The achievement effect of behavioral objectives in introductory psychology Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ks65hf86b

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  • Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study was to.investigate the achievement effect of providing students in a college-level introductory psychology course with behavioral objectives. The non-experimental literature provides a rationale for student use of behavioral objectives (Bobbitt, 1918; Tyler, 1950; Taba, 1962; Gagne and Briggs, 1974; and Popham, 1969). A number of other authors provide logical arguments against their use (Eisner, 1967; Atkin, 1968; Ebel, 1970). The empirical studies completed show the same divergence. Some studies demonstrate a significant difference in favor of the use of behavioral objectives, while other studies do not. Specific recommendations for more effective use of behavioral objectives have been made: providing the opportunity for students to practice the objectives (Tyler, 1950), placing the objectives within a cognitive taxonomy (Bloom, 1956), and establishing in the mind of the student the association between the objecitves and the tests (Tiemann, 1968). In addition to these recommendations applicable to the learning situation itself, Scriven (1977) recommends the use of a test item pool referenced to the objectives. Melton (1978) recommends that the objectives meet the criteria of being clearly written, readable, specific as to the behavior required and of moderate difficulty. An experiment was designed incorporating these recommendations to test the following null hypotheses at α = .05. 1. There is no significant achievement difference between those students receiving behavioral objectives and those receiving placebo treatments. 2. There is no significant achievement difference between groups taught by different instructors. 3. There is no significant interaction of instructor and treatment. Procedures/Findings: Subjects for the study were 259 students whose high school grade point averages were on file with the university and who registered for and completed Psychology 201 at Oregon State University during the ten-week winter term, 1981. These students were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: behavioral objectives, weekly outlines, and study guides. Copies of these are included in the appendices. The dependent variable was a 100-item final examination constructed from the test item pool provided by the publishers of the supplemental Study Guide (Atkinson, 1979). While no validity data were available for the dependent measure, the discrimination and difficulty indices indicate that the test was of moderate difficulty and that 98 of the 100 items discriminated between high and low scorers at α = .01. The reliability score as computed by the K-R 20 was .911. The examination and item analysis data are included in the appendices. All data were collected by the investigator. Analysis of covariance (ANCOV) with high school grade point average as the covariant was used to test all three hypotheses. All three null hypotheses were retained. There were no significant differences due to treatment or instructor. Conclusions: The literature indicates that behavioral objectives may be a useful experimental method for increasing achievement when the recommendations for more effective use of behavioral objectives are incorporated into the design. Although the null hypotheses have been retained, the adjusted treatment means (69.30 for behavioral objectives, 67.67 for study guides, and 67.80 for course outlines) indicate that behavioral objectives, while increasing achievement, did not increase achievement significantly. The behavioral objectives treatment does not seem to be detrimental to student achievement.
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