This study examined the differences among high, mid and low ambiguity tolerance groups in their reading comprehension ability and their metacognitive awareness of reading strategies. To this end, 123 first-year college students majoring in Engineering with an age range of 19-25 were stratified into three groups of high, mid and low ambiguity tolerance to participate in the study. They took part in the Nelson test of proficiency and a reading comprehension test and also filled out two questionnaires: the Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies Inventory, and the Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale. The results showed significant differences between Low and High groups. That is, high ambiguity tolerance students scored higher on reading comprehension test, displayed higher metacognitive awareness of reading strategies, and showed higher perceived use of Global and Problem-Solving metacognitive reading strategies. However, no significant differences were found between the middle group and the other two groups in these variables. Also, no significant difference was found in the use of Supportive strategies among these three groups. The findings are interpreted to have implications for syllabus designers and EFL teachers.
Anderson, R. C., and Pearson, P. D. (1984). “A schema-theoretic view of basic processes in reading”, in R. Barr, M. L. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, and P. D. Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research, Vol. 2, White Plains, NY: Longman, pp. 255-292.
Baker, L., and Brown, A. L. (1984). “Metacognitive skills and reading”, in P. D. Pearson (ed.), Handbook of Reading Research,New York: Longman, pp. 353-395.
Bartholomae, D., and Petrosky, A. (1986). Facts, Artifacts, and Counterfacts: A Reading and Writing Course,Upper Montelnir, NJ: Boynton/Cook.
Baumann, J. F., Jones, L. A., a Seifert-Kessell, N. (1993). “Using think alouds to enhance children’s comprehension monitoring abilities”, The Reading Teacher, 47(3), pp. 184 -193.
Bidahri, P., Fallahi, M., Haghani, M., and Maftoon, P. (2006). English for the Students of Engineering, Tehran: The Organization for Researching and Composing University Textbooks in the Humanities (SAMT).
Budner, S. (1962). “Intolerance of Ambiguity as a Personality Variable”, Journal of Personality 30, pp. 29-50.
Brown, H. D. (1987). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (2nd Ed).Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Brown, H. D. (1994). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (3rd ed), Englewood Cilfs, NJ: Prentice-Hal Regents.
Carrell, P. L., Pharis, B. G., and Liberto, J. C. (1989). “Metacognitive strategy training for ESL reading”, TESOL Quarterly 23, pp. 647-678.
Chapelle, C. A., and Roberts, C. (1986). “Ambiguity tolerance and field independence as predictors of proficiency in English as a second language”, Language Learning 36, pp. 27-45.
Cohen, A. D. (2003). “The learner/s side of foreign language learning: Where do styles, strategies, and tasks meet?” IRAL 41, pp. 279-291.
Collins, N. D. (1994). Metacognition and reading to learn. ERIC Digest (ERIC Document Reproduction Survive No. ED376427), available at: www.indiana.edu/~reading/ieo/digests/d96.html.
Ehrman, M., and Oxford, R. (1989). “Effects of sex differences, career choice, and psychological type on adult language learning strategies”, Modern Language Journal 73, pp. 1-13.
Ehrman, M. E., and Oxford, R. (1990). “Adult language learning styles and strategies in an intensive training setting”, Modern Language Journal, 74(3), pp. 311-327.
El-Koumy, A. A. (2000). Differences in FL Reading Comprehension among High-, Middle-, and Low-Ambiguity Tolerance Students. Paper presented at the National Symposium on English Language Teaching inEgypt, (AinShamsUniversity, March 21-23, 2000).
Ely, C. M. (1989). “Tolerance of ambiguity and use of second language strategies”, Foreign Language Annals 22, pp. 437-445.
Ely, C. M. (1995). “Tolerance of ambiguity and the teaching of ESL”, in J. M. Reid (Ed.) Learning Styles in the ESL/EFL Classroom, New York: Heinle and Heinle, pp. 87-95.
Flavell, J. H. (1979). “Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive-developmental inquiry”, American Psychologist 34(10), pp. 906-911.
Fowler, W. S., and Coe, N. (1976). Nelson English Language Tests,London:Butler and Tanner Ltd.
Garner, R. (1987). Metacognition and Reading Comprehension, Cognition and Literacy Series,Norwood,NJ: Ablex.
Henk, W. A., and Melnick, S. A. (1995). “The Reader Self-Perception Scale (RSPS): A new tool for measuring how children feel about themselves as readers”, The Reading Teacher 48, pp. 470-482.
Khajeh, A., (2003). The Relationship between Tolerance of Ambiguity, Gender, Level of Proficiency and Use of Second Language Learning Strategies, Unpublished M.A. thesis, Tehran: Tarbiat Modarres University.
McLain, D. L. (1993). “The MSTAT-1: A new measure of an individual’s tolerance for ambiguity”, Educational and Psychological Measurement 53, pp.183-189.
Mokhtari, K., and Reichard, C. A. (2002). “Assessing students’ metacognitive awareness of reading strategies”, Journal of Educational Psychology 94(2), pp. 249-259.
Myers, I.(1962). The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator,Palo Alto,CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
Nebiela Dhieb, H. (2003). “Evaluating the effectiveness of metacognitive strategy training for research articles in an ESP context”, English for Specific Purposes 22, pp. 387-417.
Norton, R. (1975). “Measurement of Ambiguity Tolerance”, Journal of Personality Assessment 39, pp. 607-619.
O’Malley, J. M., and Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition, Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press.
Oxford, R. L. (1989). “Use of language learning strategies: A synthesis of studies with implications for strategy training”, System 17(2), pp. 235-247.
Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language Learning Strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know, New York: Newbury House/Hrper and Row.
Oxford, R. L. (1994). Language learning strategies: An Update Eric Digest.ERIC Identifier: ED376707. Publication Date: 1994-10-00, available at: www.ericdigests.org/1995-2/update.htm.
Oxford, R., and Ehrman, M. (1988). “Psychological type and adult language learning strategies; A pilot study”, Journal of Psychological Type 16, pp. 22-32.
Oxford, R. L. (2003). “Language learning styles and strategies: An overview”. GALA. Online [web.ntpu.edu.tw/~language/workshop/read2. pdf ].
Paris, S.G. and Myers, M. (1981). “Comprehension monitoring, memory and study strategies of good and poor readers”, Journal of Reading Behavior, 13, pp. 5-22.
Pallan. J. (2001). SPSS Survival Manual, 2nd ed. Open University Press, Buckingham,Philadelphia.
Paris, S. G., and Winograd, P. (1990). “How metacognition can promote academic learning and instruction”, in B. F. Jones and L. Idol (eds.), Dimensions of Thinking and Cognitive Instruction, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, pp.15-51.
Pressley, M., and Afflerbach, P. (1995). Verbal Protocols of Reading: The Nature of Constructively Responsive Reading,Hillsdale,NJ: Erlbaum.
Reid, J. M. (ed.) (1995). Learning Styles in the ESL/EFL Classroom,New York: Heinle and Heinle.
Reiss, M. (1985). “The good language learner: Another look”, Canadian Modern Language Review 41,pp. 257-266.
Rosenblatt, L. M. (1978). The Reader: The Text: The Poem,Carbondale,IL: SouthernIllinoisUniversity.
Ruddell, M. R. (1991). “Students’ metacognitive responses to ambiguous literacy tasks”, Reading Research and Instruction 31(1), pp. 1-11.
Santana, J. C. (2003). Moving Towards Metacognition, Unpublished master’s thesis, Universidad Panamericana,Guadalajara, available at:
Sheorey, R., and Mokhtari, K. (2001). “Differences in the cognitive awareness of reading strategies among native and non-native readers”, System 29(4),pp. 431-449.
Shih, M. (1992). “Beyond Comprehension Exercises in the ESL Academic Reading Class”,TESOL Quarterly 29(2), pp.289-318.
Van Dijk, T. A., and Kintsch, W. (1983). Strategies of Discourse Comprehension,Orlando,FL: Academic Press.
Xianming, X. (2007). “A Study of First-Year College Students’ Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies”, CMU Journal of Social Sciences, 1(1), pp.93-107, available at:
cmuj.chiangmai.ac.th/CMU Journal of Social Sciences and Hum/93-108.pdf
Weaver, C. (1993). “Reading Strategies: A discussion/demonstration with Connie Weaver”, in Angela Carrasquillo and Carolyn Hedley (eds.), Whole Language and the Bilingual LearnerNorwood,NJ: Ablex Publishing Co, pp. 87-106.
Wenden, A. (1998). “Metacognitive knowledge and language learning”, Applied Linguistics 19(4), pp. 515-537.