Reading comprehension and it's relationship with academic performance among standard eight pupils in rural Machakos
Chege, Elizabeth Wanjiku
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The Study investigates the relationship between pupils' reading comprehension and academic performance. It is common to attribute poor academic performance to lack of mastery of the particular subject skills. However, it is possible that this poor performance is due to poor reading comprehension ability. Local studies have recognized the importance of reading in academics. However, these have restricted themselves to pupils' ability to decode. Though decoding is important, the ultimate goal of all reading is comprehension. This study, therefore, sought to establish the relationship between reading comprehension and academic performance, and in so doing provide local empirical data that shows the magnitude of this relationship for various subjects offered in the primary school level. In addition, the study investigated the relationship of pupils' reading comprehension with gender and intelligence. The study was carried out in Machakos District among Standard Eight pupils in five randomly selected primary schools. A reading comprehension test and a reasoning ability test were administered to the pupils. The results of the Machakos District end of year examinations were used as the measure of the pupils' academic performance in English, GHC, Kiswahili, Mathematics and Science. The person product Moment Correlation was used to determine the relationship between the scores obtained in the reading comprehension test and pupil's academic performance for the various subject areas. Results indicated a positive correlation between reading comprehension and performance in all the five school subjects with English and Kiswahili recording the highest correlation co-efficient and Mathematics the lowest. To determine the relationship between intelligence and academic performance, the person product moment Correlation was used. Results indicated a strong positive correlation between the two. In testing for the effect of gender on reading comprehension, a t-test of significance was used. There was no significant difference in the performance of boys and girls in reading comprehension. Further, the obtained correlation values between reading comprehension and academic performance were tested for gender differences. It was found that all the correlation values were higher for boys than for girls in all the subject areas in GHC. In addition, the correlation values between reading comprehension and Mathematics and Science were not significant for the girls. The study concluded that reading comprehension is related to academic performance of the subjects considered, and is therefore a factor to consider in seeking to elevate the academic performance of our pupils. A Pupil's intelligence may be an indicator of his reading comprehension ability. However, data covering more detailed aspects of both reading comprehension and intelligence should be subjected to more powerful statistical testing to determine to what extent the pupils intelligence can be used to predict his reading comprehension ability. Girls performed better than boys Math and Science, subjects in which traditionally boys perform better than girls. Further as earlier indicated, there was no correlation of this performance of girls in Mathematics and with reading comprehension. Further research would be necessary to establish the role of gender in reading comprehension and academic performance.