Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Donna L. Mealey


The purpose of this study was to examine directed and spontaneous transfer of college developmental reading students' textmarking strategy use. Two males and two females enrolled in a developmental reading course at Louisiana State University participated. Participants were asked to use textmarking strategies in their introductory biology course. During scheduled meetings with the researcher, participants turned in their annotated material, discussed textmarking progress, and received feedback on the quality of their annotations. Students were also asked to reflect on strategy use in assigned journal entries. Participants were not asked to use textmarking strategies in any other content course in which they were enrolled. However, at the end of the semester, they were asked to bring in any textbooks in which they had marked to the researcher for analysis of spontaneous textmarking. Data collection occurred over the 15-week semester and included the following sources: photocopies of participants' textbooks in both the developmental reading and biology courses, journal assignments, transcriptions of audiotaped interviews with participants and developmental reading and Biology 1001 instructors, and student course evaluations of developmental reading. Data were analyzed using constant comparative analysis. Results indicated that: (a) Although efforts varied, students generally exhibited strong resistance to annotation; (b) students either annotated too much or too little information; (c) students had difficulty distinguishing important from trivial information, organizing information, and paraphrasing, and they initially ignored graphic aids; (d) although students gave varied reasons for adjusting textmarking, their existing knowledge of content material and test expectations appeared to be the strongest factors; (e) perceptions of textmarking utility varied little across students; (f) students' statements of textmarking utility were consistent with their use of the strategy, with the exception of one student; and (g) students gave the same reasons for lack of textmarking transfer to outside courses. These findings are generally supported by earlier textmarking and strategy transfer research and have several implications for developmental reading programs based on a strategic learning approach. To provide students with reading and study strategies and to promote transfer of these strategies, both training within developmental reading programs and the relation between the developmental reading program and subject disciplines should be considered.