This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Effects of Teaching Critical Thinking and Reading Comprehension Strategies on the Writing of Developmental English Students in a Community College




McLendon, Nancy

Type of Degree



Curriculum and Teaching


The setting for this study was a community college in southeast Alabama, and the purpose was to determine whether the teaching of reading comprehension and critical thinking strategies along with English grammar and writing improved students’ writing performance on a final in-class essay. Two intact classes of developmental English students were randomly assigned to a control group or treatment group. The control class received grammar and writing instruction, the same instruction as all English 093 students at the college. The treatment class also received grammar and writing instruction, but the instructor added reading comprehension and critical thinking instruction for the treatment group. Instruction time was the same for both groups; therefore, the control group received extra grammar exercises in lieu of the critical thinking and reading comprehension instruction. Data analyses revealed a statistically significant difference in the critical thinking scores for the treatment group; however, no statistically significant differences were noted between the two groups on the writing assessment. At posttest, a correlation was found to exist between the treatment group’s vocabulary scores on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the critical thinking scores. The results, although not statistically significant for reading and essay writing scores, did indicate differences, but the small sample sizes did not yield statistically significant differences for the two. The treatment group’s retention in the class was a noticeably higher percentage (63 % for control group and 83 % for the treatment group); however, these differences failed to yield a statistical significance. Further studies are needed in order to explore the possibilities of obtaining statistically significant results with larger sample sizes.