Date of Award

5-1994

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Major

Educational Psychology

Major Professor

Donald Dickinson

Committee Members

Kathy Greenberg, Bob Williams, Tom George

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of the Cognitive Enrichment Network (COGNET) mediated learning instructional approach, an approach based on Feuerstein's theory of structural cognitive modifiability, on cognitive and metacognitive variables. COGNET and control subjects were in grades K-3 and were from two schools in rural Tennessee. They were identified as potential subjects by being former Head Start participants, receiving free lunch, or by teacher referral for at risk status. They participated in the study for two years. Students were videotaped during the pre- and post-test administrations of the Cognitive Functioning Analysis Instrument. From these videos, the cognitive phase durations of "think time," "solution time," and "reflective thinking" were timed. In addition, the frequencies of metacognitive behaviors of requiring prompts, being off task, and monitoring were analyzed.

Using ANCOVA with the pre test as a covariate, think time and solution time did not differ statistically. COGNET students utilized reflective thinking more than did the control students. No significant differences between COGNET and control students were found on the metacognitive variables. The inconclusive results with the cognitive variables were viewed as a function of student variability and degree of teacher implementation of the COGNET program. The metacognitive variables occurred with low frequencies.

These results suggested that the COGNET program did not develop strategies for problem solution on all cognitive variables. The COGNET group offered longer descriptions of their problem solving plan than did the control group; however, the duration measures may not have been entirely appropriated in the assessment of cognitive processing. The results did not support COGNET's effectiveness for improved efficiency in the metacognitive variables. The efficiency paradigm as hypothesized may be questioned since this is a group of at-risk learners. These results appear confounded by instrumentation, implementation, and age and developmental factors.

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