Article

The Relation Between Assessment Practices and Outcomes of Studies: The Case of Research on Prior Knowledge

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  • Maastricht University School of Business and Economics
Article

The Relation Between Assessment Practices and Outcomes of Studies: The Case of Research on Prior Knowledge

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Abstract

The purpose of this review was to (a) overview prior knowledge research and its role in student performance, and (b) examine the effects of prior knowledge in relation to the method of assessment. We selected 183 articles, books, papers, and research reports related to prior knowledge. While prior knowledge generally had positive effects on students' performance, the effects varied by assessment method. More specifically, prior knowledge was more likely to have negative or no effects on performance when flawed assessment measures were used. However, in some studies, flawed methods yielded informative results. Thus, in educational research the implications of assessment measures must be considered when examining the effects of prior knowledge.

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... Prior knowledge is defined as all the knowledge one has before learning about a particular topic. As Dochy et al. (1999) point out, it facilitates learning new information. They estimate between 30 and 60% of the variance in learning outcomes is explained by prior knowledge. ...
... This is considered a central finding of this study, since prior knowledge is conceptualized so differently and sometimes broadly (cf. Dochy, 1992; Alexander et al., 1994b; Tobias, 1994; Dochy et al., 1999). Although interest is known to be relevant for recall as is prior knowledge, it did not explain correlations between the different domains of prior knowledge and recall. ...
... This assumption is supported by the finding that reading comprehension interfered in the correlation between medical knowledge and recall. As Dochy et al. (1999) point out, the way prior knowledge is assessed affects whether a relationship between prior knowledge and recall is found. In this study domain-specific prior knowledge was assessed in a way similar to that in other studies (cf. ...
Article
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Prior knowledge is known to facilitate learning new information. Normally in studies confirming this outcome the relationship between prior knowledge and the topic to be learned is obvious: the information to be acquired is part of the domain or topic to which the prior knowledge belongs. This raises the question as to whether prior knowledge of various domains facilitates recalling information. In this study 79 eleventh-grade students completed a questionnaire on their prior knowledge of seven different domains related to the bioethical dilemma of prenatal diagnostics. The students read a text containing arguments for and arguments against prenatal diagnostics. After 1 week and again 12 weeks later they were asked to write down all the arguments they remembered. Prior knowledge helped them recall the arguments 1 week (r = 0.350) and 12 weeks (r = 0.316) later. Prior knowledge of three of the seven domains significantly helped them recall the arguments 1 week later (correlations between r = 0.194 and 0.394). Partial correlations with interest as a control item revealed that interest did not explain the relationship between prior knowledge and recall. Prior knowledge of different domains jointly supports the recall of arguments related to bioethical topics.
... Successful passage comprehension relies on the ability to understand and recall the specific passage content and, typically, to provide correct responses afterward (Kim, 2016). Therefore, a passage comprehension task taps into different language domains, such as lexicon, grammar, phonology, and pragmatics, and require the integration of linguistic skills with previous experience and knowledge about the surrounding world to reach understanding (Bishop, 2014;Dochy et al., 1999;Lepola et al., 2012;Paul & Norbury, 2012). Bilingual children's knowledge and proficiency in the school language, the second language (L2), may be age inadequate due to different factors, that is, due to limited exposure to an L2 or due to a language disorder. ...
... The task was composed of two narrative passages, each with 10 corresponding multiple-choice questions. The narratives were created to avoid tapping prior knowledge specific to any certain culture (Bishop, 2014;Dochy et al., 1999). To achieve this, the narratives were set in fictive civilizations (Ljung et al., 2009), and they were structured according to the story grammar principles (Stein & Glenn, 1979) and included plots that could be deemed "universal." ...
... Passage comprehension performance requires skills in different language domains such as lexicon, grammar, and pragmatics. Linguistic skills have to be integrated with previous experience and knowledge about the surrounding world for the child to reach understanding (Bishop, 2014;Dochy et al., 1999;Lepola et al., 2012;Paul & Norbury, 2012). When the school language represents the L2, prior experience of, exposure to, and knowledge of that language may be reduced, which, in turn, may result in poorer understanding. ...
Article
Purpose This study reports on the development of an auditory passage comprehension task for Swedish primary school children of cultural and linguistic diversity. It also reports on their performance on the task in quiet and in noise. Method Eighty-eight children aged 7–9 years and showing normal hearing participated. The children were divided into three groups based on presumed language exposure: 13 children were categorized as Swedish-speaking monolinguals, 19 children were categorized as simultaneous bilinguals, and 56 children were categorized as sequential bilinguals. No significant difference in working memory capacity was seen between the three language groups. Two passages and associated multiple-choice questions were developed. During development of the passage comprehension task, steps were taken to reduce the impact of culture-specific prior experience and knowledge on performance. This was achieved by using the story grammar principles, universal topics and plots, and simple language that avoided complex or unusual grammatical structures and words. Results The findings indicate no significant difference between the two passages and similar response distributions. Passage comprehension performance was significantly better in quiet than in noise, regardless of language exposure group. The monolinguals outperformed both simultaneous and sequential bilinguals in both listening conditions. Conclusions Because the task was designed to minimize the effect of cultural knowledge on auditory passage comprehension, this suggests that compared with monolinguals, both simultaneous and sequential bilinguals have a disadvantage in auditory passage comprehension. As expected, the findings demonstrate that noise has a negative effect on auditory passage comprehension. The magnitude of this effect does not relate to language exposure. The developed auditory passage comprehension task seems suitable for assessing auditory passage comprehension in primary school children of linguistic and cultural diversity.
... Commonly, researchers and theorists refer to what a person already knows about a topic as " background knowledge. " Numerous studies have confirmed the relationship between background knowledge and student achievement (Nagy et al., 1987; Dochy et al., 1999; Tobias, 1994). In these studies the reported average correlation between a person's background knowledge of a given topic and the extent to which that person learns new information on that topic is .66. ...
... However, Tai & Sadler (2001) point out that these conclusions were reached by examining only a few variables and forming simple correlations. Studies of students' Background knowledge in science and mathematics began in the 1970s and have since produced a voluminous literature (Dochy et al., 1999). Interest in prior knowledge began with the careful documentation of common errors made by students in solving physics and mathematics problems. ...
Article
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The study investigated the effect of students' background knowledge of mathematics on academic achievement in physics. The moderating effect of gender was also examined. The sample consisted of 300 senior secondary school year one science/mathematics students in Lagos State. The study adopted pre-test and post-test control group non-equivalent quasi-experimental design using a 2×2 factorial matrix with one experimental group and one control group. Five research questions and three null hypotheses were raised, answered, and tested in the study. Two research instruments, Mathematics Achievement Test (MAT) (r = 0.82) and Physics Achievement Test (PAT) (r = 0.78) were administered on the sample and data gathered were analysed, using Mean, Standard deviation, Independent Samples t-test statistic and analysis of covariance. Results showed that there were no statistically significant differences in the mean pre-test achievement scores in mathematics (t=1.426, p=0.155) and physics (t=0.416, p=0.667) between the treatment groups prior to the intervention. Results also revealed that there was no statistically significant difference in the mean pre-test achievement scores in mathematics (t=-1.63, p=0.103) and physics (t=0.356, p=0.722) based on gender. However, there was a statistically significantly positive relationship between achievement score in physics and mathematics prior to the intervention (r=0.602, p=0.002). Treatment and gender had statistically significant main effects on students' posttest achievement score in physics (F(1, 299)=440.413, p=0.000, η2p=0.599; F(1, 299)=9.611, p=0.002, η2p=0.032) respectively. There was no statistically significant interaction effect of treatment and gender on students' post-test achievement score in physics (F(1, 299)=0.52, p=0.820, η2p=0.000). Based on the results, the study recommended that the teaching of prerequisite mathematics concepts in physics before physics teaching should be adopted as instructional technique for enhancing meaningful learning in physics.
... One such aspect might be students' prior domain knowledge. The importance of students' domain-specific knowledge was emphasized by several authors (Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999; Gruber, & Mandl, 1996; Murphy, & Alexander, 2002) that regarded this kind of knowledge as fundamental to understanding problems and generating solutions. New learning is seen as exceedingly difficult when prior domain knowledge is not available or not used (Dochy et al., 1999; von Glaserfels, 1987). ...
... The importance of students' domain-specific knowledge was emphasized by several authors (Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999; Gruber, & Mandl, 1996; Murphy, & Alexander, 2002) that regarded this kind of knowledge as fundamental to understanding problems and generating solutions. New learning is seen as exceedingly difficult when prior domain knowledge is not available or not used (Dochy et al., 1999; von Glaserfels, 1987). Gruber and Mandl (1996) argued that domain knowledge seems to exceed other influences such as those of cognitive abilities, general problem solving strategies and metacognitive abilities. ...
... PA contains many benefits (Dochy, Segers & Buehl, 1999;Panadero & Brown, 2017;Topping, 2003) and can be conceived of as a learning tool due to the active involvement of the learner in the learning process and its provision of the learner with skills to assess criteria that define high-quality work (Orsmond, Merry & Callaghan, 2004;. Peer assessment as an assessment tool is a strong vehicle of AfL because it actively involves students in evaluating their learning and allows them to participate in a collaborative appraisal using multiple perspectives, incorporating viewpoints from different learners (Falchikov, 2003;Gielen, Dochy, Onghena, Janssens & Decuyper, 2007). ...
... PA is defined as any educational arrangement in which students judge their peers' performance by providing grades and/or offering written or oral feedback . PA has many benefits (Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999;Panadero & Brown, 2017;Topping, 2003) and can be considered a learning tool owing to the active involvement of the learner in the learning process and the fact that it provides the learner with skills to assess criteria that define high-quality work (Orsmond, Merry, & Callaghan, 2004;. Nonetheless, PA is a difficult and intensive practice to implement. ...
... 340). Dochy et al. (1999) concluded in a literature review that "it is difficult to overestimate the importance of prior knowledge" (p. 145). ...
... This supports the KiP (Hambrick & Engle, 2002;Möhring et al., 2018). The results are also in line with evidence reported in previous reviews, concluding that prior knowledge is essential for later performance (e.g., Dochy et al., 1999). Assessments of prior knowledge in school entrance tests or in formative assessments, for example, can thus provide valuable information to teachers, parents, and learners themselves. ...
Preprint
Domain-specific prior knowledge has been hypothesized to be a strong positive determinant of learning, but can sometimes also hinder learning, e.g., through negative transfer. Many previous studies only reported the correlation between prior knowledge and posttest knowledge. Here, we show that (a) the correlation rP between prior knowledge and posttest knowledge merely indicates the stability of individual differences in knowledge, (b) the correlation rNG between prior knowledge and knowledge gains indicates the effects of prior knowledge on individuals’ learning rates, and (c) both correlations are partly mutually independent. We examined the correlations in a meta-analysis of 493 articles reporting 8776 effect sizes obtained with 126,050 participants. The stability of individual differences was high (rP+ = .531). Averaged over studies, the amount of prior knowledge did not predict knowledge gains (rNG+ = -.059). Descriptively, there was a compensatory effect (rNG+ = -.178) for instruction with lower cognitive demands and a Matthew effect (rNG+ = .128) for instruction with higher cognitive demands. Explanations for the independence of prior knowledge and knowledge gains are that positive and negative effects cancel each other out, that the content and quality of knowledge might be more important than the amount of knowledge investigated here, and that teachers can actively help learners with low prior knowledge. Generally, the moderating effects observed in this meta-analysis need to be interpreted in terms of which of the learning processes mediating between prior knowledge and learning outcomes they affect. The discussion offers a framework for further research on these inter-relations.
... Considering different qualities of knowledge, prior knowledge can also inhibit the acquisition of new knowledge (cf. Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999;W. Schneider, 1993;Stern, 2001;Vosniadou & Brewer, 1992), potentially limiting the amount of change for less knowledgeable as compared to more knowledgeable students. ...
... In the literature on knowledge acquisition, there are two seemingly conflicting hypotheses about the relationship between prior knowledge and subsequent learning -the knowledge-is-power hypothesis and the knowledge-as-burden hypothesis (cf. Dochy et al., 1999;W. Schneider, 1993;Stern, 2001). ...
Thesis
The search for relevant determinants of knowledge acquisition has a long tradition in educational research, with systematic analyses having started over a century ago. To date, a variety of relevant environmental and learner-related characteristics have been identified, providing a wide body of empirical evidence. However, there are still some gaps in the literature, which are highlighted in the current dissertation. The dissertation includes two meta-analyses summarizing the evidence on the effectiveness of electrical brain stimulation and the effects of prior knowledge on later learning outcomes and one empirical study employing latent profile transition analysis to investigate the changes in conceptual knowledge over time. The results from the three studies demonstrate how learning outcomes can be advanced by input from the environment and that they are highly related to the students’ level of prior knowledge. It is concluded that the effects of environmental and learner-related variables impact both the biological and cognitive processes underlying knowledge acquisition. Based on the findings from the three studies, methodological and practical implications are provided, followed by an outline of four recommendations for future research on knowledge acquisition.
... Furthermore, only free-recall testing was applied to gain insight into students' prior knowledge of the text topic. However , in best cases, multiple forms of assessments should be used for a complete characterization of prior knowledge, as this might hinder or influence the learning process (Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999). Therefore, future research should also consider other forms of prior knowledge tests, such as open questions, multiple choice tests, cloze tests, completion tests, and recognition tests, which also provide valid means of assessment (Dochy et al., 1999). ...
... However , in best cases, multiple forms of assessments should be used for a complete characterization of prior knowledge, as this might hinder or influence the learning process (Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999). Therefore, future research should also consider other forms of prior knowledge tests, such as open questions, multiple choice tests, cloze tests, completion tests, and recognition tests, which also provide valid means of assessment (Dochy et al., 1999). A third constraint relates to the assessment of fidelity to treatment . ...
... 340). Dochy et al. (1999) concluded in a literature review that "it is difficult to overestimate the importance of prior knowledge" (p. 145). ...
... This supports the KiP (Hambrick & Engle, 2002;M€ ohring et al., 2018). The results are also in line with evidence reported in previous reviews concluding that prior knowledge is essential for later performance (e.g., Dochy et al., 1999). Assessments of prior knowledge in school entrance tests or in formative assessments, for example, can thus provide valuable information to teachers, parents, and learners themselves. ...
Article
Full-text available
It is often hypothesized that prior knowledge strongly predicts learning performance. It can affect learning positively mediated through some processes and negatively mediated through others. We examined the relation between prior knowledge and learning in a meta-analysis of 8776 effect sizes. The stability of individual differences, that is, the correlation between pretest and posttest knowledge, was high (rP = .534). The predictive power of prior knowledge for learning, i.e., the correlation between pretest knowledge and normalized knowledge gains, was low (rNG = .059), almost normally distributed, and had a large 95% prediction interval [-.688, .621]. This strong variability falsifies general statements such as “knowledge is power” as well as “the effect of prior knowledge is negligible.” It calls for systematic research on the conditions under which prior knowledge has positive, negative, or negligible effects on learning. This requires more experiments on the processes mediating the effects of prior knowledge and thresholds for useful levels of prior knowledge.
... Among adults basic skills deficiencies often present a patchwork – so that an individual might be defeated by one simple task while having no problem with another more complex task. It is therefore much more difficult than with children to divide adults into well-defined skills levels (Wells, 2001), and instruction tailored to individual learners' needs is particularly helpful (Binder et al., 2011; Comings et al., 2003; Comings, Garner and Smith, 2000; Dochy, Segers and Buehl, 1999; Strucker, Yamamoto and Kirsch, 2007; Thomas and Ward, 2009). Pursuing this approach in France, the Atelier de Formation de Base workshops in the Haute-Normandie region, the Savoir pour Réussir programme in Marseille for young people with low literacy skills, and an adult literacy programme in a prison in Lyon are all using the method apparently with success (Michel and Maroun, 2008). ...
... Numerous researchers have therefore suggested tailoring instruction to adult learners' needs by means of assessment (Binder et al., 2011; Comings et al., 2003; Comings, Garner, and Smith, 2000; Thomas and Ward, 2009). Teachers who use frequent assessment seem to be more able to track their students' learning needs and progress and to adjust instruction accordingly (Dochy, Segers and Buehl, 1999; Strucker, Yamamoto, and Kirsch, 2007). ...
Working Paper
Full-text available
Identifying effective policy interventions for adults with low literacy and numeracy skills has become increasingly important. The PIAAC Survey of Adult Skills has revealed that a considerable number of adults in OECD countries possess only limited literacy and numeracy skills, and governments now recognise the need to up-skill low-skilled adults in order to maintain national prosperity, especially in the context of structural changes and projected population ageing. Against this background, this literature review examines the current evidence on policy interventions for adults with low literacy and numeracy skills to clarify which targeted policy levers could best enhance socio-economic returns. Despite progress in measuring adult skills and extensive literature describing practices used in adult literacy and numeracy programmes, there is little analysis of the effects of different interventions on learners. This literature review therefore attempts to bring together the analytical insights from research and practice to provide a broad picture of what has so far proven to motivate low-skilled adults to join and persist in literacy and numeracy learning. The paper shows that low basic skills levels of adults are a complex policy problem that has neither straightforward causes nor straightforward solutions and successful interventions are relatively uncommon. Tackling serious literacy and numeracy weaknesses is challenging because the group of low-skilled adults is diverse and requires different, well-targeted interventions. But there is now an emerging body of evidence on the approaches to teaching and learning that can make life-changing differences to adults in need. The paper identifies formative assessment, e-learning, and contextualisation and embedding (especially in the workplace and family context) as effective approaches to basic skills teaching. The central challenge is to put the evidence to work.
... These frameworks allow experts to analyze complex problems efficiently (Glaser & Chi, 1988; Zeitz, 1997). These elaborate schemas enable experts to retain and recall information, events, and problem states with a high degree of accuracy (Cooke, Atlas, Lane, & Berger, 1993; Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999; Ericsson & Kintsch, 1995). Further, broad, principled understandings of their domains facilitate skill transfer to solve related novel and complex problems (Gagné & Medsker, 1996; Hall, Gott, & Pokorny, 1995; van Merriënboer, 1997). ...
... These frameworks allow experts to analyze complex problems efficiently (Glaser & Chi, 1988;Zeitz, 1997). These elaborate schemas enable experts to retain and recall information, events, and problem states with a high degree of accuracy (Cooke, Atlas, Lane, & Berger, 1993;Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999;Ericsson & Kintsch, 1995). Further, broad, principled understandings of their domains facilitate skill transfer to solve related novel and complex problems (Gagné & Medsker, 1996;Hall, Gott, & Pokorny, 1995;van Merriënboer, 1997). ...
... Second, the cognitive and motivational components are distributed into three interacting levels: domain-specific knowledge, strategy use, and goals. Third, it assumes that prior knowledge, located at each of these three levels is effective for new learning (Dochy, Moerkerke, & Martens, 1996; Dochy, Segers & Buehl, 1999). Fourth, the six components of the model shape a heuristic device and not only a summary of empirical findings. ...
... Second, the cognitive and motivational components are distributed into three interacting levels: domain-specific knowledge, strategy use, and goals. Third, it assumes that prior knowledge, located at each of these three levels, is effective for new learning (Dochy, Moerkerke & Martens, 1996; Dochy, Segers & Buehl, 1999). Fourth, the six components of the model shape a heuristic device and not only a summary of empirical findings. ...
Thesis
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Research from cognitive and self-regulated learning approaches has contributed to the understanding of how students regulate and achieve certain performance outcomes in educational settings. During the last decade, more comprehensive models emerged supporting the integration of findings from different perspectives. The important role of working memory and attentional systems for the general processing of information, and specifically for math performance, is well known. Likewise, motivational beliefs such as subjective competence, cognitive and affective self-regulation, influence general academic performance and also performance in specific domains. Yet, we have little understanding about how these cognitive and non-cognitive variables interact with each other. Moreover, there are controversial results about how much they can predict academic performance from an integrated SRL model. The majority of previous studies have not considered cognitive individual differences at the information processing level. The goal of this research was to analyse the relationships between cognitive and motivational underlying factors that could explain two educational outcomes in the higher education context, focusing on general academic performance (GAP), on the one hand, and on math performance (MP), on the other. Since we understand that the performance level depends on the fit of an individual’s cognitive profile with the demands of the task, another aim of this research was to analyse these cognitive and motivational effects taking into consideration two characteristics, complexity and difficulty of the items of a math test. This doctoral dissertation involves 6 articles: a literature review and five studies based on a large sample of first-year university students. The first section introduces the relevance of the problem and the main research questions. The literature review identified the most important cognitive and non-cognitive factors impacting academic performance. Moreover, this study allowed to set up a conceptual map of the relationships between these factors, involving the main selected variables for this research (working memory, executive attention, self-regulation factors, learning strategies, characteristics of items, individual background variables). Chapter 2 analysed the interactions of cognitive group (defined by the combination of different levels of Working Memory and Executive Attention) with different components of Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) in their impact on MP. This study showed that cognitive group (CG) has the strongest effect on MP, but subjective competence and appraisals interact with cognitive group in their impact on MP, depending in part, on the complexity and difficulty of the items. Chapter 3 analysed the relationships between CG, self-regulated learning factors and learning strategies, focusing now on GAP represented by the Grade Point Average at the end of the first year. The results showed that students with high working memory (WM) performed significantly better than students with low WM, independently of the Executive Attention level. Several main effects were found for various learning strategies and for achievement motivation, but only one learning strategy interacts with cognitive group on GAP. Both chapter 2 and 3 showed that, WM directly influences academic performance, and EA compensates under some conditions, but it does not substitute WM, supporting the relative functional independence hypothesis regarding both cognitive mechanisms, in spite of their high correlation. Chapter 4 and 5 introduced Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) as a relatively new methodological approach to develop predictive and architectural models for the field of learning and education. Both studies used cognitive and non-cognitive measures of students, together with background information in order to design predictive models for different levels of MP and GAP, respectively, using ANN. Results demonstrated the greater accuracy of the ANN methodology compared to traditional methods such as discriminant analyses. In addition, the ANN provided information on those factors that contributed the most to the prediction of the different levels of expected performance. Chapter 6 tested several mediation models for both math and general academic performance using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). The tested models obtained a satisfactory data fit, especially in MP. The MP and GAP models were analysed and contrasted in terms of their direct and indirect effects of the variables included in the models. Finally, a last chapter provides a general discussion of the findings, with conclusions and implications for education and further research.
... Much of the research on problem-based learning has focused on higher education and adult learners. One may suppose that self-directed learning activities such as problem-based learning are more difficult for younger than more mature learners (Hmelo-Silver, 2004), and there is evidence to suggest that students with little prior knowledge may not benefit as much from problem-based learning as students who are more familiar with the topic (Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999). It is therefore likely that within the school context, age and prior knowledge will moderate the effectiveness of the problem-based approach. ...
Article
The article presents the results of a quasi-experimental intervention study with a 2 × 2 factorial design. We implemented a problem-based intercultural learning unit in four secondary schools (grades 9 to 12) and varied the teaching approach (analytical/affective-experiential) and the language of instruction (German/English). The learning unit covered six 45-min lessons and was conducted in nine school courses (n = 143). Five additional school courses (n = 66) served as a control group. In all experimental groups, students engaged with critical incidents. These were either analysed (analytical focus) or acted out as role plays (affective-experiential focus). In addition, students analysed film clips (analytical focus) or participated in a simulation game (affective-experiential focus). The experimental groups outperformed the control group in the post-test, which required the analysis of critical incidents. Both teaching approaches were equally effective; however, students evaluated affective-experiential learning more positively. Using a foreign language for teaching did not impair performance.
... It is therefore much more difficult than with children to divide adults into well-defined skills levels (Wells, 2001), and instruction tailored to individual learners' needs is particularly helpful. (Binder et al., 2011; Comings et al., 2003; Comings, Garner and Smith, 2000; Dochy, Segers and Buehl, 1999; Strucker, Yamamoto and Kirsch, 2007; Thomas and Ward, 2009). Pursuing this approach in France, the Atelier de Formation de Base workshops in the Haute-Normandie region, the Savoir pour Réussir programme in Marseille for young people with low literacy skills, and an adult literacy programme in a prison in Lyon are all using the method apparently with success (Michel and Maroun, 2008). ...
... Nowadays society requires individuals to have complex personal and interpersonal competences in order to be successful workers, learners, and citizens (Drago-Severson, 2011; Kegan, 1994; King & Siddiqui, 2011 ). These demands, which involve being adaptable, reflective, autonomous, self-regulated and capable of communicating and co-operating with others (Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999), are underlain by the need for individuals to develop increasingly complex ways of knowing. That is to say, by the need to experience what has been termed as epistemological development (Kegan, 1994; Mezirow, 2000; Taylor & Cranton, 2013). ...
Chapter
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As higher education teachers, the authors are committed to supporting students in their epistemological development, specifically in their transition towards self-direction. In this chapter, they share their experience of using self-assessment in a Teacher Training Degree course as a way to both enhance self-direction and assess its development. A thematic analysis of the self-assessments of a sample of 30 students is carried out, and four themes are identified: 1) the degree of authorship, 2) the degree of elaboration, 3) “taking notice of” subtle levels of analysis, and 4) the identification of temporal milestones throughout the course. These themes enable a different pattern of mental complexity to be identified, a complexity which is understood as evidence of students' different degrees of self-direction. The findings are discussed in the light of developmental constructivist theories. In addition, some implications for education regarding the current debates on self-assessment literature are presented.
... Finally, since a narrative review is the product of the reviewer's interpretive process, it is possible that our pre-existing points of view may have influenced our analysis of the literature. Nevertheless, a narrative review makes it possible to provide in-depth information on a topic (Dochy et al., 1999). Directions for further research can be formulated on the basis of the results of our study. ...
Article
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Second-career teachers are career changers who leave their current jobs to become teachers. This study conducts a narrative literature review which explores the student profiles of these teachers, asking how they differ from school leavers entering teacher education. The literature review also explores the characteristics of training approaches that are most suitable for second-career teachers based on their general student profile. Results show that second-career teachers are older, have strong intrinsic motivation, possess a wide range of knowledge and skills, have a self-directed and application-oriented approach to learning and teaching, and appreciate peer support. They benefit from teacher education programs that are flexible and include a preparatory period, that transfer their expertise into the teaching profession, provide opportunities for self-directed learning and peer support, integrate coursework and field experience, offer a significant amount of field experience and provide intensive mentoring support.
... Ausubel (1968) stated that the most important indication of learning is what the learner already knows because an image or an example directs the learner to relevant prior experience or learning and also points forward to new material. Like Ausubel (1968), Shapiro (2004) and Dochy, Segers, and Buehl (1999stressed the importance of prior knowledge in learning and they stated that students shape their own meaning according to their prior knowledge. Errors are characteristics of initial phases of learning because students' existence knowledge is insufficient and supports only partial understanding. ...
Article
The present study investigates preservice science teachers' attitudes towards chemistry; their misconceptions about chemical kinetics; and relationships between pre-service science teachers' attitudes toward chemistry and misconceptions about chemical kinetics were examined. The sample of this study consisted of 81 freshman pre-service science teachers (female 42, male 39) at a public university in the southwest part of Turkey. The result of the study demonstrated that preservice science teachers' attitudes towards chemistry were at medium level and preservice science teachers had some misconceptions about chemical kinetics. There is not a statistically significant relationship between pre-service science teachers' attitudes towards chemistry and their misconceptions about chemical kinetics. Also, the result of this study revealed that there is not a statistically significant difference in understanding of the chemical kinetics concepts between pre-service science teachers having high and low attitudes.
... At the same time, we know from research that learning is a more complex process, which involves cognitive and motivational factors (Alao & Guthrie, 2010; Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Thus, different personal traits of the students can contribute to a higher manifestation of scientific inquiry skills and general achievements in school science (Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999; Maerten-Rivera, Myers, Lee, & Penfield, 2010; Shapiro, 2004; Tobias, 1994). Against this background, teachers do not only have to foster inquiry skills by supporting students directly in the learning process (Arnold et al., 2014; Crawford, 2007), they also have to provide rich learning environments that subserve multiple traits of students, which can affect science learning (Bybee & McCrae, 2009). ...
... The prerequisite that is typically investigated in the context of complex learning is prior knowledge (e.g.,Kester & Kirschner, 2012). This is not surprising given that the acquisition of domain-specific schemas can be considered a main goal in complex learning environments (Kalyuga & Singh, 2015) and prior knowledge is regarded as a strong predictor of learning (e.g.,Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999). The moderating influence of prior knowledge on the effectiveness of various instructional supports has been demonstrated frequently. ...
Article
Executive functions are crucial for complex learning in addition to prior knowledge. In this article, we argue that executive functions can moderate the effectiveness of instructional approaches that vary with respect to the demand on these functions. In addition, we suggest that engagement in complex activity contexts rather than specific cognitive training paradigms may enhance executive functions and yield practically relevant transfer effects to other cognitive abilities. We develop several hypotheses and principles for how to improve executive functions in these contexts. For future research, we suggest to systematically investigate the moderating role of executive functions in learning environments with varying degrees of instructional support and varying context characteristics. We identify potential factors influencing the improvement of executive functions to be considered in a systematic research program.
... Moreover the construct of topic knowledge can be divided in two subcomponents to describe the growth of understanding: knowledge of facts and knowledge of meanings.. A questionnaire and a quiz were used to assess prior knowledge; this questionnaire consisted of multiple choice questions (8 items), and two open-ended questions; this method was used because the literature on prior knowledge and reading comprehension demonstrated how results can be affected by the assessment method implemented (Dochy, 1992;Dochy et al., 1999). The test was a supplement of the questionnaire, so students did the questionnaire and answered the test at the same time. ...
Article
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This study investigates the relationship between prior knowledge and reading comprehension in second language among postgraduate students in UPM. Participants in the study were 20 students who have the same level in English as a second language from several faculties. On the basis of a prior-knowledge questionnaire and test, students were selected; they were asked to sit a two-passage reading comprehension exam. According to the questionnaire and the short prior quiz, students had high prior knowledge in one of the two passages, and low prior knowledge in the other. The result showed significantly high relationship between the high prior knowledge and reading comprehension. However, the results showed significantly low relationship between low prior knowledge and reading comprehension. Yet the performance of students in a reading comprehension with high prior knowledge was significantly better than reading comprehension with low prior knowledge.
... It is likely that this prior participation resulted in retention of prior knowledge and/ or increased confidence in the subject matter, leading to some of the ranking responses. Prior knowledge of conservation matters has been documented as playing a role in youth learning and performance in previous studies ( Dochy et al. 1999;Kruse and Card 2010). Additionally, it was found that the questions requiring survey participants to rank knowledge prior to and following Sea Turtle Camp and the urgency of sea turtle conservation received answers that were distributed in such a way that around half of the respondents answered on the positive end of the ranking system and the other half negatively (Tables 3-5), which leads the authors to question the reliability of these responses considering the aforementioned results on the pre-and posttests and the feedback received on the effects that were seen in behavior of participants following participation. ...
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The general aim of this presentation is to share our experience regarding an innovative teaching resource as Higher Education teachers in a Teacher Training Degree. Specifically, we focus on the use of educational dialogical podcasts as a way to promote reflection and autonomy in freshmen students. We approach qualitative data collected at the end of a course on Developmental Psychology that was taught by two teachers to 149 students distributed in three groups throughout 26 sessions (39 hours) in the first semester of the academic year 2014/2015. Qualitative data consisted on student´s narratives reflecting on an specific podcast and on their use of educational dialogical podcasts throughout the semester. Students’ narratives were analyzed through a thematic analysis with the aid of Nvivo software
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Teaching for Historical Literacy combines the elements of historical literacy into a coherent instructional framework for teachers. It identifies the role of historical literacy, analyzes its importance in the evolving educational landscape, and details the action steps necessary for teachers to implement its principles throughout a unit. These steps are drawn from the reflections of real teachers, grounded in educational research, and consistent with the Common Core State Standards. The instructional arc formed by authors Matthew T. Downey and Kelly A. Long takes teachers from start to finish, from managing the prior learning of students to developing their metacognition and creating synthesis at the end of a unit of study. It includes introducing topics by creating a conceptual overview, helping students collect and analyze evidence, and engaging students in multiple kinds of learning, including factual, procedural, conceptual, and metacognitive. This book is a must-have resource for teachers and students of teaching interested in improving their instructional skills, building historical literacy, and being at the forefront of the evolving field of history education.
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Previous research has demonstrated the efficacy of two explanation-based approaches for increasing learning in educational games. The first involves asking students to explain their answers (self-explanation) and the second involves providing correct explanations (explanatory feedback). This study (1) compared self-explanation and explanatory feedback features embedded into a game designed to teach Newtonian dynamics and (2) investigated relationships between learning and individual differences. The results demonstrated significant learning gains for all conditions. There were no overall differences between conditions, but learning outcomes were better for the self-explanation condition after controlling for the highest level completed by each student. Analyses of individual differences indicated that certain threshold inhibitory control abilities may be necessary to benefit from the self-explanation in games.
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Quantitative research studies examining the effects of literacy instruction set in social studies classrooms (grades 6-12) on students׳ academic content learning and reading comprehension are synthesized using meta-analytic techniques. An extensive search of the scholarly literature between 1983 and 2013 yielded a total of twelve intervention studies that provided literacy instruction to secondary students within social studies classes and quantitatively measured content learning outcomes, reading comprehension, or both. Findings revealed that content learning outcomes were consistently improved with instruction that included text-processing activities such as summarizing and generating questions. While many social studies teachers do not provide explicit reading supports, in part because they perceive that the time needed to do so is prohibitive, the findings of this synthesis suggest that sound reading practices hold promise as a means through which teachers can help students better access social studies content, thus improving student learning outcomes. More rigorous quantitative research is needed to further understand the causal effects of literacy practices in social studies settings.
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Excerpt: Most academic disciplines throughout the world have been in the higher education curriculum for hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of years. Teaching itself has certainly been around as long as the earliest of any given discipline. After all, without teaching no profession is possible. How else would a core set of knowledge be taught to those interested in the theoretical constructs, conceptual frameworks, and the successes/failures of those who have worked previously in the discipline? Unfortunately, the concept of consistently teaching from a base of scholarly activity is relatively new. What happens, then, when the very concept of how to teach disciplinary knowledge at the university level is questioned for the lack of having a scholarly basis? There is certainly a professional discipline of “Education,” but much of that literature is not consulted by those teaching at the university level, perhaps based on an assumption that the bulk of the scholarly work is predominantly on instruction at the primary grades. The issue I raise here is how are we to convince faculty members, both new and experienced, that our work as higher education educators within the framework of teaching should be based solidly on a professional body of scholarly work. It would seem to me imperative that all faculty members should anchor every instructional and curricular aspects of their work on some form of scholarship.
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This chapter describes naturalistic research carried out to study the process of the One day, one problem PBL approach of Republic Polytechnic, in order to gain insight into what and how students learn in all the phases of the PBL cycle, as well as to identify relationships between the learning activities of students (what they know, say, and do) with their learning outcomes. First, we have identified two distinct phases in the One day, one problem PBL process - an initial concept articulation phase, consisting of the problem analysis and initial SDL phase and a later concept repetition phase, consisting mainly of the second SDL period, where concepts are repeated and elaborated upon. The significance of verbalization in the PBL process is also clearly demonstrated from the finding that while individual study is important, it influences students' learning achievements indirectly, through the verbalization of ideas. Lastly, we have also found that collaborative learning or self-directed study alone is insufficient to describe PBL or predict students' learning outcomes. Instead, the learning in the One day, one problem PBL is cumulative, with every phase of the PBL cycle strongly influencing that of the next phase and finally that of students' learning achievement. Thus the PBL cycle of initial problem analysis, followed by self-directed learning, and a subsequent reporting phase as described by various authors and used in our One day, one problem process is one which is backed by research findings. © Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2012. All rights are reserved.
Conference Paper
Task is defined as a set of actions in order to achieve a specific goal. The process of finishing all given tasks can be done either polychronically or monochronically. In polychronic nature, tasks are completed simultaneously while in monochromic nature; tasks are completed one at a time through a prioritization process. The monochronic nature of carry out task applies very well to all the current robotic appliances such as robotic vacuum cleaners. However, this can present a potential problem especially when the appliance needs to choose between two tasks that have same level of priority. If the appliance choose the wrong task to carry out first, it will cause a huge impact on its efficiency in carry out all given tasks. In this paper, we propose a task prioritization concept using mandatory task as a method of classification. A mandatory task is known as an important and urgent task that needs to be completed first before finishing other tasks. We discuss software agent technology in task prioritization process because software agent has the capabilities to simulate human behavioural similar to the artificial intelligence functionality of a robotic appliance.
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Supply chain and operations management requires frequent decision making, and decisions are importantly influenced by the personality traits and knowledge of the decision maker. Thus, we analyse the effect of those factors on the confidence and quality of decisions taken in the context of supply chain management. The data was gathered via an online supply chain simulation game where subjects needed to make several decisions. Personality traits of the participants were tested using the Big Five model. The structural model was estimated using the partial least squares structural equation modelling approach. We found that decision-makers with lower levels of extraversion and agreeableness and higher levels of conscientiousness and openness make better decisions. On the other hand, neuroticism and agreeableness negatively affect confidence in decisions. Tested knowledge positively influences both decision-makers’ confidence in and the quality of their decisions while self-reported knowledge has no significant effect. Therefore, the companies should carefully consider how an individual’s personality matches the type of job at hand and rely on tested instead of self-reported knowledge.
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The number of students completing mathematics education at higher levels are in decreasing numbers, despite good grades at primary level. This research study sought to explore the mathematics learning trajectory by collecting Mathematics grades obtained by 1652 students at the end of primary and secondary schooling. Data analysis showed a moderate association between these grades. But those who performed well at the primary level did not necessarily study the subject at the same learning performance at higher levels. This research study unveiled that girls, in general, tend to maintain their learning performance better than boys at higher levels. It also revealed that some students experienced a positive turning point in their learning, and the overarching conclusions from students' interviews included perceived usefulness of Mathematics education, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to boost the learning process and the need to overcome past hurdles. Finally, a model was developed to monitor learning progress achievement.
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Mathematical argumentation skills (MAS) are considered an important outcome of mathematics learning, particularly in secondary and tertiary education. As MAS are complex, an effective way of supporting their acquisition may require combining different scaffolds. However, how to combine different scaffolds is a delicate issue, as providing learners with more than one scaffold may be overwhelming, especially when these scaffolds are presented at the same time in the learning process and when learners’ individual learning prerequisites are suboptimal. The present study therefore investigated the effects of the presentation sequence of introducing two scaffolds (collaboration script first vs. heuristic worked examples first) and the fading of the primarily presented scaffold (fading vs. no fading) on the acquisition of dialogic and dialectic MAS of participants of a preparatory mathematics course at university. In addition, we explored how prior knowledge and working memory capacity moderated the effects. Overall, 108 university freshmen worked in dyads on mathematical proof tasks in four treatment sessions. Results showed no effects of the presentation sequence of the collaboration script and heuristic worked examples on dialogic and dialectic MAS. Yet, fading of the initially introduced scaffold had a positive main effect on dialogic MAS. Concerning dialectic MAS, fading the collaboration script when it was presented first was most effective for learners with low working memory capacity. The collaboration script might be appropriate to initially support dialectic MAS, but might be overwhelming for learners with lower working memory capacity when combined with heuristic worked examples later on.
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The aim of the paper is to introduce the basic theoretical starting points of instruction based on constructivism, and to show that constructivism as one of the main streams of the current modern didactics is applicable not only in mathematics and science, where it is mainly applied, but also in language teaching with a special emphasis on first language teaching. Firstly, constructivism is classified from the general point of view and the theory of knowledge construction is described. Secondly, principles of constructivist teaching are specified, and thirdly, special attention is given to the questions of the pupil preconception (in first language teaching we call it pupil ́s natural language competence) and the importance of its utilization in education. The paper attempts to clarify the basis of didactic implications of constructivism in language teaching, and shows that constructivist didactics has its justification here.
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Evaluating teachers’ professional development initiatives (PDI) is one of the main challenges for the teacher professionalisation field. Although different studies have focused on the effectiveness of PDI, the obtained effects and evaluative methods have been found to be widely divergent. By means of a narrative review, this study provides an extended framework to guide the evaluation of (the effectiveness of) PDI. Furthermore, and in accordance with this framework, an overview of measurement instruments that are currently in use is provided. The study concludes with implications for educational research and developers of PDI.
Chapter
Todd (1999) describes the late 20th Century as the “Age of Information”, where an emphasis is placed on the external organization, transformation and communication of information. He argues that the 21st Century will be the “Age of the Mind”, where the key success factors of organizations will be the extent to which they are able to use, share and create knowledge. It is well acknowledged that in order to comply with the demands of the Age of the Mind, it is imperative for educators at all levels to develop learners with cognitive and meta-cognitive, as well as social, competencies. As Birenbaum and Dochy (1996) indicate, cognitive competencies include problem solving, critical thinking, formulating questions, searching for relevant information, making informal judgments and ensuring the efficient use of information. Since schools and universities are preparing students for society, both the new role of information and the new required competences should be taken into account when developing courses. Within a variety of disciplines, innovations in education are implemented. For informatics, new ways of teaching are described by Davey and Tatnall (1994), Jurema et al. (1995) and Penjam (1997) and are discussed at gatherings organized by the Information Systems Education Conference (ISECON).
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En los últimos años ha habido un interés creciente por el uso de podcasts en Educación Superior. Frente a la tendencia a utilizarlos como medio para distribuir grabaciones de clases presenciales, como docentes universitarios consideramos que los podcasts pueden utilizarse para favorecer la construcción activa de conocimiento y el desarrollo de los estudiantes. De esta creencia surgen nuestros podcasts dialógicos: conversaciones informales que mantenemos sobre la evolución de nuestros estudiantes, nuestra práctica docente y cuestiones teóricas con las que hacemos conexiones y que abordamos desde una perspectiva evolutiva. Así, durante el curso 2014/2015 grabamos 10 podcasts dialógicos, que compartimos con nuestros estudiantes de la asignatura de Psicología del Desarrollo del Grado de Magisterio (n=149). Al finalizar la misma, escribieron acerca del sentido que habían tenido los podcasts dialógicos para ellos. Un análisis temático de los textos de 30 estudiantes nos condujo a cuatro temas, que discutimos aquí: 1) Naturaleza dialógica de los podcasts como facilitadora de relaciones entre profesores y estudiantes; 2) Podcasts dialógicos como impulsores de formas más complejas de dar sentido; 3) Podcasts dialógicos como ejemplo de gestión de un recurso de aprendizaje opcional; 4) Papel de los podcasts dialógicos en la formación de una “perspectiva desarrollativa”.
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With national focus on reading and math achievement, science and social studies have received less instructional time. Yet, accumulating evidence suggests that content knowledge is an important predictor of proficient reading. Starting with a design study, we developed content-area literacy instruction (CALI) as an individualized (or personalized) instructional program for kindergarteners through 4th graders to build science and social studies knowledge. We developed CALI to be implemented in general education classrooms, over multiple iterations (n = 230 students), using principles of design-based implementation research. The aims were to develop CALI as a usable and feasible instructional program that would, potentially, improve science and social studies knowledge, and could be implemented during the literacy block without negatively affecting students' reading gains (i.e., no opportunity cost). We then evaluated the efficacy of CALI in a randomized controlled field trial with 418 students in kindergarten through 4th grade. Results reveal that CALI demonstrates promise as a usable and feasible instructional individualized general education program, and is efficacious in improving social studies (d = 2.2) and science (d = 2.1) knowledge, with some evidence of improving oral and reading comprehension skills (d = .125). (PsycINFO Database Record
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Educational psychologists have tended since the late 19th century to neglect domain specific knowledge. Yet domain specific knowledge can provide a clear explanation of a very large range of human cognitive performance. It also can afford a common point of reference between psychologists and educationalists. In this article, we examine the long history of the neglect, indeed blindness, of our discipline, cognition and instruction, to domain specific knowledge. We show the critical importance of this notion, first in understanding and developing theories of academic learning, and secondly, in providing a basis for instructional design. In conclusion, we attempt to explain why domain specific knowledge has been neglected by the field of cognition and instruction, since the late 19th century.
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Purpose – To provide classroom teachers with an overview of a range of assessments that can be administered either individually or to a group. Design/methodology/approach – The chapter is organized from early literacy skill assessments (both individual and group based) to comprehension and standardized tests. Findings – Provides detailed information on skills required for each element of reading, design of assessment, intended purpose, and process of administration. Research limitations/implications – This is not an exhaustive list, the authors strove to highlight the most reliable and practical assessments from a large body of possible choices. Practical implications – This is a valuable source for classroom teachers who are provided with a wide-range of assessment choices covering the breadth of reading skills with extensive details on each. Originality/value of paper – Teachers need a range of assessments to choose from to make decisions at the individual, class and school level.
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Bu calismanin amaci, Turkce ders kitaplarindaki hazirlik calismalarinin uygulanma durumunu ve hazirlik calismalarinin uygulanmasinda yasanan sorunlarin nedenlerini ortaya koymaktir. Arastirma nicel bir yaklasimla desenlenmis ve tarama modelinde yurutulmustur. Arastirmanin orneklemini Trabzon ilinde gorev yapan ve 6. siniflarda derse giren 53 Turkce ogretmeni olusturmaktadir. Verilerin toplanmasinda “Kisisel Bilgi Formu” ve “Turkce Ogretmenlerinin 6. Sinif Duzeyindeki Hazirlik Calismalarini Uygulama Durumu Anketi” kullanilmistir. Elde edilen verilerin analizi icin betimsel istatistik yontemleri (frekans, yuzde, ortalama), bagimsiz orneklem t-testi ve tek yonlu ANOVA kullanilmistir. Arastirma sonunda, Turkce ogretmenlerinin ogretmen kilavuz kitabinda yer alan hazirlik calismalarinin %37’sini tam olarak uyguladiklarini belirttikleri gorulmustur. Hazirlik calismalarini uygulamama ya da kismen uygulama nedenleri arasinda oncelikli olarak calismanin fazla zaman alici olmasi gosterilmistir. Hazirlik calismalarini uygulama durumunun cinsiyet, yas, mesleki kidem ve okulun bulundugu yerlesim birimi degiskenine gore anlamli duzeyde degisiklik gostermedigi tespit edilmistir.
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This study was an effort to establish the construct validity of measures designed to assess topical knowledge. Assuming that the best way to find out how much people know about a topic is to interview them, we first interviewed 44 elementary and 31 junior high school students about their knowledge of four topics. The interview results were used to validate the results from three paper-and-pencil recognition tests of topical knowledge administered 2 weeks later. Unexpectedly, students' knowledge as assessed on the interviews was not strongly correlated with their performance on any of the recognition tests of topical knowledge. A conditional probability analysis suggested differences in the information provided by the interview and the paper-and-pencil tests; the differences appeared related to the differences between recall and recognition tasks. If students volunteered information in the interviews, the probability was high that they would recognize similar information on a paper-and-pencil test. Conversely, the probability was low that any specific item of information recognized on the test would be mentioned in the interview. In a few case studies analyzed in depth, we found that the interview approach captured individual differences more dramatically than did the recognition tests. We conclude that, if one's goal is to obtain a fairly complete picture of a person's topical knowledge, then both interview and recognition measures seem appropriate. If the goal is to assess only a specific body of information, then a recognition measure might suffice. And if the goal is to open a broader window on a student's knowledge, then an interview seems preferable. /// [French] Le but de cette étude était d'évaluer la validité de construit de techniques utilisées pour évaluer les connaissances antérieures reliées au thème d'un texte. Le postulat de départ étant que la meilleure façon d'évaluer les connaissances antérieures est l'entrevue, nous avons interrogé 44 enfants de l'élémentaire et 31 adolescents du premier cycle du secondaire des Etats-Unis sur ce qu'ils savaient en relation avec quatre domaines de connaissances. Les entrevues avaient pour but de valider les réponses à des questionnaires écrits administrés deux semaines plus tard. De façon surprenante, les résultats aux entrevues étaient peu correlés avec les résultats aux questionnaires écrits. Une analyse de probabilité conditionnelle suggéra que les deux modes d'évaluation ont mesuré des connaissances différentes; les différences observées étaient de même nature que les différences que l'on observe entre des rappels et des mesures de reconnaissance. La probabilité était forte que des informations données spontanément en entrevue soient reconnues par les sujets dans les questionnaires écrits. A l'inverse la probabilité était faible que d'autres connaissances reconnues dans les questionnaires écrits soient mentionnées dans les entrevues. Des analyses plus approfondies de certaines entrevues révélèrent, en outre, que les entrevues permettent mieux de mesurer les différences individuelles que les questionnaires écrits. En conclusion, nous pensons que si le but du chercheur est d'avoir une vision relativement complète des connaissances que les sujets possèdent sur un thème donné, les deux types de mesures doivent être utilisées; par contre, si le but du chercheur est d'évaluer des connaissances spécifiques, un questionnaire écrit peut être suffisant, alors que, si le but est de mesurer l'étendue des connaissances des sujets, la technique d'entrevue est plus appropriée. /// [Spanish] Debido a que las pruebas de logro en lectura son usadas frecuentemente para evaluar a un estudiante y su colocación de grado, es importante entender como es que los niños con limitada eficiencia en inglés se desempeñan en tales pruebas, relativas a su desarrollo de alfabetización. En este estudio, se emplearon tanto metodologías cuantitativas como cualitativas para identificar los factores que influyeron en el desempeño en la prueba de lectura en inglés de 51 niños hispánicos comparándolos con el de 53 niños anglos matriculados en las mismas clases de quinto y sexto grados. El desempeño de los niños en la prueba de lectura fue comparado en términos del efecto de limitaciones de tiempo, el conocimiento previo de los niños y el vocabulario relevante de los pasajes de la prueba, y el tipo de preguntas (qué tan explícita fue la información solicitada). Además, 18 niños participaron en entrevistas abiertas retrospectivas enfocadas en cómo determinaban sus respuestas a las pruebas de lectura y vocabulario. Los hallazgos combinados sugieren que los resultados de los niños hispánicos en la prueba de lectura subestiman seriamente su potencial de comprensión de lectura. Su desempeño en la prueba fue afectado adversamente por su limitado conocimiento previo de ciertos temas de la prueba, su pobre desempeño en las preguntas de guión implícitas (que requería el uso de conocimiento del tema), su falta de familiaridad con los conceptos de vocabulario evaluados por las preguntas de la prueba, y su tendencia a interpretar las preguntas literalmente. Cuando se controlaron estadísticamente las diferencias en conocimiento previo, el desempeño no varió entre los dos grupos. Dar a los niños más tiempo para completar la prueba mejoró igualmente el desempeño de ambos grupos. Las respuestas a la entrevista de los niños hispánicos tendía a elicitar más información acerca de su comprensión que su desempeño en la prueba. /// [German] Diese studie unternahm den Versuch, die Konstruktvalidität von Maßstäben zur Festsetzung des thema-bezogenen Wissens aufzustellen. Wir gingen davon aus, daß man von Menschen am besten erfahren kann, wieviel sie über ein Thema wissen, wenn man sie danach fragt. Wir befragten 44 Schüler der Grundstufe und 31 Schüler der Junior High School (7.-9. Klasse) über ihr Wissen in bezug auf vier Themen. Die Ergebnisse der Interviews wurden verwendet, um die Ergebnisse eines schriftlichen thema-bezogenen Tests, der zwei Wochen später durchgeführt wurde, zu bestätigen. Unerwarteterweise stand das Wissen der Schüler, das in den Befragungen festgestellt wurde, nicht in engem Zusammenhang mit deren Leistungen auf irgendeinem der thema-bezogenen Wissensprüfungen. Eine konditionelle Wahrscheinlichkeitsanalyse deutete an, daß Unterschiede in der von den Interviewern und den schriftlichen Tests gegebenen Informationen vorlag: diese Unterschiede waren vergleichbar mit den Unterschieden zwischen Nacherzählungs- und Erkennungsaufgaben. Wenn Schüler in den Interviews Informationen weitergaben, war die Wahrscheinlichkeit sehr hoch, daß sie ähnliche Informationen in einem schriftlichen Test wiedererkennen würden. Umgekehrt war die Wahrscheinlichkeit gering, daß ein spezieller Informationsgegenstand des schriftlichen Tests während des Interviews verwendet würde. Wir sahen uns daraufhin einige Fallstudien sehr genau an und stellten fest, daß das Interviewverfahren individuelle Unterschiede eindeutiger festhalten konnte als die schriftlichen Tests. Daraus ließ sich schließen, daß sowohl Interview als auch schriftlicher Test angemessen zu sein scheinen, wenn das Ziel darin besteht, ein ziemlich vollständiges Bild über das thema-bezogene Wissen eines Menschen zu erhalten. Besteht die Aufgabe jedoch nur darin, einen bestimmten Informationsbereich zu erfassen, dann dürfte der schriftliche Test ausreichen. Wenn es das Ziel der Aufgabe sein sollte, ein breiteres Wissensspektrum des Schülers zu erfassen, dann scheint ein Interview angebrachter zu sein.
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This study examined the effect of prior knowledge activation on average readers' comprehension of compatible and incompatible text. Fifty-two sixth-grade students either activated or did not activate what they believed to be relevant background knowledge prior to reading each of two science passages taken from naturally-occurring text. Based on the results of pre-experimental knowledge domain and pilot data measures, the passage on rattlesnakes was judged compatible, while the one on sunlight was considered incompatible due to the counter-intuitive information it contained. Measures of written free recall and multiple-choice tests were the dependent variables. In addition, a post-session questionnaire was administered. Findings supported the notion that prior knowledge may interfere with, rather than facilitate, reading comprehension under certain conditions. Subjects who activated relevant background knowledge prior to reading text that contained ideas which were incompatible with their existing knowledge structures allowed their previous knowledge and experiences to override the text information. This effect was observed for both general and specifically targeted comprehension indices. There was no difference in performance between activators and non-activators on compatible text. Excerpts from students' post-session questionnaire responses were reported, and instructional implications were tentatively drawn regarding the role of text in changing inaccurate background knowledge. /// [French] Cette étude a examiné l'effet de l'activation de connaissances préalables sur la compréhension chez des lecteurs moyens de texte compatible et incompatible. Cinquante deux élèves de sixième ont soit activé soit non activé ce qu'ils ont considéré être des connaissances de fond pertinentes avant la lecture de chacun des deux passages de sciences pris à partir de texte se présentant naturellement. Basé sur les résultats du domaine de connaissances pré-expérimentales et les mesures de données pilotes, on a jugé le passage sur les serpents à sonnettes compatibles, tandis qu'on a considéré celui sur la lumiére solaire incompatible compte-tenu des informations contre-intuitives qu'il contenait. Les mesures de souvenir libre écrit et de tests à choix multiples étaient les varibles dépendantes. De plus, on a donné un questionnaire post-session. Les découvertes soutiennent la notion que les connaissances préalables peuvent interférer, plutôt que faciliter, avec la compréhension de la lecture dans certaines conditions. Les sujets qui ont activé des connaissances de fond pertinentes avant la lecture de texte qui contenait des idées qui étaient incompatibles avec leur structures de connaissances existentes ont permis aux connaissances préalables et aux expériences d'outrepasser les informations données par le text. Cet effet a été observé pour les indices de compréhension générale ou spécifiquement visées. Il n'y avait aucune différence concernant l'accomplissement entre les activateurs et les non-activateurs sur texte compatible. On a rapporté des extraits des réponses du questionnaire post-session donné aux élèves, et on a tiré tentativement des implications d'instruction concernant le rôle du texte dans le changement de connaissances de fond imprécises. /// [Spanish] Este estudio examinó los efectos de la activación de los conocimientos previos de lectores promedios en la comprensión de textos compatibles y textos incompatibles. Cincuenta y dos estudiantes del sexto grado activaron o no activaron lo que ellos consideraron como conocimientos previos pertinentes antes de leer cada uno de dos pasajes de ciencia tomados de un texto común. Basados en los resultados de medidas pre-experimentales para conocimientos sobre los temas y datos de un estudio preliminar, el pasaje sobre serpientes de cascabel se clasificó como compatible, mientras que el pasaje sobre luz solar se clasificó como incompatible debido a que la información contenida era contraria a la intuición natural. Las variables dependientes fueron pruebas de recuento escrito y pruebas de selección multiple. En adición, al final de las sesiones se administró un cuestionario. Los resultados dan apoyo a la idea de que bajo ciertas condiciones el conocimiento previo puede interferir más que facilitar la comprensión de lectura. Los sujetos que activaron conocimientos previos pertinentes antes de leer el texto que contenía ideas incompatibles con sus estructuras de conocimientos permitieron que sus conocimientos previos predominaron sobre la información del texto. El efecto se observó tanto para el índice específico como para el índice general de comprensión. No hubo diferencias entre la ejecución de los activadores y los no activadores en el texto compatible. Se informaron segmentos de las respuestas de los estudiantes al cuestionario y se derivaron tentativamente implicaciones educativas en cuanto al papel que juega el texto en alterar los conocimientos previos no adecuados.
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This study was designed to examine children's ability to learn new information from textual materials. It investigated the extent to which equally intelligent average and poor readers could recognize and recall information from expository texts. Two types of explicit and four types of inferential information were tested through recognition items. Subjects recognized more explicit than inferential information, although some inference types were more difficult than others to recognize. In addition, the study examined the extent to which acquisition of new information was a function of prior knowledge. The probability of a correct response was computed for three different prior knowledge conditions: 1) correct, 2) wrong, or 3) unknown. This permitted investigation of the effect of prior knowledge on subjects' acquisition of new information, as well as subjects' ability to correct old information. Prior knowledge was a powerful factor in reading comprehension for both average and poor readers. Both groups were better at acquiring totally new information than at correcting old information that was inaccurate. Even when prior knowledge was contradicted by the text, subjects used it, rather than textual information, for item recognition. Only when they did not, or believed they did not, possess the necessary prior knowledge did they resort to text—with a consequent improvement in recognition.
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Conceptual change models of student learning are useful for explicating the role of prior knowledge in students’ learning and are very popular in the research on learning in the subject areas. This article presents an analysis of a conceptual change model for describing student learning by applying research on student motivation to the process of conceptual change. Four general motivational constructs (goals, values, self-efficacy, and control beliefs) are suggested as potential mediators of the process of conceptual change. In addition, there is a discussion of the role of classroom contextual factors as moderators of the relations between student motivation and conceptual change. The article highlights the theoretical difficulties of a cold, or overly rational, model of conceptual change that focuses only on student cognition without considering the ways in which students’ motivational beliefs about themselves as learners and the roles of individuals in a classroom learning community can facilitate or hinder conceptual change.
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Analyzed the effects of metacognitive and traditional reading instructions on comprehension and retention performance of 48 6th graders using a pre–posttest design. Prior knowledge about the topic under study, as well as the knowledge, monitoring, and regulation components of metacognition were assessed independently. Results show that both instructional programs were effective with respect to increasing comprehension performance. Benefits from the traditional approach, however, were largely restricted to experts. In contrast, metacognitive instructions led to considerable improvement in comprehension for novices. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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We investigated how prior knowledge influences the amount of short-term nonverbal and verbal memory and long-term retention in students of high and low ability in reading comprehension. Sixty-four junior high students were divided into four equal-sized groups on the basis of preassessed reading ability (high and low) and preassessed amount of existing prior knowledge about baseball (high and low). Each subject silently read an account of a half inning of a baseball game. After reading, each subject recalled the account nonverbally by moving figures and verbally by retelling the story. After an interpolated task, they summarized the game and sorted passage sentences for idea importance. There was a significant main effect for prior knowledge on all measures. No interactions between prior knowledge and ability were found. These results delineate the powerful effect of prior knowledge. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Evaluated 5 causal models of educational productivity as they apply to learning science among 882 5th–8th graders. Each model explores the relationship between achievement, as assessed by the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, and a combination of 8 constructs: home environment, peer group, media, ability, social environment, time on task, motivation, and instructional strategies. Linear structural-relations analysis was employed to examine each of the models. The complex theoretical model had significant (positive) coefficients for all the constructs except quality of instruction; goodness-of-fit indices showed it was the best fitting model with the lowest average residual size. (13 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Evidence from the research literature suggests that a variety of cognitive factors is responsible for chemistry achievement. This investigation examined the role of four cognitive factors, namely, formal reasoning ability, prior knowledge, field dependence/ independence, and memory capacity on achievement in chemistry as measured by tests of laboratory application, chemical calculations and content knowledge. The sample comprised grade 11 students from eleven high schools who were following the same chemistry syllabus. The results indicated that prior knowledge and formal reasoning ability were each statistically significantly related to variation in chemistry achievement. Field dependence/independence and memory capacity played no significant role in chemistry achievement.
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The theoretical framework presented in this article explains expert performance as the end result of individuals' prolonged efforts to improve performance while negotiating motivational and external constraints. In most domains of expertise, individuals begin in their childhood a regimen of effortful activities (deliberate practice) designed to optimize improvement. Individual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice. Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years. Analysis of expert performance provides unique evidence on the potential and limits of extreme environmental adaptation and learning.
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Szafran's (1986) study on pretests in introductory sociology is replicated and extended. His findings for posttest scores basically are confirmed, but different variables are found to affect pretest scores and results for students' evaluation are not replicated. New variables are examined and two learning models, accumulated advantage and interest motivation, are used to extend Szafran's work. The accumulated advantage model predicts increased inequality of knowledge among students. It is supported for prior academic skills but not for family background. Grade point average, foreign language education, and prior knowledge affect knowledge gains. Socioeconomic background, prior social science course work, age, and gender do not affect prior knowledge or learning. The interest motivation model predicts that interest in subject matter compensates for weak academic preparation and improves learning. It receives less support; an interest in sociology has little effect on the amount that students learn.
Chapter
This chapter describes the influence of domain knowledge on inferences that low-aptitude individuals make in the course of comprehending a complex message by presenting two studies. The first experiment determines whether low-aptitude individuals can identify main ideas from passages that have an approximate level of difficulty of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The second experiment investigates the inferences that are present in the verbal protocols of high- and low-aptitude subjects who are pretending to be radio broadcasters. Inferences are defined as pieces of information not given explicitly in the input stream. The low-aptitude individuals can draw inferences much like everyone else when the domain is a familiar one. The theories of inference need to be formally distinguished between two types of inference processes: (1) an automatic type that arises from domain knowledge and (2) a computational or strategic type that operates in a more controlled or deliberate fashion during comprehension.
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In this study, we asked adults in the United States (n = 54) and Europe (n = 66), primarily the Netherlands, to share their views on the concepts of knowledge and beliefs. Among the 120 participants, there were three levels of expertise represented. Specifically, there were (a) adults seeking postsecondary degrees, (b) those completing graduate degrees or holding terminal degrees, and (c) those considered experts in the area of either knowledge or beliefs, While there were some similarities in the conceptions of knowing and believing within both cultural groups, differences related to the definition of and relationship between knowledge and beliefs were identified. For example, it was found that the European respondents tended to be more diverse in their viewpoints than the Americans, particularly those enrolled in under-graduate programs. However, the experts, particularly those from the United States, were more diverse and more cautious in their views than those in the other two educational groups. The implications of such findings for educational practice and future research are then discussed.
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This study investigates the listening comprehension of 388 high-intermediate listening proficiency (HILP) and low-intermediate listening proficiency (LILP) Chinese students of English as a foreign language. These students listened to a lecture, the discourse of which was (a) familiar-unmodified, (b) familiar-modified, (c) unfamiliar-unmodified, or (d) unfamiliar-modified. The modified discourse contained information redundancies and elaborations. After the lecture, the EFL subjects took a multiple-choice exam testing recognition of information presented in the lecture and general knowledge of the familiar (“Confucius and Confucianism”) and unfamiliar (“The Amish People”) topics. A significant interaction between speech modification (redundant vs. nonredundant speech) and listening proficiency (HILP vs. LILP) indicated that the HILP students benefited from speech modification, which entailed elaboration/redundancy of information, but the LILP students did not. A significant interaction between prior knowledge (familiar vs. unfamiliar topic) and test type (passage-independent vs. passage-dependent items) was also found. For both the HILP and LILP subjects, prior knowledge had a significant impact on subjects' memory for information contained in the passage-independent test items on the postlecture comprehension test. Those EFL subjects who listened to the familiar-topic lecture on Confucius had higher passage-independent than passage-dependent scores. There was no difference in the performance on the passage-independent and passage-dependent items of those who listened to the lecture on an unfamiliar topic (the Amish). However, the passage-independent performance of subjects who listened to the familiar topic lecture was superior to that of those who listened to the lecture on the unfamiliar topic. Subjects' performance on passage-dependent items did not differ significantly whether the familiar or unfamiliar topic was presented. Implications of the findings for assessing and teaching EFL listening comprehension are suggested.
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In this article, the authors describe the results of three experiments designed to examine the effect training has on students' domain-specific and strategic knowledge. Three groups of sixth graders participated in Experiment I. Subjects were low in competence in either human biological knowledge, or analogical reasoning, or both. In Experiment II, high schoolers of varied levels of competence in human biology/human immunology were studied. Subjects in Experiment III were college undergraduates, and the knowledge domain of interest was human immunology. As in Experiment I, the strategy trained in Experiments II and III was analogical reasoning. Science instruction in human biology or human immunology was given to certain groups, while strategy instruction in analogical reasoning was offered to other groups. Training was delivered via a direct instruction model. Certain treatment subjects in all experiments received both science and analogy instruction. Results indicate that, although both domain and strategy knowledge can be effectively trained at certain ages or with students of differing competence levels, domain-specific knowledge appears easier to transmit than general strategy knowledge. Further, gender seems to play an important role in the acquisition or utilization of such knowledge.
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In the present paper, the conceptual and procedural knowledge related to textbook search was examined. It was assumed that certain aspects of conceptual knowledge would help students search texts more quickly and efficiently. Two experiments were conducted to explore this proposal. In Experiment 1, college students were interviewed to determine the extent of their conceptual knowledge of human anatomy. Results revealed that the properties of organs provided by students fell into seven categories: an organ's function, location, parts, importance, diseases, appearance, and tissue type. This information was used to design Experiment 2 in which students were asked to find answers to two questions about anatomy using one of two anatomy texts. Half of subjects were given a standard text which arranged organs into traditional systems. The other text arranged organs in a way unlikely to be familiar to students. Results showed that conceptual knowledge facilitated search only when subjects were given the standard text. These results are discussed in terms of their support of the conceptual vs procedural knowledge distinction.
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Sixty-nine graduate students enrolled in a statistics class participated in this study, which investigated the effects of self-monitoring on learning and attitudes toward learning. With protocols designed for this study, subjects in a self-monitoring condition recorded frequency and intensity of their learning activities and rated self-efficacy of solving statistical problems. Subjects in an instructor-monitoring condition evaluated the instruction provided in the class. Subjects in a control condition took the course without any research activity. Scores obtained from class examinations and attitude inventories were the dependent variables. As predicted, the self-monitoring group performed better than did the instructor-monitoring and control groups. No attitude difference was found. Implications for teaching graduate-level statistics are discussed, and future research on self-monitoring is suggested.
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Students systematically and deliberately apply rule-based but erroneous algorithms to solving unfamiliar arithmetic problems. These algorithms result in erroneous solutions termed rational errors. Computationally, students' erroneous algorithms can be represented by perturbations or bugs in otherwise correct arithmetic algorithms (Brown & VanLehn, 1980; Langley & Ohilson, 1984; VanLehn, 1983, 1986, 1990; Young S O'Sheo, 1981). Bugs are useful for describing how rational errors occur but bugs are not sufficient for explaining their origin. A possible explanation for this is that rational errors are the result of incorrect induction from examples. This prediction is termed the “induction hypothesis” (VanLehn, 1986). The purpose of the present study was to: (a) expand on post formulations of the induction hypothesis, and (b) use a new methodology to test the induction hypothesis more carefully than has been done previously. The first step involved teaching participants a new number system called NewAbacus, a written modification of the abacus system. The second step consisted of dividing them into different groups, where each individual received an example of only one port of the NewAbacus addition algorithm. During the third and final step, participants were instructed to solve both familiar and unfamiliar types of addition problems in NewAbacus. The induction hypothesis was supported by using both empirical and computational investigations.
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This study examined the educational effects of repeated curriculum-based measurement and evaluation. Thirty-nine special educators, each having three to four pupils in the study, were assigned randomly to a repeated curriculum-based measurement/evaluation (experimental) treatment or a conventional special education evaluation (contrast) treatment. Over the 18-week implementation, pedagogical decisions were surveyed twice; instructional structure was observed and measured three times; students' knowledge about their learning was assessed during a final interview; reading achievement was tested before and after treatment. Analyses of covariance revealed that experimental teachers effected greater student achievement. Additional analyses indicated that (a) experimental teachers' decisions reflected greater realism about and responsiveness to student progress, (b) their instructional structure demonstrated greater increases, and (c) their students were more aware of goals and progress.
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The independence of text structure, background knowledge, and purpose was investigated with respect to text processing and memory. A selective attention hypothesis relying on extra processing to account for differential memory was also tested. Undergraduates demonstrating knowledge of physics or music principles read three texts about laser annealing, musical notation, and parakeets. Sentences were identified as high, intermediate, or low in each text structure hierarchy. Subjects received one of three sets of instructions targeting specific information to be learned. Texts were presented sentence-by-sentence under subject control on a video terminal. Reading rates and subsequent recognition of sentences were recorded. Conclusions were (a) the rate at which information is read depends upon its position in a text structure and the reader's knowledge of the text topic, (b) recognition of text elements is a function of the location in the text structure, (c) the relationship of reading rate and memory does not appear to be a simple linear function, and (d) individuals can alter their reading rates depending upon their purpose independent of their background knowledge. /// [French] On a étudié l'indépendance de la structure de texte, des connaissances de fond et de l'objectif en rapport avec le développement du texte et la mémoire. On a également testé une hypothèse d'attention sélective reposant sur un développement extra pour rendre compte de la mémoire différentielle. Des étudiants non diplomés avec des connaissances de principes de physique ou de musique ont lu trois textes sur le recuit laser, la notation musicale et les perruches. Les phrases étaient identifiées ainsi: hautes, intermédiaires ou basses dans chaque hiérarchie de structure de texte. Les sujets ont reçu un des trois ensembles d'instructions visant des informations spécifiques à apprendre. Les textes étaient présentés phrase par phrase sous contrôle de sujets sur un terminal vidéo. On a enregistré les taux de lecture et la reconnaissance subséquente de phrases. Les conclusions étaient les suivantes: a) le taux auquel les informations sont lues dépend de leur position dans une structure de texte et des connaissances du lecteur concernant le sujet du texte, b) la reconnaissance des éléments de texte est une fonction de la position dans la structure du texte, c) le rapport entre le taux de lecture et la mémoire n'apparait pas comme étant une fonction linéaire simple, et d) les individus peuvent altérer leurs taux de lecture selon leur objectif indépendamment de leurs connaissances de fond. /// [Spanish] Se investigaron la independencia de la estructura del texto, el conocimiento previo y la intención del objetivo deseado con respecto al tratamiento del texto y el recuerdo y recordar. También se evaluó una hipótesis de concentración selecta basada en el proceso adicional, para explicar las diferencias de recuerdo y recordar. Estudiantes universitarios con conocimientos demostrados de principios fundamentales de física y de música, leyeron 3 textos sobre recocimiento por medio de rayos laser, sobre notación musical y sobre periquitos. Se categorizaron las oraciones en jerarquía alta, intermedia y baja en cada estructura de texto. Los estudiantes recibieron uno de tres juegos de instrucciones enfocando información concreta a aprender. Se introdujeron los textos oración por oración en un terminal video y bajo control del estudiante. Se tomó nota de la velocidad de lectura y del subsecuente reconocimiento de oraciones. Se concluyó que (a) la velocidad a que se lee información depende de la posición de ésta en la estructura del texto y del conocimiento del lector del tópico del texto; (b) el reconocer elementos del texto es una función de la posición en la estructura del texto; (c) la relación de la velocidad de lectura y el recuerdo y recordar no parece ser una función simple lineal; y (d) los alumnos pueden alterar su velocidad de lectura dependiendo de la intención del objetivo deseado, independiente de su conocimiento previo.
Article
Quantitative self-assessment studies that compared self- and teacher marks were subjected to a meta-analysis. Predictions stemming from the results of an earlier critical review of the literature (Boud & Falchikov, 1989) were tested, and salient variables were identified. Factors that seem to be important with regard to the closeness of correspondence between self- and teacher marks were found to include the following: the quality of design of the study (with better designed studies having closer correspondence between student and teacher than poorly designed ones); the level of the course of which the assessment was a part (with students in advanced courses appearing to be more accurate assessors than those in introductory courses); and the broad area of study (with studies within the area of science appearing to produce more accurate self-assessment generally than did those from other areas of study). Results of the analysis are discussed and differences signaled by the results of the three common metrics examined. The distinction between relative and absolute judgment of performance is drawn. It is recommended that researchers give attention to both good design and to adequate reporting of self-assessment studies.
Article
This article examines unifying factors among diverse problems of understanding in several fields. Certain misunderstandings in science, mathematics, and computer programming display strong structural analogies with one another. Even within one of these domains, however, not all misunderstandings are structurally similar. To explain the commonality and variety, four levels of knowledge are posited: (a) content, (b) problem-solving, (c) epistemic, and (d) inquiry. Through analysis of several examples, it is argued that misunderstandings have causes at multiple levels, with highly domain-specific causes predominant at the “content” level and somewhat more general causes at the other levels. The authors note that education characteristically neglects all but the content level, describe successful interventions at all levels, and urge more attention in education to integration across the levels.
Article
This study examined the influence of prior knowledge on the quality of elementary students' responses to 3 process-approach tasks: writing, conferencing, and revising. Fourth-grade students were screened for conferencing ability. Next, 20 high-knowledge and 20 low-knowledge students were identified on a test of baseball knowledge. Finally, students wrote stories about a baseball game, participated in peer conferences, and revised. Propositional text bases of first and second drafts and comments from conferences were analyzed with Voss, Vesonder, and Spilich's baseball grammar. It was predicted that high knowledge would be related to greater proportions of information about the goals of a baseball game and that low knowledge would be related to greater proportions of non-goal-related information. These predictions were confirmed. Prior knowledge was found to be related to goal-related information in high-knowledge writers' first and second drafts and to comments from conferences with high-knowledge respond...
Article
The research reported in this article is, considering the hypotheses, a replication of an earlier investigation with a different experimental population and in a different experimental setting. Where, in the earlier study, regular university students were involved, in the present study we focus on students studying in a distance education and open learning setting. One of the methodological difficulties with this research population is to reach a large and representative sample. As a consequence, the experimental group in the present study is limited in number, thus denying access to statistically significantly results in relation to all hypotheses tested.Notwithstanding these methodological difficulties, the results are helpful to draw conclusions in relation to the quality and impact of expertise. As in the earlier study, attention was paid to the construction of a set of tests to grasp the complex nature of prior knowledge at the content level. The instruments used during the earlier study were improved in relation to their psychometric qualities.Concerning the hypotheses about the quality of expertise, the results of this investigation revealed that students with different educational backgrounds and studying different diploma‐types, possess a complex of different expertise components.In relation to the impact of prior knowledge on the acquisition of subject‐oriented knowledge, regression analysis reveals that expertise accounts for 37‐42% of the variance in post‐test scores. The optimization of the instruments used was helpful to differentiate to a better extent the impact of the three different expertise tests.Since the results of the present study are consistent with the findings of the earlier study in relation to the quality and impact of expertise, more weight can be given to the arguments that can be put forward to support students, in the initial stage of their studies, to cope with the demands of specific domains to be studied.
Article
Four lines of evidence, proceeding from correlational outcomes to findings from true experiments, are reviewed as preliminary support for the hypothesis that learning is increased when students attempt to construct explanatory answers to questions about to-be-learned content (i.e., answers requiring inferential transformation of questioned material). The lines of evidence are as follows: (a) When students generate explanatory answers to questions as part of learning in a group, better learning occurs for students doing the explaining. (b) Manipulations that increase student generation of explanations to questions during group interaction increase learning. (e) Attempting: to predict the content of upcoming text by responding to prequestions (including explanatory justifications for predicted answers) increases learning of prequestioned content. (d) Attempting to explain the significance of to-be-learned facts increases learning of those facts. Requiring learners to construct explanatory answers about new content probably improves learning because students do not spontaneously attempt to explain to themselves the significance of to-be-learned content. We hypothesize that attempting an explanation induces the learner to relate the new material to prior knowledge. Potential directions for future research are emphasized.
Article
Two experiments investigated whether domain-specific expertise could compensate for low overall aptitude on certain domain-related cognitive processing tasks. It was hypothesized that the performance of low-aptitude individuals on a task requiring them to acquire new information in a domain would be a function of domain expertise rather than overall aptitude level. In Experiment 1, two low-aptitude groups, one with high domain knowledge and one with low domain knowledge, were presented with a baseball passage. On both recall and recognition tests, performance was a function of level of expertise in the domain. In Experiment 2, both level of baseball knowledge and overall aptitude were varied in a factorial design. Again, performance was a function of baseball knowledge rather than aptitude level. Low-aptitude/high-knowledge participants recalled more information than high-aptitude/low-knowledge participants. In addition, the performance of the low-aptitude/high-knowledge group was similar to the high-aptitude/high-knowledge group with respect to the importance of information recalled and the number of goal relevant inferences. These findings are discussed in the context of an information deficit versus a processing deficit.
Article
The hypotheses that test anxiety is associated with a deficit in prior knowledge and/or working memory capacity, that anxiety impairs comprehension efficiency, and that deficits in knowledge and capacity underlie the efficiency impairment, were tested. In Study 1, high-anxiety students were characterized by lower scores in several vocabulary measures, compared with low-anxiety students. In Study 2, high-anxiety individuals showed inferior working memory capacity to low-anxiety individuals under evaluative stress conditions, but not under non-stress conditions. In Study 3 high-anxiety subjects exhibited lower efficiency scores than low-anxiety subjects in expository texts without a summary: The former employed a greater amount of reading time than the latter to acquire an equivalent amount of information. In addition, the disadvantage in efficiency associated with anxiety was removed when differences in vocabulary knowledge were partialled out statistically. Instead, that disadvantage was only reduced, but not eliminated, when differences in transitory working memory capacity were partialled out. Therefore, the prior knowledge deficit hypothesis accounts for the impairment in reading efficiency associated with high anxiety better than the transitory working memory reduction hypothesis.
Article
The goals of the study were to examine the efficacy of knowledge maps or text presentations of information in facilitating the search for information, to examine the influence of prior knowledge and vocabulary level on the search for information, and to determine if these variables differentially affected the search for different kinds of information. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups. Groups 1 and 2 heard a lecture on the target information for the experiment. Group 1 then searched for different kinds of information in knowledge maps whereas Group 2 searched texts. Groups 3 and 4 were identical to Groups 1 and 2 with the exception that members of Groups 3 and 4 listened to a lecture on information that was irrelevant to the target information of the experiment. Results of the study showed that the type of information sought influenced the effects of material format and searcher characteristics on the efficacy of search.
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This paper proposes an alternative to both meta-analytic and traditional reviews. The method, “best-evidence synthesis,” combines the quantification of effect sizes and systematic study selection procedures of quantitative syntheses with the attention to individual studies and methodological and substantive issues typical of the best narrative reviews. Best-evidence syntheses focus on the “best evidence” in a field, the studies highest in internal and external validity, using well-specified and defended a priori inclusion criteria, and use effect size data as an adjunct to a full discussion of the literature being reviewed.
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Although recent research indicates that children have better comprehension when they read material on topics which are highly interesting to them, the cause of this interest effect is unclear. The issue is whether or not the apparent impact of topic interest on reading comprehension is in reality a result of the fact that people tend to have more prior knowledge about topics in which they are especially interested. The purpose of this study was to separate the effects of prior knowledge and topic interest on reading comprehension. Subjects were 41 high-achieving seventh- and eighth-grade students who completed a 10-item interest inventory and took a 100-item prior knowledge test. Based on these measures, each subject read passages and took multiple-choice comprehension tests for which they had various combinations of high and low prior knowledge and topic interest. There were significant main effects for both prior knowledge and topic interest, p
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This study was designed to investigate how subject matter knowledge and the use of informal reasoning mechanisms are related to the solving of economics problems by naive individuals (with no formal training in economics) and novice individuals (with training in one or two formal economics courses). The naive groups included individuals having or not having a college education, and both naive and novice groups included individuals having or not having vocational and/or a vocational experience related to economics. Participants answered questions about changes in automobile prices, the federal deficit, and interest rates. Individuals with a college education performed better in relation to economics knowledge than those who did not attend college, and little performance difference was observed between those college educated individuals who did and those who did not have formal economics training and/or relevant experience. The results suggest that classroom instruction in economics does not necessarily lead to superior performance on "everyday" economics tasks and that individuals with a strong intellectual history may not acquire economics knowledge from everyday experience. In addition, application of a model of informal reasoning indicates that college educated individuals differ from those with no college education in (a) quality of problem representation; (b) use of qualifiers, counterarguments, and metastatements; and (c) recovering from argument distortion. Findings are discussed in relation to subject matter learning.
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This study examined the constructive cognitive activity of children listening to text and assessed the contribution of this activity to learning. Informative statements were read to 109 children (in grades 1 to 6) who were asked to think aloud about each statement. Analysis of the protocols led to a scale identifying five levels of constructive activity, with three subtypes at each level. The five levels were prefactual confabulation, knowledge/detail retelling, assimilation, problem solving, and extrapolation. The three subtypes were declarative, interrogative, and evaluative responses. Measures of prior knowledge and new learning were also obtained. A path analysis suggested that the level of activity identified by the scale exerted a direct effect on learning and mediated the effects of age and prior knowledge on learning.
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Educational psychology has indicated that prior knowledge is a potentially important educational variable. Recent and earlier research in educational psychology has shown that 30 to 60% of the variance in study results could be explained by this variable. Insight into these factors should influence the return on education. A common theoretical frame regarding explanatory theories and concepts, considering different sorts of prior knowledge and individual differences in prior knowledge states, could lead educational psychology research to previously acquired knowledge and experience. Further research should concentrate on such a framework, building on earlier results. This report gives an overview of research on the effect of prior knowledge on learning and theories that offer an explanation for the facilitating effect of prior knowledge. An exploration of the concept "prior knowledge" is made, largely on the basis of the English language literature. Attention is also paid to the expert-novice paradigm. Four figures and one table illustrate the discussion. (Contains 116 references.) (SLD)
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This article discusses the importance of studying interest and reviews research on the association between interest and prior knowledge. It is concluded that there is a substantial linear relationship between interest and prior knowledge. Previous findings of minimal interest-knowledge relationships were attributed to one, or more, of the following: (a) Knowledge and interest measures reflecting different content, (b) questionable reliability or validity of the measures, (c) ideographic assignment to high/low groups introducing error into group assignments, (d) use of materials not suited to the sample, and (e) possible confounding of interest and knowledge measures. Research suggests that working on interesting, compared to neutral, materials may engage deeper cognitive processing, arouse a wider, more emotional, and more personal associative network, and employ more imagery. A model of the interest-knowledge relationship is updated, and suggestions for further research are made. Finally, the similarity between interest and curiosity is explored, and the advantages of research on these constructs are discussed.
Article
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of prior knowledge, explicitness and clause order on fifth‐ and sixth‐grade readers’ ability to infer causal cohesive ties in text. One hundred sixty‐eight fifth‐ and sixth‐grade students were randomly assigned from three prior knowledge blocks to participate. A text booklet comprised of four versions of six experimental passages was developed: an explicit‐normal‐clause‐order version, an implicit‐normal‐clause‐order version, an explicit‐reversed‐clause‐order version, and an implicit‐reversed‐clause‐order version. Comprehension of the causal relationships in the passages was measured by free recall task, a yes‐no‐why question, cohesion cloze tasks, literal and inferential questions. Significant effects for explicitness were found for fifth‐grade readers on all variables but only on the cohesion cloze task for sixth‐grade. Significant effects for prior knowledge were found for fifth‐ and sixth‐grade students on all variables except the cohesion cloze task. Significant effects for clause order were found for fifth‐grade readers’ on literal comprehension and for fifth‐ and sixth‐grade readers on the cohesion cloze task. There was a significant interaction between prior knowledge and clause order on the literal comprehension variable for fifth grade. No other significant interactions with prior knowledge were found.
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This article reflects the results of an investigation involving economics and law students and focusing on the quality and impact of their expertise (or prior knowledge) in relation to the course, Economics and Money. Attention was paid in this project to the construction of different tests intended to grasp the complex nature of prior knowledge at the content level. In relation to the quality of expertise, the results of this project could reveal that economics and law students possess a composite of different expertise components. In relation to the impact of prior knowledge on the acquisition of subject‐oriented knowledge, regression analysis shows that expertise accounts for 16 to 17 percent of the variance in posttest scores. Although this percentage is limited, further analysis could reveal that optimal requisite knowledge and mathematics are important in this perspective. These results are important since they might be helpful in order to guide future initiatives to support students in the initial stages of their studies to cope with the demands of specific domains to be studied. In this study, study time was also used as an independent variable to hypothesize about differences in expertise in the impact on the acquisition of new subject matter. No significant findings could be derived to support hypotheses in this context.
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The B.A. Business Studies Degree at the Middlesex Polytechnic introduced in 1974–75 the idea of continuous assessment (20%) in conjunction with the examination (80%) as a method of assessing the student performance. The analysis of the marks of continuous assessment and examinations for different subjects of the Degree is carried out over a period of four years 1974–75 to 1978–79. The results show that there is a significant positive correlation between continuous assessment and examination marks in all subjects and continuous assessment helps in improving the student grades. Students are more concerned about their grades than using continuous assessment as learning experience. The average performance of students is generally lower at level II than at level I.
Article
Tested the hypothesis that students' metacognition would be enhanced on content that aroused situational interest or that was related to students' topic interests. A metacognitive evaluation procedure was used in which students estimated their word knowledge, which was then determined objectively by a multiple-choice vocabulary test. Students could then update their vocabulary knowledge by reading a passage dealing with heart disease in which all of the previously encountered words were defined explicitly or implicitly. With differences in prior knowledge controlled, nursing students, for whom the content was related to topic interests, made more accurate metacognitive judgments than did freshmen. None of the other main effects or interactions was significant. The implications of the findings for research on interest, its relationship to prior knowledge, and the assessment of metacognition are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
a test consisting of 154 items and called the Domain-Specific Knowledge State Test (DS KST) was administered to 627 [1st yr] economics students of the University of Maastricht and the Dutch Open University (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examined the contention that background knowledge (or schemata) influences the efficacy of reading. 108 9th graders of varying ability levels (measured by the Reading subtest of the SRA High School Placement Test) were given a 100-item multiple choice quiz and the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and grouped into high, medium, and low ability groups. Each S was given high and low knowledge topic paragraphs to read. Effects of background knowledge were analyzed by ability level. Results (1) indicate that knowledge was a significant factor for all ability groups, (2) support the contention, and (3) support the notion of previously possessed schemata as a crucial component in the comprehension process. (14 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Prior knowledge as a mediator of the effectiveness of the elaborative interrogation strategy was evaluated in this study. University students were given facts about animals and instructed either to answer "why" each fact would be true of the particularly animal being discussed (elaborative interrogation) or to read each fact aloud at a rate so that they could understand it (repetition control). Half of the animals were familiar to the students and the other half were unfamiliar. The elaborative interrogation group outperformed the repetition control group on an associative memory test for the familiar animals only, both on an immediate post-test and on a 1-month-delayed post-test. To facilitate memory of facts, the elaborative interrogation strategy requires general knowledge related to the to-be-learned content.