Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Validating the Persian Version of Metacognitive Awareness Inventory and Scrutinizing the Role of Its Components in Ielts Academic Reading Achievement

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Validating the Persian Version of Metacognitive Awareness Inventory and Scrutinizing the Role of Its Components in Ielts Academic Reading Achievement

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

High-stake tests of language proficiency are a common practice in Iranian educational setting and their obtained scores are used to represent the candidate's proficiency in English and provide relevant evidence in decision making process for mainly three purposes: selecting people for an occupation, issuing a certificate, and permitting one to enter a higher education organization. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a prevalent example of these high-stake standardized tests playing a critical role in determining the future life of their candidates. In effect, the IELTS test is an example of a public test that is used to make crucial decisions about large numbers of people - whether they are eligible for English-speaking university entrance or not based on their English language abilities. An increase in the numbers of international students wanting to study at English-speaking universities and a concomitant growth in the number of universities requiring IELTS scores has led to a significant expansion of the IELTS test in recent years. The importance of the reading skill on IELTS has made it imperative for second language researchers to find out how students can be assisted in this regard.

For more EFLs, reading is a matter of challenge, particularly when the materials are unfamiliar, technical, or complex. Moreover, for some readers, comprehension is always challenging. They may understand each word separately, but linking them together into meaningful ideas often doesn't happen as it should. Comprehension refers to the ability to go beyond the words, to understand the ideas and the relationships between ideas conveyed in a text. There are different definitions for reading comprehension. According to Chastain (1988), "reading is a process involving the activation of relevant knowledge and language skills to accomplish an exchange of information from one person to another. It requires readers focus attention on the reading materials and integrate previously acquired knowledge and skills to comprehend what someone else has written" (p. 216).

Reading comprehension involves the ability to not only read the lines but also the ABSTRACT step of "reading between the lines." However, the next crucial step involves higher order skills that takes reading between the lines one step farther. "Good readers" have the ability to read beyond the lines. Higher-order skills enable students to do this and find the real value in the information they are reading. To do so, students must go beyond absorbing knowledge and learn to heighten skills to judge information, evaluate alternative evidence and self-assess strategy use and learning (Ku, 2009). In other words, if we expect educational systems to prepare people for life, educators need to place a premium on enhancing monitoring and self-regulatory skills in learners (Kuhn, 2005).

The researchers of the present study presumed that metacognitive strategies are among the strategies which can foster learning and hence reading. Educationalist posited that selfcontrol mechanisms are influential in academic endeavors, including reading comprehension, whether one is reading in the native language or a second language (e.g., Careel, 1991; Kuhn, 2005). Indeed, the consensus is that strategic awareness and monitoring of the comprehension process are critically important aspects of skilled reading. Such awareness and monitoring is often referred to in the literature as metacognition, which can be thought of the knowledge of the readers' cognition relative to the reading process and the self-control mechanisms they use to monitor and enhance comprehension. Auerbach and Paxton (1997) considered metacognition as well as an awareness of metacognition -planning and consciously executing appropriate actions to achieve a particular goal - to be critical elements of proficient and strategic reading. Such metacognition, according to Auerbach and Paxton (1997), entails knowledge of strategies for processing texts, the ability to monitor comprehension, and the ability to adjust strategies as needed. …

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