Survey Says! A Comparative Snapshot of College Textbook Reading Expectations among USI Faculty, Freshmen, and Seniors
AuthorSaxby, Lori E.
AffiliationUniversity of Southern indiana
TitleSurvey Says! A Comparative Snapshot of College Textbook Reading Expectations among USI Faculty, Freshmen, and Seniors
MetadataShow full item record
Problem/Context: As an instructor who teaches academic reading strategies and oversees the USI reading program, freshmen often surprise me when they declare they do not have textbook reading assignments for their other courses. Since complex reading skills need to develop through age 18 and beyond, this declaration can seem perplexing and detrimental to student learning especially when many students already come underprepared for reading at the college level (ACT, 2015). My interest in knowing what faculty actually perceive and expect regarding college textbook reading led me to do a survey. I was also interested in what freshmen and seniors had to say and if their reading expertise had changed over time.
Approach: USI faculty, freshmen, and seniors were surveyed as to their perceptions and expectations regarding college textbook reading. In the 2017 Fall Faculty Staff Survey conducted by OPRA, 91% of the faculty who completed the survey indicated they assigned a textbook for one or more of the courses they teach. Did they expect students to come to class having read assigned material? Is guidance provided as to how best to read to learn in their discipline? Are students held accountable for textbook reading? Similar questions were posed to the fall 2017 cohorts of freshmen and seniors in their respective fall Assessment Day surveys. In addition, freshmen and seniors were surveyed as to how prepared they felt for the level and type of reading needed to be successful in college and how their college reading expertise may have changed since entering college. The students' reflections were compared to the stages of reading development as described by Jeanne Chall (1983) to determine if their comments aligned with changes in reading behaviors.
Reflection: Of the 185 faculty members participating in the survey, 72% expected students to read before class, 80% provided guidance in how to read in their discipline, and 72% felt that less than half of incoming freshmen were prepared for reading at the college level. USI faculty held students accountable for textbook readings through a variety of activities that mirror what researchers conclude are the most effective reading compliant approaches (Hoeft, 2012; Weimer, 2015). Comments from seniors about how their reading expertise changed over time was also instructive and supports a continued goal of preparing students for the complex reading skills necessary to do well in college and beyond.
ACT (2015). The Condition of College and Career Readiness Report. Available at http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/Condition-of-College-and-Career-Readiness-Report-2015-United-States.pdf
Chall, Jeanne S. (1983). Stages of Reading Development. Available at https://lilaacdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/challs-stages-of-reading-development.pdf
Hoeft, Mary E. (2012). Why University Students Don't Read: What Professors Can Do To Increase Compliance. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 6: No. 2, Article 12.
Weimer, Maryellen (2015). Getting Students to do the Reading. Available at https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/getting-students-to-do-the-reading/