Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #156
Refining Highly Effective Instruction: No Student Left Behind
Sunday, May 27, 2007
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Cunningham C
Area: EDC/OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Jennifer L. Austin (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: This symposium includes three papers describing research to refine highly effective university courses and enable student mastery. Two studies examine refinements to a large enrollment introductory psychology course; one evaluates the effects of elaborate and basic feedback, the other tests the effects of a 'clicker system' to prompt active student engagement. The third study explores the effects of a computer-based tutorial teaching math skills and order of operations in an introductory statistics course. Contributions of technology to enhance university instruction are discussed and areas for future research are identified.
Enabling Mastery of Introductory Statistics.
JOSEPH CHARLES DAGEN (University of Nevada, Reno), Mark P. Alavosius (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: This study examined the effects of a mathematics computer-program on weekly exam performance in two sections of an undergraduate statistics course that is required by many departments including psychology, nursing, criminal justice, nutrition and others. Introduction of a tutorial program that brought all students to competence level in basic mathematics skills and order of operations was staggered across courses; one group completed the tutorial during week 2, the other during week 5. Results suggest that demonstrating mathematical competence does not produce salient improvements in exam performance. Student failure occurs predictably with a small percentage of students even though foundation math skills are demonstrated. Poor performance may be affected by variables not targeted in the present study. Our ongoing research explores sources of variability in the performance of students struggling with this material in an effort to build highly effective instructional systems enabling all students to achieve mastery of the material required by their major field of study.
The Differential Effects of Two Types of Feedback on Student Performance in a PSI-Type Course.
JARED A. CHASE (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Feedback as a construct has been extensively studied in both the psychological and educational literature. Furthermore, educators in large-enrollment courses are faced with the challenge of effectively disseminating information to their students to ensure that they learn the content information provided. A related issue involves the means by which instructors evaluate student performance to address the aforementioned concern. Effective forms of performance feedback may be one technique to provide students with additional information to facilitate learning. Therefore, the purpose of the current investigation was to determine the effects of immediate, elaborate feedback and immediate, basic feedback on student performance. Four groups from an introductory psychology course participated in the study. Group A received only basic feedback on all quizzes. Group B received elaborate feedback on all quizzes. Groups C and D received both conditions of basic and elaborate feedback counterbalanced across groups. Response accuracy and learning gain were evaluated between- and within-groups. This presentation will provide an overview of the method and results of the study. In addition, findings and implications for future applications will be discussed.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Electronic Voting Devices in a University Introductory Psychology Course.
N. JOSEPH RODRIGUES (University of Nevada, Reno), Jared A. Chase (University of Nevada, Reno), Joseph Charles Dagen (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of electronic voting devices on student performance in an introductory psychology course. The devices were used in small-group lectures for alternate chapters during the semester. The target group of students received alternating weeks of active responding sessions and traditional sessions. In addition, the performance of this group was compared to the performance of a group of students from a previous semester that experienced the traditional style of instruction. The dependent variables included student quiz scores immediately following discussion sessions, performance scores on mid-term and final, and grade distribution. Although it is assumed that the devices promote active responding, the impact of this technology on student scores is not well documented in the literature. Preliminary data analysis suggests a positive influence of the devices on student performance. Detailed results and associated discussion will be provided.



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