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International Journal of English Language Education

.: Home > International Journal of English Language Education > 2013 > Volume 1 Number 3 > 1. Gholamreza Hessamy; 2. Somayeh Sadeghi (Corresponding author).

The Relative Difficulty and Significance of Reading Skills

1. Gholamreza Hessamy; 2. Somayeh Sadeghi (Corresponding author).
1. Assistant professor, Dept. of English Language and Literature Payame Noor University, Lashkarak Road, Tehran, Iran; 2. Payame Noor University, Lashkarak Road, Tehran, Iran
Abstract :
The importance of reading in English as a foreign language has resulted in numerous studies 
on the construct of reading and the nature of its underlying skills. This study investigated the 
possibility of any hierarchical relationship among a set of hypothesized reading 
comprehension (RC) subskills measured by IELTS in terms of two important criteria of 
relative difficulty and significance. Furthermore, it examined the relationship between the 
level of difficulty and significance of the subskills. To this end, five reading subskills that are 
most frequently referred to in the literature were selected and presented to six expert judges 
in order to assign them to IELTS reading items. The results showed considerable agreement 
among judges on matching test items with the subskills. Then, the selected items were 
administered to 180 Iranian English majors. Analysis of data, using repeated measure 
ANOVA, showed significant differences among mean scores on four, out of five, reading 
subskills in terms of difficulty; therefore, a hierarchy of difficulty was identified. In addition, 
using structural equation modeling, contribution of each of the five subskills to the construct 
of reading ability turned out to be significant indicating a hierarchy of relative contribution to 
overall RC ability among the specified subskills. However, Spearman rank order correlation 
showed no significant relationship between difficulty level and relative contribution to the 
totality of RC. The findings have implications for test construction as well as teaching and 
material development.
Keywords :
reading subskills, significance of reading subskills, difficulty of reading subskills, IELTS reading test

Date Deposited : 25 Apr 2014 16:37

Last Modified : 25 Apr 2014 16:37

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Volume 1, Number 3, - 2013 , ISSN 2325-0887

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