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The majority of “special access” students at the University of Cape Town are second language English speakers for whom reading the physics textbook is daunting. As a strategy to encourage meaningful engagement with the text, students wrote textbook summaries due the day material was covered in class. The summaries were returned, and they could bring them or re-write them for use during their examinations. A framework was developed to analyze the summaries based on Waywood, defining three cognitive levels seen in mathematics journaling: recounting, summarizing, and dialoging. This framework was refined, expanded, and tested. Interviews with students were conducted for their views on summary writing and survey questions were included on their final exams. The study was carried out in the 2007 spring semester of the “Foundation Physics Course,” a component of the special access program.
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