Date of Award

8-1974

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Major

Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

William H. Cormier

Committee Members

Ohmer Milton, Robert Williams, Schuyler W. Huck

Abstract

The primary purposes of this study were to determine the effect of modifying the proctor and self-paced components of the Personalized System of Instruction (PSI). Research has shown that students in Personalized courses score higher on final exams and rate the course higher than those enrolled in lecture courses. The components of the system have not been manipulated to determine the effect on student performance, progress or attitudes. The first purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of the independent variable of proctors' grades being contingent upon the final examination performance of students assigned to them upon the three dependent variables of student performance on the final exam, student progress through the course, and student attitude; the second, to investigate the effect of the independent variable of giving bonus points for completing unit one the first week of the quarter, and unit two the second week of the quarter on the three dependent variables.

The study was conducted at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Spring Quarter 1973. The subjects were 66 students who were enrolled in Textiles and Clothing 3420, Textiles I.

Each student was assigned to one of twelve student proctors. Proctors spent five hours each week in the room reserved for the course during which time they worked with the students assigned them. Using a study guide, students studied the assigned reading and, when they were ready, scheduled a conference with their proctor during which they took an oral unit test. If the student answered all questions correctly or could clarify incorrect answers, she was passed on the unit test and was given the study guide for the next unit. Students who did not pass unit tests were required to restudy the material and take an alternate form of the test.

The twelve proctors were randomly divided into two groups of six students each. One of the groups was randomly assigned to the grade-contingent condition. For the grade-contingent group, the grades of the student proctors were contingent upon the final examination grades of the students assigned to her. Each of the two groups of proctors was randomly divided into two groups. One group became the bonus group while the other group was designated the no-bonus group. Students assigned to proctors in the bonus group were given five bonus points for completing unit one during the first week of the quarter and five bonus points for completing unit two during the second week of the quarter.

A final examination designed to test performance at four points along a continuum of complexity of thought was given to all students at the end of the quarter. The four parts of the examination were: multiple choice questions which tested the recall of facts, multiple choice questions which tested the application of facts in solving simple problems, application questions which tested the application of concepts in solving simulated problems related to the subject, and multiple choice questions on new material, i.e., information included in portions of two articles on more advanced material than that included in the course.

Progress was measured according to the time at which students completed unit tests. Attitudes were measured by a four-part attitude scale which consisted of: (1) a comparison of the students' attitudes toward this course with other courses of a more general type; (2) an assessment of attitude toward the course; (3) an assessment of attitude toward the teacher; and (4) an assessment of attitude toward the proctor.

The withdrawal of 9 of the 66 students enrolled in the course resulted in a total of 57 subjects. The average grades on the final examination for the students assigned to each proctor were calculated. The students assigned to one proctor in the grade-contingent group did not make the minimum of 80 necessary for the proctor to make an A. The students assigned to only two proctors in the grade-not-contingent group exceeded the average grade of 80.

A two x two fixed factor analysis of covariance with cumulative grade point average (GPA) as the covariate was utilized to analyze the data for each of the four parts of the final examination. The results indicated that regardless of whether the proctor's grade was contingent upon the final examination grade of the students assigned to them, there was no effect on student performance on the final examination. The results of the analysis of covariance for each part of the final examination showed no significant differences for the grade-contingency factor. The grade-contingency factor also had no effect on progress through the course or on student attitude.

Students who received bonus points scored significantly higher than students who did not on the multiple choice simple application portion of the final examination. There were no significant differences in the scores of the two groups on the other three parts of the examination.

The data for determining progress were analyzed by a 2 x 2 x 8 Lindquist Type III analysis of variance with points earned each week as the repeated measures factor. The between-subjects main effects (grade contingency and bonus points) were not significant. The repeated measures factor, points, was significant at the .01 level. A Newman-Keuls Multiple Comparison test showed that points earned the last week of the quarter were significantly higher than each of the other weeks.

A 2 x 2 fixed factor analysis of variance was utilized to analyze the data from each of the four parts of the attitude scale. The main effects of grade contingency and bonus points and the interaction for the four parts of the attitude scale attitude toward the course, toward the teacher, toward the student proctor, and for comparing the course with other courses were not significant.

Making the proctors' grades contingent on the final examination grade of their students did not affect student performance on the final examination, student progress through the course, or student attitudes. Proctors worked effectively with students regardless of whether their grade was contingent on the final examination grade of their students. Bonus points for units completed the first two weeks of the quarter affected student performance on only one portion of the final examination and did not affect progress or student attitudes.

Recommendations for further research were provided.

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