chapter  4
12 Pages

Comprehension of What for What: Comprehension as a Nonunitary Construct

WithNell K. Duke

We often hear, read, and write discussions of terms including comprehension processes, comprehension assessment, comprehension instruction, even simply comprehension. For some situations, these broad-brush terms can be useful. But for many situations, and very often when we want to go in to some depth, such terms are not adequate. Comprehension is not a unitary construct. There are many different processes entailed in the broad thing called “comprehension,” and “comprehension” proceeds very differently for different kinds of text, different topics, and different reading purposes. And this is not simply an interesting discussion point for researchers and theorists. It has real implications for comprehension assessment.