An evaluation of expressed level of aspiration as a determinant of performance in an undergraduate biology course Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5425kd97v

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  • The purpose of this investigation was to determine if the level of aspiration procedure consisting of knowledge of results plus goal-setting possesses a motivational property as reflected in performance on subject matter criterion instruments above that of knowledge of results alone in an undergraduate biology course. In addition the study was designed to ascertain whether the motivational property of the level of aspiration procedure was affected by the student's scholastic orientation as measured by the Brown-Holtzman Survey of Study Habits and Attitudes. The investigation was conducted at Oregon State University during the 1968-1969 academic year using students who were completing a three-term sequence of college general biology (GS 101, 102, 103). A total of 255 students were included in the final analysis of this investigation. During the spring term measurements of student performance in general biology (GS 103) from five subject matter criterion instruments were taken in addition to data of students' scholastic orientation as measured by the Brown-Holtzman instrument. Previous performance scores in general biology (GS 101, 102) were used to classify the students included in this study into four performance groups (A, B, C, D), based on their average past performance. Analysis of the criterion instrument scores in terms of group sample means was made for each of the four performance classifications for both experimental and control groups. Findings The findings from this research were based on results of one-tailed t-tests comparing the differences between performance means of experimental and control groups on criterion instruments. Resultant t values were tested at the 5 percent level. 1. There was a significant statistical difference between the mean performance on departmental criterion instruments of the experimental and control groups of the C performance classification only. 2. There was no significant statistical difference between the mean performance on Tolman's Principles of Biology Test of the experimental and control groups of any of the performance classifications. It was concluded that the insignificant results may have been caused by the short experimental period and conditions under which the treatment was administered. 3. There was no positive relationship between the amount of improvement over past performance for students exposed to the level of aspiration treatment. Analysis indicated that improvement in performance is independent of scholastic orientation in both experimental and control groups. Further research will be necessary for the development of an indicator for susceptibility to level of aspiration treatment as it was concluded that the Brown-Holtzman Survey of Study Habits and Attitudes does not serve this purpose.
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