Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

School Psychology

Major Professor

Robert L. Williams

Committee Members

Sherry K. Bain, Sherry M. Bell, Christopher H. Skinner

Abstract

The process of identifying and improving factors related to early exam success or failure in an undergraduate setting (Ed Psych 210) was divided into 2 separate studies. The first study was a retrospective analysis of 2 years’ of data that compared high and low performers on the first course exam with respect to their subsequent success in the course. Mean comparison between initially high (N = 158) and low (N = 163) performers revealed significantly higher means for those in the former group across several academic variables (i.e., critical thinking, grade point average, subsequent exams, practice exams, quiz scores). Analyses of results support identifying individuals who initially struggle in a course in order to provide them early intervention services.

The focus of the second study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an out-of-class, tier-level intervention using a multiple-baseline design across 3 course sections. Within the framework of the Response to Intervention model, I used universal screeners in selecting participants and identified progress-monitoring measures (i.e., homework accuracy) to assess response to intervention. Ten out of 42 eligible students elected to participate in the study, and 7 of the 10 students completed the intervention program. Phase means of homework accuracy increased between baseline and treatment across all sections. Visual analysis of individual response to intervention showed some variability in daily performance across phases. At least 70% of treatment data points were higher than the baseline median level for 6 of the 7 participants. Exam performance increased for those who responded to Tier 2 interventions but stayed consistently low for individuals requiring the most intensive tier. Exam gaps, defined as the differences of individual exam scores from class averages, decreased following implementation across participants.

Future research suggestions for implementing tier-based interventions at the college level include replicating current procedures to assess effects of intervention on homework accuracy across different types of students; developing interventions, universal screeners, and progress monitoring tools to fit a variety of course contexts; and creating and evaluating universal screeners and progress monitoring tools that can effectively and efficiently assess target skills.

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