comprehension ability and for stressing reading comprehension at problem solving. This difference showed us a progress of the experiment group students' achievement.

Fourth Hypothesis

Related group t-test results of pre-test-final test scores of control group students were given at Table 6

After the t-test for pre-test-final-test of control group students, the p value showed us that there was a meaningful difference between pre-test and final-test scores of students. Since the final-test average was bigger, meaningfulness was at the final-test direction. This result showed us clearly that there was a meaningful difference between the pre-test and final-test scores of control group students. The success of control group students at pre-test and final-test was not equal.

When we looked at the p value of the t-test for pre-test scores of experiment and control group students according to their sex variable, we could see that there was not a meaningful difference at the pre-test scores of control and experiment group students according to their sex variable. This result showed us clearly that there was not a meaningful difference between pre-test scores and the sex of the control and experiment group students. Their pretest success was equal.

Fifth Hypothesis

Unrelated group t-test results for pretest scores of control and experiment group students according to their sex variable were given at Table 7.

After the t-test, when we looked at the p value, it could be said that there was a meaningful difference between pre-test-final-test scores of experiment group students. This difference that we found was the result of the 4-month education program which includes activities for developing reading comprehension ability and for stressing reading comprehension at problem solving. This difference showed us a progress of the experiment group students' achievement.

Sixth Hypothesis

Unrelated group t-test for final-test scores of control and experiment groups according to their sex variable were given at Table 8.

When we looked at the p value of the t-test for final test scores of experiment and control group students according to their sex variable, we could see that there was not a meaningful difference at the final test scores of control and experiment group students according to their sex variable.

At the Tables 9 and 10, the success and scores of control and experiment group students at the following education year was analyzed. At this analysis, it could be said that the activities that had applied to experiment had permanent effects to their success.

Conclusion and Suggestion

Conclusion

The aim of this research was to understand whether second grade primary school students' reading comprehension abilities had a positive effect over their problem solving achievement or not. With this aim, a four-month study was carried out in Otakcilar Primary School at Eyiip County in Istanbul in 2004-2007 education year. Then we looked at the following education year's final scores' averages of experiment and control group students in 2004-2007 education year and the outcomes of this research are listed below.

* In addition to written examinations which supply data to evaluate the students' problem solving achievement of second grades, mid-terms which give the logic of reading comprehension at problem solving or mid-terms which has open-ended questions has positive contributions to students' problem solving achievement.

* Giving and developing the ability to solve problems to second grades in primary schools, students' success increase, if you use activities including reading and understanding the problem, expressing the problem with his or her own words, making the given-asked analysis, expressing the problem with figures or schemas, guessing the ways or solutions of a problem and setting up a new problem by using the given data.

* If you spend time to reading books and activities for reading and understanding in second grades of primary school, a positive progress can be seen at the performance of students at problem solving.

* Second grade primary students who have the habit of reading and understanding and reading books, have a better progress at problem solving than others who do not have.

* When you analyze the following year Mathematics scores, you can say that if you continue the study, you can have a permanent success at the students' problem solving achievement.

Suggestions

We can offer the following suggestions under the light of the conclusions of our research.

* You should use mid-terms with multiple choice tests or open-ended questions in addition to written and oral examinations to evaluate problem solving achievements of second grade primary students.

* You should pay attention to use questions for understanding the problem, re-writing the problem with his or her words, discriminating the necessary information from the unnecessary information, and setting up new problems by using the new data in addition questions to find just the result of the problem in second grade primary school students.

* When you develop the second grade students' problem solving achievement at mathematics lesson, first of all, you should be sure that the problem text is read and understood. You should make the problem text understandable by explaining the unknown words. You should use activities such as problem completion and setting problems according to stated numbers and operations. When you pay attention to physical and mental changes during the students' development, you can realize that they do not have abstract thinking ability at second grade, you should dramatize the problem in order for them to understand the problem.

* To develop problem solving achievement in second grade students, you should not only use the activities just to find the solution but also the activities in which students analyze the asked-given in the problem, discriminate the important information and new ways to find solutions should be carried out.

* 4 hours of 12-hour Turkish lesson should be separated to reading books at a suitable atmosphere in second grades.

* You should tell the teachers the importance of problem solving for students and new methods that are developed for problem solving should be used by teachers in the classroom.

* By cooperating with the families of the students, you should provide your students to read books at home and students should tell what they read to their family members.

* In the course books for second grades, problems which students can solve by using their reading comprehension ability in addition to activities in which students find just the answers.

* In the course books, activities and questions such as completing a missing problem or by using certain numbers and operations setting up new problems should be used.

References

[1] Bloom, S. Benjamin (1998). Human Facilites and Learning in the School. (Translation Durmus Ali Ozcelik). Istanbul: Milli Egitim Press

[2] Cemiloglu, M. (1998). Teaching Turkish in Primary Schools. Bursa: Uludag University Press.

[3] Charles, R.T. (1985).The Role of Problem Solving. Arithmetic Teacher, 32,48-50

[4] Charles, R .& LESTER, F (1982). Teaching Problem Solving; What, Why & How. Palo Alto, CA: Dale Seymour Publications.

[5] Healy, J.M. (1997). The Developing Mind of Our Children. (Translation Ayse Bilge Dicleli), Istanbul

[6] Ulug, F. (1996). The Success in the School. Istanbul: Remzi Bookstore

ASSIST. PROF. DR. AHMET S. OZDEMIR

Marmara University, Ataturk Education Faculty

Department of Education of Mathematics
```Table 1.
The Reliability Results Of All The Tests

NAME OF THE TEST CRONBACH
[alpha] VALUE

Mathematics Evaluation Test [alpha] = .6794
Reading Comprehension Test [alpha] = .6983
Problem Solving Test [alpha] = .8204
(Pre-Test and Final -Test)
Mathematics Mid-Term [alpha] = .6861
Evaluation 1
Mathematics Mid-Term [alpha] = .7875
Evaluation 2
Mathematics Mid-Term [alpha] = .7385
Evaluation 3
Mathematics Mid-Term [alpha] = .7107
Evaluation 4
Mathematics Mid-Term [alpha] = .8369
Evaluation 5
Mathematics Mid-Term [alpha] = .8079
Evaluation 6
Reading Comprehension Mid- [alpha] = .7021
Term Evaluation 1
Reading Comprehension Mid- [alpha] = .6641
Term Evaluation 2

Table 2.
The Data of Mathematics Mid Term Evaluations
Which were Applied to Experiment Group
Student

Number of Students in Mid-term

Evaluations (N)

Scores I II III IV V VI
1 7 5 6 4 2 2
2 1 1 3 2 3 2
3 3 5 3 5 6 3
4 4 3 1 7 5 7
5 5 6 7 2 4 6

Table 3.
The Unrelated Group t-test Results of Pre-test
Scores of Control and Experiment Group
Students

Groups N X ss sd t p

Experiment 20 5,025 1,437 41

Control 23 4,283 1,355 1,74 0.08

Table 4.
The Unrelated Group t-test Results of Final-test Scores of
Control and Experiment Group Students

Groups N X ss sd t p

Experi- 20
ment 82,75 1,427 41 7,19 0.00

Control 23 50,87 14,66

Table 5
The Related Group t-test Results
of Pre-Test-Final-Test Scores of Experiment Group Students

Groups N X ss sd r t p

Pre-Test 20 50,25 14,371 19 .291 -8,523 .000

Final-Test 20 82,75 14,279

Table 6.
The Related Group t-test Results of Pre-Test-
Final-Test Scores of Control Group Students

Groups N X ss sd r t p

Pre-test 23 42,83 13,55

Final- 22 .65 -3.25 .004
23 50,87 14,66
Test

Table 7.
The Unrelated Group t-test for Pre-Test
Scores of Experiment and Control Group
Student According to Sex Variable

N X ss sd t p
Girls 20 46,75 15,91

Boys 23 45,87 13,02 41 .19 .84

Table 8.
The Unrelated Group t-test for Final-Test scores
of Experiment and Control Group Students
According to Sex Variable

Groups N X ss sd t p

Girls 20 70,75 21,04
41 1,45 .15
Boys 23 61,30 21,43

Table 9.
Mathematics Final Scores of Experiment
and Control Group Students

Mathematics Final Scores
of Experiment and
Control Group Students.
Number of Students (N)

Scores Experiment Control
1 0 0
2 1 2
3 4 3
4 4 4
5 13 9

Table 10.
Mathematics Final Scores' Averages of
Experiment and Control Group Students

Experiment Control
Group Group
Average of Final

Scores (X) 436 355
```