Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Judith Rivalland


This study examines students’ responses to the questions in a multiple choice reading test. An analysis of the processes students used to negotiate meaning revealed the roles played by cognitive strategies and cultural framing in shaping students' responses to multiple choice questions. A descriptive/analytical study methodology was conducted with a group of forty eight Year II students in the final term of the school year. These students represented four mixed sex ability groupings and a range of socio-economic backgrounds. Think-Out-Loud protocols were used in an interview situation. Students responded to thirty four questions from three passages selected from multiple choice reading tests used in statewide examinations for Western Australian Tertiary Entrance in subject English. Students' responses were transcribed and then analysed. In addition, the passages, questions and answers from the test were analysed to determine the different reading positions wade available through the questions and possible answers. The data were triangulated with results from statewide examination results, observations and debriefing sessions with member checkers. Results indicated that the methods and strategies used by students in their attempts to negotiate the correct answer helped them only when students aligned their readings with the readings privileged by the item writers.