Understanding Spanish University Students’ Monitoring Failures and Regulatory Actions When Reading in EFL


DOI: https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes.528701
Keywords: Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Reading Comprehension, Comprehension Monitoring, Regulatory Actions, Higher Education


The present paper analyses the reasons for comprehension monitoring failure and the regulatory actions performed by Spanish university students when reading in English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Two different but connected empirical studies were conducted to obtain data about students’ behaviour during a reading task. In Study 1, comprehension monitoring was assessed following the Error Detection Paradigm. Then, semi-structured interviews were conducted to analyse subjects’ regulatory actions. In Study 2, a questionnaire was proposed to classify subjects’ detection X regulation actions when reading in EFL. Results showed that participants’ comprehension monitoring level was not very high according to other literature findings. Moreover, the lack of language proficiency could imply additional processing and monitoring difficulties. The questionnaire accounted for a great percentage of participants’ behaviour: semantic obstacles, spurious detections, no re-reading, skip information or no detection. Knowing students’ reading obstacles is necessary for teachers and practitioners in order to help students become effective readers.


Download data is not yet available.


Al-Jarrah, H., & Ismail, N. S. B. (2018). Reading comprehension difficulties among EFL learners in higher learning institutions. International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(7), 32–41. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel

Baker, L. & Anderson, R.I. (1982). Effects of inconsistent information on text processing: evidence for comprehension monitoring. Reading Research Quarterly, 17(2), 281–294. https://doi.org/10.2307/747487

Baker, L. (1979). Comprehension monitoring: Identifying and coping with text confusions. Journal of Reading Behavior, 11(4), 363–374. https://doi.org/10.1080/10862967909547342

Baker, L. (1985) How do we know when we don't understand? Standards for evaluating text comprehension. In D. L. Forrest-Pressley, G. E. Mackinnon & T. Gary Waller (Eds.), Metacognition, cognition and human performance. (pp. 155–205). New York: Academic Press.

Bernhardt, E. B., & Kamil, M. L. (1995). Interpreting relationships between L1 and L2 reading: Consolidating the linguistic threshold and the linguistic interdependence hypotheses. Applied linguistics, 16(1), 15–34. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/16.1.15

Chinn, C. A. & Brewer, W. F. (1993). The role of anomalous data in knowledge acquisition: A theoretical framework and implications for science instruction. Review of Educational Research, 63(1), 1-49. https://doi.org/10.2307/1170558

Council of Europe (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning. Teaching. Assessment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Dhanapala, K. V. (2010). Sri Lankan university students’ metacognitive awareness of L2 reading strategies. Journal of International Development and Cooperation, 16(1), 65–82. https://doi.org/10.15027/29801

Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive–developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34(10), 906–911. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.34.10.906

Gernsbacher, M. A. & Kaschak, M. P. (2013). Text comprehension. In D. Reisberg (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of cognitive psychology (pp. 462-474). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Gómez, A., Devís, A. & Sanjosé, V. (2013). Control de la comprensión micro y macro-estructural durante la lectura de textos científicos en lengua extranjera. ¿Algo más que dominio del idioma? Revista Signos: estudios de lingüística, 81, 56–81. https://doi.org/10.4067/S0718-09342013000100003

Gómez, A. & Sanjosé, V. (2012). Effectiveness of comprehension monitoring tasks in EFL of non-bilingual Spanish university students reading science texts. RAEL: Revista electrónica de lingüística aplicada, 11, 87–103.

Gómez, A., Solaz, J. J. & Sanjosé, V. (2014). Competencia en lengua inglesa de estudiantes universitarios españoles en el contexto del EEES: nivel de dominio lingüístico, estrategias metacognitivas y hábitos lectores. Revista de Educación, 363, 154–183. https://doi.org/10.4438/1988-592X-RE-2012-363-175

Jacobs, J. E. & Paris, S. G. (1987). Children’s metacognition about reading: issues in definition, measurement, and instruction. Educational Psychologist, 22(3–4), 255–278. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.1987.9653052

Jiménez, V., Puente, A., Alvarado, J. M. & Arrebillaga, L. (2009). Medición de estrategias metacognitivas mediante la escala de conciencia lectora: ESCOLA. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 7(2), 779–804. https://doi.org/10.25115/ejrep.v7i18.1326

Karbalaei, A. (2011). Metacognition and Reading Comprehension. Íkala. Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura, 16(28), 5–14. https://revistas.udea.edu.co/index.php/ikala/article/view/9913

Kintsch, W. (1988). The role of knowledge in discourse comprehension: A construction-integration model. Psychological Review, 95(2), 163-182. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.95.2.163

Koda, K. (2007). Reading and language learning: cross-linguistic constraints on second language reading development. Language Learning, 57(1), 1–44. https://doi.org/10.1111/0023-8333.101997010-i1

Koda, K. (2005). Insights into second language reading: A cross-linguistic approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kozminsky, E. & Graetz, N. (1986). First versus second language comprehension: some evidence from text summarizing. Journal of Research in Reading, 9(1), 3–21. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9817.1986.tb00107.x

Krasiejko, I. (2010). The role of metacognition in education. The New Educational Review, 20(1), 120–128.

Lahuerta, C. (2011). The relationship between metacognitive awareness and reading in English as a foreing language. Revista de Filología, 29, 163–177.

Mason, L., Tornatora, M. C. & Pluchino, P. (2013). Do fourth graders integrate text and picture in processing and learning from an illustrated science text? Evidence from eye-movement patterns. Computers & Education, 60(1), 95–109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.07.011

Mclain, K. V., Griedley, B. E. & Macintosh, D. (1991). Value of a scale used to measure metacognitive reading processes. Journal of Educational Research, 85(2), 81–87. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220671.1991.10702817

Mokhtari, K. & Reichard, C. (2002). Assessing student’s metacognitive awareness of reading strategies. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(2). 249-259. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.94.2.249

Mokhtari, K. & Sheorey, R. (2002). Measuring ESL students’ awareness of reading strategies. Journal of Developmental Education, 25(3), 2–10.

Nelson, T. O. & Narens. L. (1990). Metamemory: A theoretical framework and new findings. In H. Bower Gordon (Ed.), Psychology of Learning and Motivation. (Vol. 26) (pp. 125–173). New York: Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0079-7421(08)60053-5

Otero, J. & Campanario, J. M. (1990). Comprehension evaluation and regulation in learning from science texts. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 27(5), 447–460. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660270505

Otero, J., Campanario, J. M. & Hopkins, K. (1992). The relationship between academic achievement and metacognitive comprehension monitoring ability of Spanish secondary school students. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 52(2), 419–430. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164492052002017

Oxford, R. (2011). Strategies for learning a second or foreign language. Language Teaching, 44, 167–180. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444810000492

Pei, L. (2014). Does Metacognitive Strategy Instruction Indeed Improve Chinese EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension Performance and Metacognitive Awareness? Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 5, 1147–1152. https://doi.org/10.4304/jltr.5.5.1147-1152

Pereira-Laird, J. A. & Deane, F.P. (1997). Development and validation of a self-report measure of reading strategy use. Reading Psychology, 18(3), 185–235. https://doi.org/10.1080/0270271970180301

Perfetti, Ch. A. (1985). Reading ability. New York: Oxford University Press.

Qrqez, M. & Ab Rashid, R. (2017). Reading comprehension difficulties among EFL learners: The case of first and second year students at Yarmouk University in Jordan. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ), 8(3), 421–431. https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol8no3.27

Sánchez-Cruzado, C. & Sánchez-Compaña, M.T. (2020). El modelo flipped classroom, una forma de promover la autorregulación y la metacognición en el desarrollo de la educación estadística. Revista Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 95(34.2), 121–142. https://doi.org/10.47553/rifop.v34i2.77713

Sanjosé, V., Fernández. J. J. & Vidal-Abarca. E. (2010). Importancia de las destrezas de procesamiento de la información en la comprensión de textos científicos. Infancia y Aprendizaje, 33(4), 529–541. https://doi.org/10.1174/021037010793139581

Schraw, G. & Dennison, R. S. (1994). Assessing metacognitive awareness. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 19(4), 460–475. https://doi.org/10.1006/ceps.1994.1033

Seng, G. H. & Hashim, F. (2006). Use of L1 and L2 reading comprehension among tertiary ESL learners. Reading in a Foreign Language, 18(1), 19–54.

Shang, H. F. (2015). An investigation of scaffolded reading on EFL hypertext comprehension. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31, 293–312. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.1735

Taguchi, E., Gorsuch, G. & Sasamoto, E. (2006). Developing second and foreign language reading fluency and its effect on comprehension: a missing link. The Reading Matrix, 6(2), 1–19.

Talebi, S. H., Maghsoudi, M., Mahmoudi, H. & Samadi, F. (2014). The interaction between Persian and English in enhancing Iranian EFL learners’ reading comprehension ability. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1866-1875. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro

Teng, F. (2020). The benefits of metacognitive reading strategy awareness instruction for young learners of English as a Second Language. Literacy, 54(1), 29–39. https://doi.org/10.1111/lit.12181

Tsai, Y., Ernst, Ch. & Talley, P. C. (2010). L1 and L2 strategy use in reading comprehension of Chinese EFL readers. Reading Psychology, 31(1), 1–29. https://doi.org/10.1080/02702710802412081

UCLES (2001). Quick Placement Test. OUP.

van Gelderen, A. Schoonen, R., Glopper, K., Hulstijn, J., Simis, A., Snellings, P. & Stevenson, M. (2004). Linguistic Knowledge, Processing Speed, and Metacognitive Knowledge in First- and Second-Language Reading Comprehension: A Componential Analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(1), 19–30. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.96.1.19

Veenman M. V. J., Wilhelm P. & Beishuizen J. J. (2004). The relation between intellectual and metacognitive skills from a developmental perspective. Learning and Instruction, 14(1), 89–109. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2003.10.004

Vosniadou, S., Pearson, P. D. & Rogers, T. (1988). What causes children’s failures to detect inconsistencies in text? Representation versus comparison difficulties. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(1), 27–39. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.80.1.27

Wang, M. C., Haertel. G. & Walberg, H. J. (1993). Toward a knowledge base for school learning. Review of Educational Research, 63(3), 249–294. https://doi.org/10.2307/1170546

Winograd, P. & Johnston, P. (1982). Comprehension monitoring and the Error Detection Paradigm. Journal of Reading Behavior, 14(1), 61–76. https://doi.org/10.1080/10862968209547435

Yamashita, J. (2002). Mutual compensation between L1 reading and L2 language proficiency in L2 reading comprehension. Journal of Research in Reading, 25(1), 80–94. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.00160

Yang, Y. (2006). Reading strategies or comprehension monitoring strategies? Reading Psychology, 27(4), 313–343. https://doi.org/10.1080/02702710600846852

Zhang, L. J., Gu, P. Y. & Hu, G. (2008). A cognitive perspective on Singaporean primary school pupils' use of reading strategies in learning to read in English. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 78(2), 245–271. https://doi.org/10.1348/000709907X218179

How to Cite
Calvo Valiente, J. J., Gómez López, Ángela, & Morón Olivares, E. (2023). Understanding Spanish University Students’ Monitoring Failures and Regulatory Actions When Reading in EFL . International Journal of English Studies, 23(1), 81–105. https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes.528701