EFFECTS OF ASSIGNED SMALL-GROUP POSTLEARNING TASKS ON SEMANTIC RECALL OF PROSE

PETER G VAJDA, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of post-learning reading tasks, directions, and physical environment on the semantic recall of prose for subjects in four small instructional groups. Participants in the Instruction condition were asked to read a passage and then instruct their group in the information in that passage; Discussion participants were asked to read a passage and then discuss the passage with the other members of their group; participants in the Test condition were asked to read a passage and then take an essay test; and participants in the Read and Remember condition were asked to read a passage and remember what they read.^ The following null hypotheses were tested: (1) There are no significant differences among the four treatment groups in the total number of propositions recalled as a function of participants' assigned reading tasks when initial reading ability level has been statistically eliminated. (2) There are no significant differences among the four treatment groups in the number of superordinate propositions recalled as a function of the participants' assigned reading tasks when initial reading ability level has been statistically eliminated. (3) There are no significant differences among the four treatment groups in the number of subordinate propositions recalled as a function of participants' assigned reading tasks when initial reading ability level has been statistically eliminated.^ The sample of 128 participants was selected from a population of freshman college students at a suburban middle-class college in Westchester County, New York, during the 1979-1980 academic year, all of whom were taking an Introduction to Psychology course. Participants were chosen randomly and assigned to treatment groups and took part in the experiment under the same conditions at the same time.^ The instrument was a prose passage on operant conditioning developed by Lewis (1978) and adapted by the investigator. Tasks and directions described each of the four postlearning conditions required of the participants after reading the passage. Participants were asked for written recall of the passage and recall protocols were analyzed in terms of recall of propositions.^ Three one-way analyses of variance were performed with the four postlearning situations as the independent variables.^ The results indicated that the Small-Group Instruction and Small-Group Discussion forms of postlearning situations were superior to the Essay Test and Read and Remember conditions in terms of the total number of propositions recalled, the number of superordinate propositions recalled, and the number of subordinate propositions recalled.^ The results of the study clearly supported the principle that intensive group interaction or the anticipation of intensive group interaction facilitates high-level processing of prose material.^ The major implication of the study is that instruction requiring active processing induces students to engage active learning and remembering strategies, effectively influencing reading, retention, and recall of prose material. ^

Subject Area

Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

VAJDA, PETER G, "EFFECTS OF ASSIGNED SMALL-GROUP POSTLEARNING TASKS ON SEMANTIC RECALL OF PROSE" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8109073.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8109073

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