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    ABSTRACT: There is evidence that learners may adopt different kinds of achievement goals: mastery approach, mastery avoidance, performance approach, and performance avoidance. In higher education, this evidence has mainly come from young people who have recently gone straight from secondary education to higher education. However, higher education is increasingly populated by older students, and it has been theorised that the relationship between goals and achievement might be very different for adult learners. The aim of the present study was to examine whether the relationships between achievement, drop-out rate, and goal orientation observed for non-adult populations are mirrored in adult learners. The Achievement Goal Questionnaire (AGQ) was administered to adult learners taking courses by distance learning. Respondents were 195 men and 586 women between the ages of 19 and 87. The results confirmed the reliability of the 2 × 2 version of the AGQ for this distinctive population. As in previous studies of younger students, mastery-approach goals were unrelated to attainment, performance-approach goals tended to facilitate attainment, and performance-avoidance goals tended to impair attainment. In addition, mastery-avoidance goals tended to impair students' attainment and also increased the likelihood that they would drop out of their course altogether. The achievement-goal framework is as appropriate for understanding influences on attainment in adult learners as it is in younger students. Adult learners may be more sensitive to the deleterious effects of adopting mastery-avoidance achievement goals.
    British Journal of Educational Psychology 12/2013; 83(4):664-85.
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    ABSTRACT: This study is based on a systematic review of studies using a randomized controlled trial or quasi-experimental design in order to synthesize existing evidence evaluating the effectiveness of continuing professional development (CPD) interventions in dentistry on learning gains, behavior change, or patient outcomes. The authors searched a range of electronic databases from 1986 to the present and screened all potentially relevant studies for inclusion, using pre-established inclusion/exclusion criteria. Following data extraction and quality appraisal of all included studies, a narrative synthesis of the studies was undertaken. Ten studies (in fourteen articles) were included. All were evaluation studies of CPD interventions targeted exclusively at dentists. The ten included studies evaluated a range of interventions: courses/workshops, written information, CAL, audit/self-reflection, face-to-face support, and black box combinations of these interventions. Two high- and moderately high-quality studies evaluated CAL CPD for dentists and found equivocal impact of CAL for dentists. A black box combination of interventions was rigorously evaluated and showed moderate impact on patient care. This finding suggests that multimethod and multiphased CPD has potential for the greatest impact. There is a need for more high-quality randomized controlled trials evaluating CPD interventions in dentistry. It is important that future evaluations of CPD interventions clarify the nature of the interventions such that they are explicit and replicable and that appropriate outcomes are selected (health of patients and change in practice or behavior as well as knowledge and understanding) in order to move the evidence base of effective practice forward in this area of dental education.
    Journal of dental education 03/2013; 77(3):300-15.
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the effects of formative assessment feedback commentaries utilizing textual and aural media on the quality of knowledge elaboration within the written work of a sample of 104 higher education students. A randomized, mixed methodological approach was adopted that examined changes within the students' work over a period of one academic year as a function of the feedback medium. The research outcomes indicated that whilst there were some improvements in very specific elements of the students' contextual knowledge elaboration that appeared to be related to qualities within the audio feedback, these were not significant and thus further research is required to explore the effects of audio media on elements of elaboration. However, analysis of students' qualitative comments suggests that feedback may serve simultaneously to reinforce and undermine tutor–student relationships as well as influencing the students' attitudes towards academic progress in general. This research assists not only in the furtherance of understanding the place of media in progressing students' knowledge elaboration within their studies, but also in comprehending the relationship between perception and actualization of learning development and progress.
    Computers & Education. 03/2013; 62:249–261.
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    The Journal of pediatrics 02/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Developing fluency and flexibility in mathematics is a key goal of upper primary schooling, however, while fluency can be developed with practice, designing activities that support the development of flexibility is more difficult. Drawing on concepts of adaptive expertise, we developed a task for a multi-touch classroom, NumberNet, that aimed to support both fluency and flexibility. Results from a quasi-experimental study of 86 students (44 using NumberNet, 42 using a paper-based comparison activity) indicated that all students increased in fluency after completing these activities, while students who used NumberNet also increased in flexibility. Video analysis of the NumberNet groups indicate that the opportunity to collaborate, and learn from other groups' expressions, may have supported this increase in flexibility. The final phase of the task suggests future possibilities for engaging students in mathematical discourse to further support the development of mathematical adaptive expertise. Open access publication.
    Learning and Instruction 01/2013; 25(3):13–23.
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    ABSTRACT: Widely thought to be something worth encouraging in young learners, creativity has popularly been associated more with music and art than with other areas of the curriculum. There have been many studies of creativity but few that focus explicitly on what counts as creative thinking in specific subject areas. The aim of the research reported here was to determine pre-service teachers’ conceptions of creativity within the curriculum for English. The study involved analyses of primary school trainee teachers’ responses to questionnaires and follow-up focus group discussion to identify their conceptions. A group of 48 trainees in the final year of an undergraduate degree in primary education leading to qualified teacher status in England completed the questionnaire. Of these, eight volunteered to participate in a follow-up focus group discussion to further explore ideas. Responses were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. Conceptions of creativity in English were found to be limited, focused mainly on naïve views of story writing and dramatic activity. Responses indicated that they were often unable to distinguish clearly between the concept of creativity, an example of its occurrence in the classroom, and what feature of that example made it creative. Consequently, their limited constructions of creativity were confused. It is important that teachers in schools as well as those responsible for training teachers in universities are advised that trainees’ conceptions of creativity in English may be inadequate in several respects and that they may not recognise opportunities for creativity. Pre-service training programmes could well benefit from structured courses on the forms and applications of creativity.
    Thinking Skills and Creativity 12/2012; 7(3):165–176.
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined dissonance in physical activity (PA) between two youth-specific hip-derived intensity cut-points for the Actiwatch (AW), and compared PA between hip and wrist placements using site-specific cut-points. Twenty-four children aged 11.2 ± 0.5 years wore the AW on the right hip and non-dominant wrist during a typical school day. Minutes of sedentary behaviour and vigorous activity were greater using Puyau et al. (2002) cut-points, but light, moderate, and moderate-to-vigorous (MVPA) were greater when derived using Puyau et al. (2004) cut-points (P < 0.01). Total hip activity counts were lower than wrist. Sedentary minutes were greater at the hip, but minutes of light, vigorous and MVPA were lower (P < 0.01). Moderate minutes were greater at the hip, but differed only when applying the Puyau et al. (2004) cut-points (P < 0.01). In conclusion, data comparisons between two hip derived AW cut-points and between hip and wrist data are inappropriate. Future researchers using the AW at the hip should present data reduced using both published cut-points. As hip and wrist data differ, the wrist placement is preferable as it will likely increase children's compliance to monitoring protocols due to reduced obtrusiveness compared to the hip.
    Journal of Sports Sciences 08/2012; 30(12):1303-10.
  • Sociological Review 08/2011; 31(3):520 - 545.
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    ABSTRACT: Previously, a small scale, interview-based, 3-year longitudinal study (ages 11–14) in one school had suggested a learning progression related to the concept of a substance. This article presents the results of a large-scale, cross-sectional study which used Rasch modeling to test the hypothesis of the learning progression. Data were collected from 4,450 students, aged 11–14, across 30 secondary schools in England using a computer-based assessment instrument. The construction of the items was informed by the research literature on students' understanding in chemistry. One hundred seventy-six fixed response items, in three formats, involving the use of video and animation were developed. Scored dichotomously, overall, the data show a good fit to the Rasch model. Item difficulties have a high degree of invariance across ability, schools, gender, and year group. Conceptually, when items are placed in order of difficulty, a coherent progression of ideas emerges which matches the expectations from the longitudinal study. The learning progression is presented. Independent, nationally standardized data allow tentative projection of student performance to the wider population in England. Implications for research and curriculum design are discussed. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 48: 849–877, 2011
    Journal of Research in Science Teaching 07/2011; 48(8):849 - 877.
  • British Journal of Educational Psychology. 05/2011; 58(3):356 - 360.
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