The study investigates the Effect of Cooperative Learning Strategy on Achievement Motivation of Low Achieving Students in Reading Comprehension. The area of the study was Nsukka educational zone of Enugu State, Nigeria.Four research questions and three null hypotheses were generated to guide the study. The design of the study was a quasi- experimental non-equivalent pretest– posttest control group design involving one experimental group and one control group. The sample size consists of two hundred and three (203) identified low achieving SSII students from two schools in Nsukka Local Government Area in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State. Two instruments were used for the study- Reading Comprehension Test (RCT) and Achievement Motivation Rating Scale (AMRS). These instruments were validated by experts and used for data collection. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions while analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to test the hypotheses. Major findings of the study reveal that cooperative learning strategy has some influence on achievement motivation of low achieving students in reading comprehension. There is no significant difference in the mean achievement motivation scores in reading comprehension of male and female low achieving students exposed to cooperative learning strategy. Instructing low achieving students in cooperative learning strategy has a significant effect on their achievement motivation in reading comprehension. The interaction effect of cooperative learning strategy and gender on achievement motivation of low achieving students in reading comprehension was not statistically significant. Based on these findings, conclusions were drawn and the educational implications discussed. Major recommendations were made: First, adoption of cooperative learning strategy in schools will expose low achieving students to constant and active participation in their learning process. It will enable low achieving students to learn, retain and recall concepts, ideas and principles when they take part in the learning process. Second, both male and female low achieving students should be exposed to cooperative learning strategy without any form of discrimination since they benefit equally from such exposure. Third, teachers should expose their students to cooperative learning strategy and encourage students to demonstrate the techniques among their peers in order to improve low achieving students performance in reading comprehension.

Background of the Study
Reading is very important in the life of every learner. Reading is one of the most fundamental media for acquiring and promoting knowledge at all levels of education. It is a language skill that aims at facilitating the acquisition and development of literacy skills needed for effective communication in different contexts. The Federal Government of Nigeria seems to have realized this by stating in her National Policy on Education that one of the goals of secondary education is to inculcate permanent literacy, numeracy and ability to communicate effectively in the recipient (FGN, 2004).

Reading is the cornerstone for a child’s success in school and indeed, throughout life (Onukaogu, 2002). Reading is a dynamic process in which the reader actively participates. It is an interaction among the reader, text and the reading situation. It is a progressive development of skills ranging from the recognition of verbal words to the interpretation and evaluation of reading materials of greater complexity. Reading is the act of communication in which information is transferred from a transmitter to a receiver (Smith, 2001). Reading is the process by which the reader makes personal connection with a text to construct meaning. The success of any reading depends entirely on the intensive and extensive reading a child is able to do (Kolawole, 2005). Reading is meaningless if a reader cannot understand a text being read. It is comprehension that centers on understanding.

Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. Comprehension is the process in which readers construct meaning by interacting with text through the connection of prior knowledge and previous experience in relationship to the text (Duke, 2003). Comprehension goes beyond getting the facts straight. It is the interpretation and understanding of what is read. Comprehension is not peculiar to English language alone. Its importance embraces all fields of knowledge. Comprehension is not something that happens after reading. It is the thinking done before, during and after reading (Biemiller and Bootee, 2006). To be able to accurately understand written material, students need to be able to decode what they read, make connection between what they read and what they already know and think deeply about what they have read. Most students who are explicitly taught reading comprehension skills are likely to learn, develop and use them spontaneously (Collins, Block and Presley, 2001). Comprehension may be difficult without a thorough reading of a given text and then taking into account the background knowledge of the reader.

Reading comprehension is the active process of constructing meaning through the dynamic interaction among the reader, the text and the content of the reading material (Idogo, 2011). Reading comprehension could be described as the processing of written language to get ideas, relating to experience, organizing ideas, evaluating and utilizing the ideas for required purpose. It combines the elements of the reader, the text and the activity of the reading (Snow, 2002). Reading comprehension is not a passive one way but it is an active two way process in which the reader and the text interact to construct meaning (Clara, 1997). In reading comprehension some intellectual preparations are needed by the reader in order to comprehend. This is because comprehension is not only getting meaning from printed symbols on pages of paper. Reading comprehension is not found on the printed symbols but in the mind of the reader who read the printed texts. This is why comprehension becomes building bridges between the known and the unknown. Reading comprehension therefore, involves interpretation and alteration of what is read in accordance with prior knowledge. It also involves a lot of inference making and this is why it is an active and constructive process which involves the use of textual cues and the reader’s background knowledge to build a model of the author’s intended meaning.

Good reading comprehension is the most critical element in school learning (Rathvon, 2004). The need to read for comprehension permeates all the school subjects in the social sciences, humanities and sciences. Success in school requires that learners read for comprehension. Reading for comprehension is not just reading with loud voice but to be able to understand the meaning of words, sentences and paragraph as well as sense relationship among the ideas (Simanjunkak, 1998).

In this study, reading comprehension is the active process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with the text. Whenever a student just read loudly but cannot understand the content of the text, it means that he fails in comprehending the passage. Students who struggle with reading comprehension fail to realize that reading is active searches for meaning, they are often fearful, anxious about reading and many avoid reading at all cost. As a result, these students lack the ability to decode words, understand as they read through text and strategies necessary for becoming proficient readers and sometimes they are labeled low achieving students (Sousa, 2002).

Low achieving students are those who consistently do not perform according to expectation in the classroom (Berger, 1990 & Sousa, 2002). Berger et al describe low achieving students as those who as a result of high level of self-doubt and procrastination at school do not show interest or perform high in their studies. Low achieving students need to be helped to break the barrier of failure. The quest for improving the condition of low achieving students’ academic performance has placed a considerable demand on teachers (Smith, 2005). Low achievement can be influenced by a combination of factors both in the home and at school (Sousa, 2003). On the basis of current research in cognitive development and reading comprehension, two important reasons for students’ low achievement in any academic area can be identified as (1) their inadequate understanding of how to select, adapt and monitor strategies for learning and (2) their insufficient motivation to apply actively the understanding they have. If students see themselves as failure, they may eventually place self – imposed limits on what is possible. It can be as a result of behavior pattern which learners develop through consistent failure.

They can still learn and achieve higher in school if provided with the appropriate help (OgbanniaChukwu – Etu, 2009). Low achieving students need assistance in regaining self-confidence in their academic abilities and in developing strategies for coping with failure and persisting with problem –solving effort when they experience difficulties. Bewaji and Ugwuegwu (2000) point out that many secondary school students perform below expectation because they lack some reading comprehension skills required for effective study in a particular subject area. Katims, (1997) in Adimora (2012) states that low achieving students usually manifest inability to read, understand and answer questions correctly. Katims further explain that students who have wrong understanding usually provide wrong answers. Many of their teachers lack appropriate teaching method and skills to motivate and encourage these students in order to break the barrier of failure. Teachers often test student reading comprehension instead of teaching them how to read and comprehend. They usually employ the traditional learning approach where reading is seen as a solo affair in which the learner is hooked to its text and they are not encouraged to read and dialogue with peers or in groups (Isiugo, 2002).......

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 110 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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