Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School Psychology

Major Professor

Robert L. Williams

Committee Members

David F. Cihak, R. Steve McCallum, Christopher H. Skinner


The current study was an extension of research reported by Krohn (2010), which showed that daily credit for self-reported participation in designated credit units tended to balance participation across students (i.e., fewer non-participants, more credit-level participants, and fewer dominant participants). The purpose of the current study was to determine if similar results would be achieved by randomly selecting half of the discussion days in designated credit units for participation credit.

The study was done in 3 large sections of an undergraduate class (approximately 54 students per class). Students self-recorded their in-class comments each day on specially designed record cards. At the end of each pre-selected unit, instructors randomly selected discussion days and awarded credit based on the number of comments made on the days randomly selected. Three credit points were given for each student’s first comment and two additional points for a second comment.

The findings of the current study differed in several ways from those of Krohn’s (2010) comparison study. The differences mainly related to baseline percentages of different levels of participation. Compared to the current study, Krohn’s study had a higher percentage of non-participants, fewer credit-level participants, fewer frequent participants, and more dominant participants. The disparities between the baseline levels of Krohn’s study and the current study made treatment effects more difficult to achieve in the latter study. Nonetheless, there were fewer non-participants and more credit-level and frequent participants during credit units than in non-credit units.

Secondarily, a survey was given at the beginning of the course to analyze student beliefs regarding participation. Using the same survey, Krohn (2010) extracted three primary factors: 1) Personal Benefits of Participation, 2) Expectation for Discussion in College Classes, and 3) Personal History and Confidence Regarding Participation. The same three factors were also examined separately and in combination in the current study. Results showed the three-factor model to predict student participation levels better than the total survey. In addition, students were given the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal at the onset of the course. A logistic regression indicated that exam and critical thinking scores, in combination, significantly predicted student participation levels.

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