Background: The latest report by the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), issued in 2006, indicated that Hong Kong Primary 4 Chinese students outperformed children from 45 countries and provinces in reading comprehension tests that measured their higher-order reading proficiency. However, the study gave no indication of how factors such as attribution beliefs, motivation and strategy use might contribute to reading proficiency.
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships between students' implicit beliefs about intelligence and ability, i.e. their 'attribution beliefs', and their motivation, metacognitive awareness of reading strategies and reading comprehension.
Sample: The subjects consisted of 120 Grade 5 Chinese students (55 boys and 65 girls) from one Hong Kong primary school that uses Chinese as the medium of instruction. The school represents a typical primary school located in a Hong Kong urban area, with most students coming from low-income families. There was a wide range of academic ability and the average age of the students was 12.2 years.
Design and methods: A quantitative approach was adopted in the research. Students were required to complete three questionnaires and two reading comprehension tests. The three questionnaires measured students' implicit beliefs about intelligence and ability, and their self-reported motivation and metacognitive awareness of reading strategies. The reading comprehension tests measured students' higher-order reading proficiency. Multiple regression analysis techniques were used to examine the relationship between students' beliefs and motivation, metacognitive awareness of reading strategies, and how they predicated students' reading comprehension.
Results: The findings showed that students' implicit beliefs about intelligence and ability, and their intrinsic motivation and metacognitive awareness of the use of reading strategies were associated with their