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Title:A Study to Determine How A Laboratory Experience Prior to Lecture Affects the Achievement and Attitude of College Science Students
Author(s):Pfeffer, Marian Alice
Department / Program:Education
Discipline:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:This study investigates the effects of presenting students with a concrete example (laboratory) prior to the abstract concept (lecture). The following predictions were made. (1) There will be a positive relationship between the Piagetian tasks and scores on the ACT. (2) Students, whether concrete or formal operators, perform better when they are exposed to the laboratory prior to the lecture. (3) The reason the experimental (laboratory-first) students will excel on selected achievement variables will be because the early concrete experience will permit them to process information at higher learning levels. (4) Students' attitude toward the subject matter and sequence preference of the laboratory-lecture will be dependent upon membership in the experimental or control group. (5) The students' use of the laboratory in learning will be related to their membership in the experimental group and the instructor's attitude toward the laboratory.
Subjects were 310 physiology and anatomy students at Parkland College. The experimental procedure was designed so that approximately half of the subjects experienced the laboratory prior to the lecture. The other half served as controls and had the lecture prior to the laboratory. Students were given a Piagetian Task Inventory (PTI) prior to the treatment to determine which subjects were concrete and which were formal operators. Data such as age, ACT scores, academic and work related experiences were collected for each subject. After two weeks of treatment, the subjects were given various achievement criteria (quizzes and laboratory reports) and an inventory to determine mental processing changes. Interviews and laboratory observations were conducted on selected subjects. A retention quiz and a final examination completed the data collection.
As predicted there was a relationship between ACT scores and PTI results. It was also concluded from student records and interviews that background is of demonstrable importance in success in learning physiology and anatomy.
Using results from the discriminant analyses, the control and experimental students could be separated by specific achievement variables. The experimental treatment had a positive effect upon student achievement as measured by the experimental laboratory reports, but the control students scored better on higher level learning items on experimental quizzes. However, the greatest differences were between students who took one quiz per module and those who took two different copies of the quiz. Both concrete and formal subjects who took one quiz per module could be separated into experimental and control groups with similar discriminating variables. The concrete operators who repeated quizzes were separated by different variables; wherein no differences were detected for formal operators who repeated quizzes. However, prediction three could not be confirmed; no differences in processing were detected.
In general, the majority of students preferred the lecture prior to the laboratory. Prediction four, therefore, is unconfirmed. Experimental students were less likely than the control subjects to prefer the lecture first (58.5% vs. 41.5% and 89.5% vs. 10.5% respectively). The students who preferred the laboratory prior to lecture (33 of 42 subjects) more often gave concretizing as the reason for preferring the laboratory-lecture sequence. Twenty five of 37 students who stated that their use of the laboratory was to apply abstract concepts belonged to the control group. In addition, the students were influenced by the instructor's position on the laboratory. Apparently, the time sequence of the laboratory and the instructor's attitude may determine how the laboratory is used in learning.
Issue Date:1981
Type:Text
Language:English
Description:190 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/66054
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8127671
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1981


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