Theses Doctoral

Getting to the Matter of Matter: A Grounded Theory Study on How Students Navigate Texts in an Introductory Chemistry Course at a Community College in New York City

Choi, Minkyung

Several studies indicate that more than half of all college freshmen are not prepared to read and analyze college-level texts. The problem of college reading becomes more formidable when it comes to community college students, who often enter college with socio-linguistic factors that pose challenges to literacy learning. Historically, interventions have consisted of developmental, or remedial, courses after which students are expected to demonstrate college-level literacy. While extensive studies have been conducted on the efficacy of remedial programs in community colleges, few studies have examined how students navigate texts in courses that presuppose proficiency in reading. This grounded theory study investigated ways in which students in an introductory chemistry course at a community college in New York City navigated texts. It documented and analyzed both the students’ beliefs and decisions in the chemistry classroom and outside-of-school spaces as well as the professor’s perspectives of the students. The findings revealed that the notion of literacy reaches beyond the text (Moje, 1996; Rosenblatt, 1988); literacy and intertextuality necessitate the consideration of disciplinary context, instruction, and a larger sociocultural context of the reader. Because of the constantly evolving nature of literacy in context, the findings highlight a need to rethink literacy instruction in the college classroom.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Sealey-Ruiz, Yolanda
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 4, 2019