Student attribute-preference relationships in high and low control elementary science classes

Sheppard, Douglas Bruce (1980) Student attribute-preference relationships in high and low control elementary science classes. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study was concerned with variations in teacher controlling behaviours within the context of elementary science classes, and the influence of student characteristics on affective outcomes under different control conditions. It was designed to determine which type of control was generally preferred, and to investigate relationships between student characteristics and their expressed preferences. In theory, student satisfaction is greater when a good fit between student attributes and learning environment can be maintained. -- Two experimental treatments were defined from the teacher control continuum using the Bellack Observation System. Four teachers were trained to operationalize these treatments with 360 sixth grade elementary science students in ten intact classes for two nine week rounds in the eighteen week study. A repeated measures design was used in which all classes were exposed to both treatments. An instrument was designed to measure student preference for the teacher behaviours characterizing the treatments. The design permitted a comparison of pupil attribute preference relationships across treatments within a sample for consistency and across samples within a treatment for stability. An independent, task-oriented instrument was designed and administered to compare with the written instrument. -- A large pool of independent variables was available to the researcher, so a data reduction procedure was followed. Crossbreak analysis was used to identify potential predictors for multiple linear regression analyses. The nominal task-oriented data was analyzed by a crossbreak procedure. -- The data collected indicated that the teacher behaviours were consistent with the definitions, but larger than desired inter-teaching variability within a treatment existed. The variables selected formed a significant set of predictors for student preference in all but one of the rounds of low control treatment. However, when the criterion of stability of findings across samples was invoked, none of the selected variables or subsets of variables significantly predicted student preference after teacher variation and other variable effects were controlled for. -- A strong general preference for learning in the low control mode was expressed by students in both rounds, on both the written and task-oriented preference instruments. For the latter instrument, dominance, sex, and teacher effects survived the criterion of stability across samples, with submissives and girls choosing the unstructured task more frequently than dominant students or boys. However, this instrument and the written SPI preference instrument were observed to be essentially independent as determined by the Chi-square test. Zero order correlations of student attribute measures and SPI scores were calculated as a check on stability and consistency of the relationships between these attributes and expressed preference. It was concluded that the observed relations were stable and consistent on the basis of this analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7812
Item ID: 7812
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 88-96. QEII has photocopy.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1980
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Interaction analysis in education;Classroom management;Science--Study and teaching (Elementary);

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