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Testing the Fit of the DIME Model of Reading Comprehension with Biology Text


"Over the past 4 years we have been developing a new model of reading comprehension, the Direct and Inferential Mediation Model (DIME; Cromley & Azevedo 2007). To date, this model has been tested with domain-general text at the high school and undergraduate level. We wondered whether our model was as applicable to domain- specific text comprehension as to domain-general comprehension. In the present study, we collected data from 291 undergraduate biology students reading biology text. Students completed measures of background knowledge, inference, reading comprehension strategies, vocabulary, word reading fluency, and comprehension. The DIME model had an excellent fit to the data, explaining 50% of the variance in comprehension. Background knowledge and strategies made the largest total contribution to comprehension, suggesting that these two variables might productively be targeted for interventions with college-level biology students."