Inferential Comprehension of Implied Main Ideas

B. Budiyono

Abstract


Reading comprehension questions may be classified into two broad
categories: literal and inferential. The first type requires specific details explicitly
stated in the text whereas the second type asks for drawing a conclusion and giving
an opinion by citing the evidence in the text. The second type requires inference
making which is part of reading comprehension process that is beyond simple lexical
decoding. It requires the reader to go beyond what the author has explicitly stated in
the text. This study investigated the inferential comprehension of implied ideas of
two groups of 41 English Department students at a university in Surabaya. The lower
group consisted of 28 students whereas the upper group consisted of 13 students. For
this purpose a test of 40 multiple-choice items was administered to these groups, one
paragraph for one question. Some of these items were preceded a question of implied
subjects or topics to guide the takers to the right questions of implied main ideas.
The first finding shows there was a significant different between the achievement of
guided-items over non-guided items. The second finding indicates no significant
difference between the achievement of upper and lower groups. These may imply
that teaching of inferences of main ideas may necessarily start with identifying the
topic of a paragraph. Another implication may possibly be test preparation programs
may start earlier, i.e., with the lower group


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