Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Psychology

Major Professor

Schuyler W. Huck

Committee Members

Dr. O. Milton, Dr. W.H. Calhoun, Dr. S.C. Dietz


A relatively new instructional technique called the Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) has been highly praised by both instructors and students as a development in higher education which promises better student performance, higher morale, greater teacher effectiveness, and sometimes reduced cost of instruction. Studies of PSI conducted by others have been concerned, for the most part, with course examination scores and course grades in a variety of content, fact-oriented courses including psychology, engineering, library science, and physics.

An important issue which has not been investigated is the comparative effectiveness of the PSI method and the lecture method of instruction with individuals of differing achievement anxiety. Because of this, the major concerns of this study involved determining (1) whether students within the same levels of previous academic achievement and anxiety but taught by PSI or lecture then performed differently on an unannounced, end-of-course test on knowledge and practical application of course content, (2) whether there was any relationship between method of teaching (PSI or lecture) and end-of-course anxiety when students in the same levels of previous academic achievement were examined, and (3) whether there was any relationship between method of teaching (PSI or lecture) and end-of-course anxiety when students in the same levels of initial anxiety were considered.

Two, all female, sections of the Textile and Clothing course in the College of Home Economics at The University of Tennessee were involved in the study which was conducting in the Fall Term, 1973. A total of 88 students, 44 in each section of the course, completed all tests and thus made up the sample in the study.

In addressing possible differences in the knowledge and practical application issue, a three-way analysis of variance was used to compare the two levels of instructional method, two levels of previous academic achievement, and two levels of anxiety. The main effect results, significant at the .05 level, seemed to indicate that PSI, high previous achievement, and high facilitative-debilitative anxiety were all clearly associated with higher knowledge and practical application scores. There were no significant interaction effects.

A two-way analysis of covariance yielded some significant results (.05 level) concerning the effect of instructional method and previous academic achievement on end-of-course anxiety. The lecture technique was associated with more facilitative end-of-course anxiety scores than was the PSI technique. Further, this advantage in favor of lecture was especially true for individuals who were low in previous academic achievement.

Another two-way analysis of covariance was used to compare instructional method and initial anxiety effects on end-of-course anxiety. Statistically significant results at the .05 level again suggested (1) that the lecture technique was more associated with higher facilitated-debilitative anxiety scores than was PSI, and (2) that the association was more evident with those who were low in initial anxiety.

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