Reading Four Perspectives on Transition:. English Literature from Sixth Form to University. Purposes. To explore uses and purposes of reading at post-16 and university levels and their impact on student learning;
English Literature from Sixth Form to University
Sixth form students;
Sixth form teachers and lecturers;
First year undergraduate students;
University lecturers.Context and Population
post-16 institutions, covering the maintained, further education and independent sectors within England;
English higher education institutions, including pre-1992 institutions, post-1992 institutions and higher education colleges.Institutions surveyed
Leads to increased confidence to contribute in teaching sessions;
Distinction between nature and quantity of pre-reading demands;
Post-16: reading often limited and supported by focus materials;
Undergraduate: often more extensive and unsupported;
Copious, unstructured reading demandsdifficult for new undergraduates.Analysis
Sometimes or often used by 95% of Sixth Form teachers;
Sometimes or often used by only 25% of HE lecturers.DARTs (Directed Activities Related to Texts) –Lunzer & Gardner (1979)
87% — never;
13% — sometimes;
0% — often.
Sixth form students:
48% — never;
49% — sometimes;
3% — often.
Readers employ a range of dramatic strategies in reading (e.g. “voicing” characters; creating settings; interrogating situations);
The absence of such strategies within much Sixth Form and almost all university teaching removes important reading tools from the process of teaching.Analysis
47% of undergraduates state it is sometimes used in seminars and 49% that it is often employed.
72% of post-16 students say this is sometimes 19% that it is often used in teaching.
Markedly more prevalent in higher education;
Students unable to offer detailed comment on the benefits of this approach;
Suggests students are aware of importance but unable to relate to this;
Lack of metacognitive response evidences gap between school and university practice;
Core area of concern to university departments wishing to improve student transition.Analysis
Students need to apply:
application and organisation;
wide reading and synthesis skills;
critical and analytical thinking;
theoretical reading.Preparation for university
“It is apparent that the abrupt change from limited intensive reading pre-higher education to wide-ranging, extensive, contextualised reading in higher education is a major stumbling block for a significant number of students.” (Smith, 2004: 91)
Although there appears to be a broad consensus on the importance of reading, coincidence of terminology actually serves to mask deep differences in expectation and perception.