The effect of trials-to-criterion on the retention of a discrete motor skill by moderately retarded and severely mentally retarded individuals Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/05741w073

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  • The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of trials-to-criterion on the retention of a discrete motor skill (overhand beanbag throw) by moderately mentally retarded and severely mentally retarded individuals. Nonmentally retarded individuals were involved as a control group. The subjects were grouped by degree of retardation and randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups: two, three, or four consecutive trials-to-criterion. The task consisted of an overhand throw of a 2-inch square beanbag into the inner circle of a target from a distance of 10 feet. The subjects were provided one-to-one instruction until their respective criterion (2, 3, or 4 consecutive correct attempts) was met without assistance. The subjects were given up to eight weeks of instruction three times per week to meet criterion. A nationally validated systematic approach to instruction for the severely handicapped, as designed by Teaching Research and Oregon State University, was used. The number of attempts it took each subject to achieve the learning criterion (2, 3, or 4 consecutive correct attempts) was recorded. All subjects began the retention interval once their respective learning criterion was met. At the conclusion of the four-week retention interval the subjects were given a posttest to determine if the skill had been retained. Two consecutive correct attempts were used as criterion for the retention test. If the subjects did not meet the posttest criterion, one-to-one instruction was provided until two consecutive correct throws were achieved. The number of attempts it took each subject to reach two trials-to-criterion after the retention interval was utilized as a measure of retention. A generalized, randomized block ANCOVA was used to determine if any significant difference existed between the experimental and control groups. The pretest served as the covariate and was used as the reference for comparison to the posttest. The results of the study indicated that the scores of the mentally retarded subjects improved as a result of the treatment effect. Severely mentally retarded subjects who experienced three and four trials-to-criterion performed significantly better than severely mentally retarded subjects in the two trials-to-criterion group. No significant differences in the treatment groups were found for the nonmentally retarded and the moderately mentally retarded groups. However the moderately mentally retarded approached significance with better scores obtained by subjects in the three and four trials-to-criterion groups. On the basis of the findings of this study and within the limitations of the investigation, it was concluded that increased trials-to-criterion significantly influenced the retention scores of severely retarded individuals.
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