Education Journal, Vol. 2, Issue 3, Sep  2019, Pages 51-66; DOI: 10.31058/ 10.31058/

The Effect of Activating Background Knowledge in Reading Comprehension at the Second Semester Students of University of HKBP Nommensen Pematangsiantar

, Vol. 2, Issue 3, Sep  2019, Pages 51-66.

DOI: 10.31058/

David Togi Hutahaean 1*

1 English Education Department, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, University of HKBP Nommensen Medan, Indonesia

Received: 25 October 2019; Accepted: 15 November 2019; Published: 30 November 2019


The purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of activating background knowledge in students’ ability in reading comprehension in narrative text. Reading comprehension is assumed as one of the most difficult skill since students are difficult to comprehend what the text is about. The problem occurred in this research was students were unable to comprehend the text, identify the main idea, and also about the vocabulary. Theories used to solve the problem were Burns (2012:12), Fisher and Frey (2009), Patel and Jain (2008) and Moreillon (2007). This researched used descriptive quantitative research. Data were the control and experimental class. After analyzing the data, the researcher found that the mean of pre-test in experimental group was 56.09and post-test in experimental class was 78.53. while the mean of pre-test in control group was 54.76 and the mean of post- test in control group was 74.16.Standard deviation of pre-test in experimental group was 4.40 and standard deviation of post-test in control group was 4.38 and standard deviation of post-test in control group was 4.14.The comparison of the mean in the whole of experimental class and control class was the mean of experimental class was 17.86 and the mean of control class was 15.76. The comparison of the standard deviation in the whole of experimental and control group was, the standard deviation of experimental group was 94.54 and standard deviation of control group was 72.73. In order to know the effect of Activating Background Knowledge in reading comprehension, the mean and the standard deviation were calculated by using t-test formula and the result was 6.47 and t-table was 1.67. It means that 6.47 >1.67. So, there was a significantly effect of activating background knowledge in reading comprehension.


Activating Background Knowledge, Effect, Narrative, Reading Comprehension

1. Introduction

Language is used as a tool for communication among the nations in all over the world. English is an international language. To study English we need some abilities in speaking, listening, and writing and reading. Reading is one of the most important of the four skills in learning process, generally English as a foreign language. Being able to read in English is importance, reading becomes essential for everyone in order to develop their knowledge. Through reading, we can get kind of information such as enjoyment, knowledge and event problem solution. Being able to read in English is important, because there are many books written in English. Everyone can learn and understand science, theory, philosophy, news, and many others from other countries.

Reading is a constant process of guessing, and what one brings to the text is often more important than what one finds in it. The students should be taught to use what they know understand unknown elements, whether these are ideas or simple word [9]. Reading is very necessary for students, because their study understanding depends on their reading comprehension.

Reading comprehension is the interaction between the readers with the written text to get meaning and message or information from the text. Reading comprehension involves an active communication between the researcher and reader within meaningful context [6]. One of the most fundamental aspects of comprehension is the ability to deal with unfamiliar words encountered in text. Good readers have a purpose for reading and use their experiences and background knowledge to make sense of the text.

In reading skill, the students must be able to understand, comprehend the text and brings their knowledge well in memory. Because of that, the teacher’s role important to design the lesson to make students attack in reading activities. The common problems concern with the comprehension failure which the students today are increasingly diverse in terms of their background knowledge an experiences, their knowledge and experience will influence what the student thought.

From the condition above, the researcher should have match and strategies method that suitable with the condition. It well helps each student reach their purpose in processing their understanding. The researcher will purpose the effect activating background knowledge to solve the problem in reading comprehension. Understanding the importance of background knowledge to comprehension is critical because we connect new information with prior knowledge before we integrate and organize the new information.

The researcher thought that background knowledge as learned understanding about specific domains. Background knowledge becomes part of what some researcher call “Crystallized Intelligence.” This type of intelligence is associated with facts, generalizations, and principles.” The strong correlation between crystallized intelligence and academic achievement helps to explain the strong relationship between background knowledge and achievement.

The researcher emphasizes the research concern with the activating background knowledge by conducting experimental research. It helpful or necessary for students to understand , comprehend, and learn how to provide them with new background knowledge before they read in reading activities. The research focuses on “The effect of activating background knowledge in reading comprehension at second semester of Teacher Training Faculty of Nommensen University in Pematangsiantar.”

2. Theoretical Review

2.1. The Definition of Reading

Reading is a highly strategic process during which readers are constantly constructing meaning using a variety of strategies, such as activating background knowledge, monitoring and clarifying, making predictions, drawing inferences, asking questions and summarizing. Strategies are used in combination to solve problems, to think about text and to check understanding. Consequently, teaching comprehension strategies should focus on thinking problem solving and monitoring understanding. “Being strategic is not a skill that can be taught by drill; it is a method of approaching reading and reading instruction. Much more is required than knowing a strategy; becoming strategic calls for coordinating individual strategies. This coordinating involves altering, adjusting, modifying, testing, and shifting tactics as is fitting, until a reading comprehension problem is solved.” Reading strategically is higher order thinking. It involves transforming information and ideas. For example, summarizing requires evaluating and synthesizing information; making predictions involves combining facts and ideas and making inferences to formulate a type of hypothesis; making connections necessitates making generalizing; and clarifying require identifying problems and developing solutions.

Snow and Chair states that reading activity involves one or more purposes, some operations to process the text at hand, and the consequences of performing the activity [10]. Prior to reading, a reader has a purpose, which can be either externally imposed (e.g., completing a class assignment) or internally generated. The purpose is influenced by a cluster of motivational variables, including interest and prior knowledge. The initial purposes can change as the reader reads.

Patel, and Jain stated that “Reading is an important activity in life with which one can update his/ her knowledge. [9]” However in fact, to reach the expectation in reading, student should comprehend more when reading to draw meaning or get information from printed or written text. Reading is very complex, but reading is more than just a visual task. Not only must the reader see and identify the symbols in front of him but he must interpret what he reads in the light of his own background, associate it with past experience, and project beyond this in terms of ideas judgment, applications and conclusion.

According to the National Accessible Reading Assessment Projects in Pammun, “reading is an active and complex process that involves understanding written text; developing and interpreting meaning; and using meaning as appropriate to type of text, purpose, and situation [8]”. This conception contains assurance of foundational skills to comprehend a variety of texts, including a narrative text. Alvermann and Phelps in Pammun said when the text is brought into the reader’s mind, the words begin to form meanings based on the reader’s prior knowledge, experience, feelings, memories, and associations called forth by the act of reading [8]. From the explanation of some theories above, the researcher concluded that reading is the process of how we understand the alphabet, symbol, punctuation and getting meaning, information from a text.

2.2. The Purposes of Reading

The reader have purpose when they read a text, book, newspaper, novel and soon. The reader wants to take the important information of the book when they read it but, According to Grabe, there are four purposes of reading [5], they are:

2.2.1. Reading to search for simple information

Reading to search for simple information is a common reading ability; the reader only read the surface to look for the simple information without have to think the material deeply through skimming and scanning strategy.

2.2.2. Reading to learn from text

Reading to learn typically occurs in academic and professional context in which person needs to learn a considerable amount of information from a text. It is usually carried out at reading rate somewhat slower than the general comprehension to connect text information with background knowledge.

2.2.3. Reading to Integrate Information, Write And Critique Text

Reading to integrate information requires additional decisions about the relative importance of complementary, mutually, supporting or conflicting information and the likely restructuring of a theoretical frame to accommodate information from multiple sources. Both reading to write and reading to critique text may be task variants of reading integrate information.

2.2.4. Reading for General Comprehension

Reading for general comprehension is the most basic purpose for reading. It is also found as the most complex than it commonly assumed. It is accomplish by a skilled fluent rider, requires very rapid and automatic processing of words, strong skills in forming a general meaning representative of main ideas, and efficient coordination of many process under very limited time.

2.3. The Types of Reading

Reading is getting the information meaning from the print. There are some types of reading that know of reader when reading the text. Patel and Jain stated that there are four types for reading [9]:

2.3.1. Intensive Reading

Intensive reading is related to further progress in language learning under the teacher’s guidance. Intensive reading will provide a basis for explaining difficulties of structure and for extending knowledge of vocabulary and idioms. It will provide material for developing greeter control of the language in speech and writing. Intensive reading is text reading or passage reading. In this reading the learner read the text to get knowledge or analysis. The goal of this reading is to read shorter text.

2.3.2. Extensive Reading

Material for extensive reading will be selected at a lower level of difficulty than that for intensive reading. The purpose of extensive reading will be to train the student to read directly and fluently in the target language for enjoyment, without the aid of the teacher. Extensive reading can be made the basis for oral reports, to the rest of the class, or full class discussion.

2.3.3. Aloud Reading

Reading aloud also play important role in teaching of English. Teacher should know that the training of reading aloud must be given at primary level because it is the base of words pronunciation.

2.3.4. Silent Reading

Silent reading is a very important skill in teaching of English. This reading should be employed to increase reading ability among learners. Silent reading is done to acquire a lot of information. Teacher has to make them read silently as and when they are able to read without any difficulties. It is kind of habit in which learner are enabled to read without any audible whisper.

2.4. Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is “the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language.” The same definition could apply to listening comprehension and comprehension of visual stimuli if we change “involvement with written language” to “involvement with oral language” or “involvement with visual stimuli.” Comprehension encompasses three components: an active process of comprehending; the skill, knowledge base, and motivation of the comprehension; and the difficulty and characteristics of the text that is read, listened to, or watched. Let us begin our examination of comprehension assessment by examining what we do when we read, keeping in mind that this probably applies to listening as well and may also describe comprehension of visual stimuli.

The researcher defines reading comprehension as the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language. We use the words extracting and constructing to emphasize both the importance and the insufficiency of the text as a determinant of reading comprehension. “Comprehension entails three elements: the reader who doing the comprehending, the text that is to be comprehended, and the activity in which comprehension is a part.” include by Snow and Chair [10]. From the statement above it is important to bear in mind that reading is not invariant skill. They are different types of reading skill that correspond to the many different purposes we have for reading.

“Reading comprehension is the building of understanding from a text.” When reading a text, the reader makes a connection to prior knowledge, evaluates what is important information, adjusts prior knowledge to include and building on the new information, and develops a deeper understanding for the subject matter. After comprehending the text, the reader evaluates and judges the information to form new ideas.” So, in the classroom, the students activities, the researcher is sure that they have many purposes, among others are to graduate from their school and to provide themselves with the knowledge to continue their study whatever their purposes are. In order achieve the goal; the comprehension ability in reading is need.

Reading comprehension involves much more than readers responses to text. Reading comprehension is multicomponent, highly complex process that involves many interactions between readers and what they bring to the text, as well as variables related to the next itself.

They can help children determine what they already know or if they need to build their background knowledge before they begin [6]. If students determine that they need more prior knowledge, educators should give them time to build it before encountering a new concept. They can also provide students with background knowledge as a means of demonstrating the critical importance of these understandings to reading comprehension. When explicitly taught, this strategy provides children with both the rationale and the experience of utilizing background knowledge to support effective reading.

2.5. Levels of Comprehension

In reading comprehension there are some levels of comprehension, In reading comprehension there are some levels of comprehension, they are four levels of reading comprehension, they are: Literal Comprehension, Interpretative Comprehension, Critical Comprehension, Creative Comprehension.

2.5.1. Literal Comprehension

Literal comprehension is an understanding the ideas and information explicitly state in the passage. The abilities are:

Knowledge of word meaning

Recall of details directly stated and paraphrased in own words.

Recall of main idea explicitly stated

Knowledge of sequence of information presented to passage

2.5.2. Interpretive Comprehension

Interpretive comprehension is an understanding of ideas and information not explicitly stated in passage. The abilities are:

Reason with information presented to understand the author’s tone, purposes, and attitude.

Infer factual information, main ideas, comparisons, cause-effect relationship not explicitly stated in the passage

Summarization of story content

2.5.3. Critical Comprehension

Critical comprehension includes analyzing, evaluating and personally reacting to information presented in the passage. The abilities are:

Personal reacting to information in a passage including is meaning to the reader.

Analyzing and evaluating the quality of written information in terms of some standards

2.5.4. Creative Comprehension

Creative reading involves going beyond the material presented by the author. Creative reading must be able analyzing the reasons for the action of in the story; they see the colours, hear the sounds, feel the textures, taste the flavours, and smell the odors describes by the researcher, they able to determine whether the actions of characters are reasonable or unreasonable; they relate the thing they read to their own personal problem; able to predict what will happen next in the story, reacting and drawing conclusions and able to make the story more interesting.

2.6. Identify Specific Information of the Text

Reading is a complex combination of processes. It is a rapid, efficient, comprehending, interactive, strategic, flexible, purposeful, evaluative, learning, and linguistic process [5]. Hence, the purposes for reading under seven main headings are: reading to search for simple information, reading to skim quickly, and reading to learn from texts, reading to integrate information, write and critique texts, and reading for general comprehension [5].

According to Grabe (2014), Reading can simply be defined as a complex ability to extract, or build, meaning from a text [5]. However, this definition, by itself, is not very informative. The most commonly accepted way for researchers to explain the above definition is to identify the key component abilities and skills that allow reading comprehension to emerge. Reading comprehension involves abilities to recognize words rapidly and efficiently, develop and use a very large recognition vocabulary, process sentences in order to build comprehension, engage a range of strategic processes and underlying cognitive skills (e.g., setting goals, changing goals flexibly, monitoring comprehension), interpret meaning in relation to background knowledge, interpret and evaluate texts in line with reader goals and purposes, and process texts fluently over an extended period of time. These processes and knowledge resources allow the reader to generate text comprehension to the level required.

2.7. Identify Main Idea

Reading is an important activity in life with which one can update his/ her knowledge [9].” However in fact, to reach the expectation in reading, student should comprehend more when reading to draw meaning or get information from printed or written text. Based on the explanations above, the researcher concludes that reading is the process of take the information and identifies the symbol to draw the meaning.

The main idea of a paragraph is the author' s message about the topic. It is often expressed directly or it can be implied. is easy to identify a main idea that is directly expressed in the text.

Main ideas are often found at the beginning of paragraphs. The first sentence often explains the subject being discussed in the passage.

Main ideas are also found in the concluding sentences of a paragraph. The main idea can be expressed as a summation of the information in the paragraph as well as a link to the information in the next paragraph.

The main idea is not always clearly stated. It is more difficult to identify a main idea when it is inferred or implied. It can be implied through other words in the paragraph. An implied main idea can be found in several ways.

Several sentences in a paragraph can imply the main idea by introducing facts about the topic before actually stating the topic.

Implied ideas can be drawn from facts, reasons, or examples that give hints or suggestions concerning the main idea. These hints will be clues leading to discover the main idea in the selected text.

2.8. Identify Main Idea

Lexical inferencing is refered to as guessing the meaning of unknown word using available linguistic. Lexical inferencing, as one aspect of inferencing, involves making informed guesses as to the meaning of a word in light of all available linguistic cues in combination with the learner’s general knowledge of the world, her awareness of context and her relevant linguistic knowledge.

Studies also reveal high correlation between lexical inferencing success and reading comprehension. One aspect of inferring is using clues to determine the meaning of new words in the text. This is not a skill which comes naturally to most children. It is important to provide students with many opportunities for practicing so that they learn to do this as they read independently. When students are attempting to determine the meaning of unknown words they can guess used schema, mainly picture clues, pre-reading of text, thinking it through.

2.9. Strategies to Enhance Reading Comprehension

Comprehension is the understanding of what is being read, and it is the ultimate goal of reading. The National Reading Panel in Baker identified seven strategies to enhance reading comprehension [1]:

Comprehension monitoring

Cooperative learning

Use of graphic and semantic organizers

Question generation

Question answering

Story structure


2.10. Narrative Text

2.10.1. The Social Function of Narrative Text

Narrative text is a text which retells the story or previous experience. According to Joyce & Feez in Mulyaningsih, Narratives are stories about person or a group of people overcoming problems [7]. They also explain that narratives show how people react to experiences, explore social and cultural values and entertain the audience. Narrative text presents a story of sequence events which involves characters. Narrative text presents an imaginative story. The purpose of the text is to entertain or amuse readers or listeners.

2.10.2. Generic Structure

According to Anderson and Anderson in Mulyaningsih, there are four generic structure of narrative text [7], they are:

Orientation: sets the scene and introduces the participants (characters) of the story, the time and place where the story happened (who, what, when and where).

Complication: a crisis arises. A series of events in which the main character attempts to solve the problem.

Resolution: the crisis is resolved, for better or worse.

Re-orientation: it is optional. The ending of the story. It sometimes contains the solution.

2.10.3. Language Features

Joyce & Feez in Mulianingsih also suggest that narrative have some linguistic features as listed below [7]:

Specific often individual participants with defined identities. Major participants are human, or sometimes animal with human characteristic.

Mainly use action verb (material processes), that describe what happens.

Many narratives also use thinking verbs (mental processes) that gives us information about what participants are thinking or feeling, such as wondered, remembered, thought, felt, disliked.

Normally use past tense

Dialogue often includes and uses a number of saying verb (verbal process) such as said, asked, and replied. The tense may change to the present or future in the dialogue. Sometimes these saying verbs also indicate how something is said.

Descriptive language is use to enhance and develop the story by creating image in the reader’s mind.

Can be written in the first person (I, We) or third person (he, she, they).

2.11. Kinds of Narrative Text

There are many different types of narrative texts:

Humorous narrative is one of that aims to make audience laugh as a part of telling story.

The romance narrative typically tells of two lovers who overcome difficulties to end up together.

Historical fiction

This type of narrative has the text presented like diary entries.

Fantasy narrative

Science fiction narratives involve science and technology.

2.12. Defenition Of Activating Background Knowledge

Although developing background knowledge is essential and instructional leaders should look for this in the lessons they observe it’s also important to notice opportunities for activating student’s relevant background knowledge. Students may have the necessary background knowledge but not use it when it would come in handy.

Teachers can activate student’s background knowledge in a number of ways Fisher and Frey. As an instructional leader, part of your role in observing instruction is to determine whether students ‘background knowledge was activated. In other words, its techniques, classroom management procedures, grade-level content, and background knowledge development.

According to Anderson, reading teacher, Activating background knowledge is the first step towards facilitating engagement with comprehension of a text. Not surprisingly, the ACTIVE approach to reading advocated when relevant background knowledge exist, activating it is fairly straight forward task.

Activating Background Knowledge strategy is a strategy that can be used to improve students’ abilities to comprehend the gist or main ideas of paragraphs by providing a prescription for reading from group sentence-to-sentence production to individual or partner .This strategy helps students to recognize information that is not necessarily essential as well as what is necessary to make predictions and begin to think about text prior to reading, thus after it is read, the more material will be comprehended.

2.13. Making Connection Types in Background Knowledge

Moreillon suggest that readers make three types of connection. They are text-to-self, text to-text, and text to world [6]. Readers can use each of these frames to identify the source of their prior knowledge connections.

Question related to each of these types of connection provide teachers with tools to engage students in active reading. Connections help everyone remember what they read. Connections also give value to literacy events in which the reader’s literate lives by giving deeper significance to literacy experience.

There are types of connection based on Moreillon [6]

2.13.1. Text-to-self connection

Text-to-self connection requires that educators know the children in their care and be familiar with student’s home lives and local communities. Posing and answering question can be an effective vehicle for making comprehension through background knowledge accessible to students. These sample question center on three areas of text-to-self connections such feelings, experience, and ideas:

Have you ever felt like the character in this story? Describe what happened and how you felt.

Have you heard or read this information before? What does this information mean to you?

How does connecting a story or information to your own life experiences help you better understand it?

2.13.2. Text-to-text connection

Learner can be guided to make connections between text when teacher make affective connections between children’s home and school lives. In a broad sense, a text can be any communication from which a person makes meaning. This view of a text offers learners a wide range of possible sources for making connections. The following sample question center on making text-to-text connections. They can be used to guide teachers and student’s thinking as they model practice:

Have you ever read another book or seen a movie in which the characters have feelings or experiences similar to the ones in this story?

Have you ever read another book or seen a movie in which a story element is similar to the one in this story?

How does making connections to familiar texts help you comprehend the new text?

2.13.3. Text-to-world Connections

With text-to-world connections, readers stretch their thinking beyond the particulars of what they read, hear, and view to connect story themes with larger life issues. Three are some question that can be used to guide educators or students thinking:

What do you think the author’s message or purpose was in writing this story or presenting this information?

What do you think was author’s opinion or perspective on big ideas in this text?

How does making connections to large issues help you comprehend this text?

2.13.4. Kinds of Background Knowledge Activation Strategies in Reading Comprehension

In order to activate background knowledge, there are some strategies. They are are reflection and recording strategy, brain storming and small group discussion. These strategies have some advantages and disadvantages with respect to each other as following below:

Reflection and recording strategy Teachers can ask the students “What do you know”, to know what their students have already known. They asked the answers orally or in written formal

Brain storming

Brain storming simply is that the teacher begins by introducing a problem or a new topic. The students tell all the possible answers, ideas and words. The teacher can write the students sayings on the board. By doing that, students can see all of the answers and they can simply make connections between ideas.

Small group discussion

According to Schmidt, small group discussion can be another way to active students’ prior knowledge. In this strategy, teachers give a problem, a situation or a topic to their students to discuss in small group. After discussion, group share their ideas and findings with whole class. By doing that, teachers can observe students’ prior knowledge related to the topic.

2.14. Using Activating Background Knowledge Strategy towards Students’ Reading Comprehension

Moreillon stated that activating background knowledge is helpful for teachers to use when students have difficulty with reading comprehension [6]. This strategy helps students to recognize information that is not necessarily essential as well as what is necessary to make predictions and begin to think about text prior to reading, thus after it is read, for more materials that are comprehended.

Through the use of this strategy, the students learn to think about what they are reading, the purpose for reading and begin to form a habit of thinking about the material and making connections to background knowledge that is critical in skilled reading and comprehension. It helps to activate prior knowledge and improves students’ reading comprehension.

3. Research Methodology

3.1. Research Design

This study is conducting by using Quantitative research. According to Cohen et al, experimental research involves a study of the effect of the systematic manipulation of one variable on another variable [3]. There are two variables in this research, they are the effect of activating background knowledge as variable X and reading comprehensions variable Y.

In this design, the researcher used two classes as sample; control group and experimental group. The manipulated variable is called the experimental treatment or independent variable. The experimental class is the class which is given the treatment by activating background knowledge on reading comprehension, while the control class is the group which is given the treatment by using conventional method. Both groups got a pretest and posttest.

Table 1.Research Design.





Experimental class



Control class





E = Experimental class

C = Control class

X = Pre-test to experiment class and control class

Y= Post- test to experimental and control class

= Receive to experiment of activating background knowledge

3.2. Population and Sample

3.2.1. Population

Population is all subjects of the research. Population is a number of people which are going to observe in this research. According to Cohen at al, Population is the whole group of the participants that are going to be researched [3]. In this study, the population is the second semester at teacher training faculty of Nommensen University.

3.2.2. Sample

Sample is the smaller group or the subset from the total population to be researched [3]. He said that if the total population is less than 100, it is better to take all of them as the sample, but if the total population is more than 100 students, the sample can be taken between 10-15% or 20-25% or more. Technique of taking sample used cluster sampling technique. The sample of the research will be divided into two groups (group B & C). The first group is experimental class, consisted of 30 students, and the other one is control class, that consisted of 30 students, the total of the students are 60 students.

3.3. Research Instruments

To test reading ability there are many methods of test that the teacher can use, namely Multiple choice questions, short answer questions, cloze test, selective deletion gap filling, C-test, cloze elide, information transfer and conclusion.” In collecting the data, the researcher will give the multiple choice tests which consist of 30 items to measure students reading comprehension. The content of the question is about literal reading comprehension. According to Cheung and Bucat in Fidalia, Multiple Choice item is one of the most popular item formats used in educational assessment, or rather it is stated:

“The multiple-choice test is a very flexible assessment format that can be used to measure knowledge, skills, abilities, values, thinking skills, etc. Such a test usually consists of a number of items that pose a question to which students must select an answer from among a number of choices. Items can also be statements to which students must find the best completion. Multiple-choice items, therefore, are fundamentally recognition tasks, where students must identify the correct response.”

3.4. Technique of Collecting Data

The procedure in collecting data in this case is test. The kind of test is multiple choice questions. The test is used to compare the students reading pre-test and post-test.

3.4.1. Pre-Test

The researcher used multiple choices technique that consisted of 30 items. Multiple choices technique is a technique that will be designed by using four choices and the participant choose one correct answer. After finishing the test, the students collected it to researcher.

3.4.2. Post-Test

The post-tests are functioning to get the mean score of experimental and control group. Post-tests are a test conducted after conducting the treatment. After explaining the material, both of the groups are given the same test to know the mean scores of the control group and experimental group. The teacher shared the test that consists of 30 items. The test is exactly same as the pre-test. After finishing the test, the students collected it to the teacher.

3.5. Scoring of the Test

To score the test, the researcher used score ranging from 0 to 100 by counting the correct answer and applying the formula:

x 100%


S= the score

R= the right answer

N= number of test items

3.6. Technique of Analyzing the Data

Data analysis is the last step on the procedure of this experiment that used to know the result of the research. To get the result of this research, the researcher uses t-test technique as the technique in analyzing the data. Accordin to Cohen et al (2007: 543) t-test is used to discover whether there are statiscally significant differences between the means of two groups, using parametic data drawn from random samples with the normal distribution.

As the first step on analyzing the numerical data, the researcher tries to get the average of students’ reading score for each group both in pre-test and post-test. In this way the researcher uses the formula:



MX=Mean score of Control Class

MY= Mean score of Experimental Class

X=Total score of Control Class

Y=Total score of Experimental Class

N= Number of students

After get the mean score for each group, the next step that should be done by the researcher is calculating standard variants of that two group. In this section, the researcher use formula:


When all of the value has been found, the next that should be done is finding the result of the research by using t-test formula as follow:


x̿1=the mean of post-test pre-test in experimental group

x̿2= the mean of post-test pre-test in control group

S12= variant of Pre-test – Post-test in experimental group

S22 = variant of Pre-test – Post-test in control group

n1= sample in experimental group

n2= sample in control group

4. The Result of the Research

Based on the data analysis, the researcher fined the data of experimental group and control group. After researcher compared the data of experimental group and control group, the researcher find the data analysis of experimental class and control class.

The mean of pre-test in experimental group was 56.09 and post-test in experimental class was 78.53. while the mean of pre-test in control group was 54.76 and the mean of post- test in control group was 74.16

Standard deviation of pre-test in experimental group was 4.40 and standard deviation of post-test in control group was 4.38 and standard deviation of post-test in control group was 4.14

The comparison of the mean in the whole of experimental class and control class was the mean of experimental class was 17.86 and the mean of control class was 15.76

The comparison of the standard deviation in the whole of experimental and control group was, the standard deviation of experimental group was 94.54 and standard deviation of control group was 72.73

In order to know the effect of Activating Background Knowledge in reading comprehension, the mean and the standard deviation were calculated by using t-test formula and the result was 6.47 and t-table was 1.67. it is mean that 6.47 > 1.67. So, there was a significantly effect of activating background knowledge in reading comprehension.

5. Conclusion

After conducting the research, the researcher collecting and analyze the data, and the researcher got conclusion from the research.

Firstly, the effect of Activating Background Knowledge in reading comprehension at second semester of Teacher Training Nommensen University Pematangsiantar. It is shown in the table of pre-test and post-test in experimental group, which shows that the mean score of pre-test in experimental group was 56.09 and the mean score post-test experimental group is 78.53. There were 30 students were able to pass the standard criteria minimum (KKM=70) in the school, and 5 students under the KKM (70). It means that more than help students of the class pass the test well and got high score.

Secondly, there was no effect by using Activating Background Knowledge Strategy in control group. By using Activating Background Knowledge Strategy the researcher didn’t find any effectiveness that can improve the student’s ability in reading comprehension. it is shown in the table of pre-test and post-test in control group, which the mean score of pre-test in control group was 17.86 and the mean score of post-test was 15. 76 and there was 30 students got score in standard criteria minimum (KKM=70). And the other was under the KKM. It means that strategy is not significantly affecting the student’s ability in reading comprehension.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this article.


The author would like to acknowledge his colleague, Herman that helped and encouraged him in doing, completing and revising this research until it is published.


© 2017 by the authors. Licensee International Technology and Science Press Limited. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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