Attacking Classroom Apathy

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Academy of Educational Leadership Journal




This research centers on a pervasive problem in university classrooms: chronically ill-prepared students. The study presents a discussion of the problem, a hierarchical model of learning, and a resulting pre-class intervention tested on 117 college students (predominantly late-sophomore and junior level). The activity required students to summarize learning objectives before material was covered (ex-ante). The summaries were graded and returned to students for revision and subsequent use as study guides. Data analysis showed that students perceived the activity to significantly impact both class and examination preparation (p < .0001). Furthermore, regression results show that objective summaries explained more than 15 percent of the variation in exam performance (p < .0001). Results are important owing to the fact that the intervention was not only perceived by students to be helpful, but also shown to be related empirically to performance. It is also of interest to note that course content required substantial learning, understanding, and use of mathematics, a subject matter from which most students flee.


This article is available in the Academy of Educational Leadership Journal volume 19, number 3 on pages 281-288.

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