Graded study guides for sixth grade social studies
Jones, Annie Lee
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Problem The purpose of this study was: (1) to develop graded study guides for use in paired practice in sixth grade social studies, and (2) to evaluate the effectiveness of this procedure as one means of improving the power of recall and the ability to comprehend and retain subject matter. Procedure Forty-four study guides based on Ginn and Company's textbook, Your World and Mine, were constructed. They included: fifteen detailed-question lessons in aided recall; fourteen outline-techniques exercises in summarizing; and fifteen general-question lessons in unaided recall. The study guides were planned for use in the regular social studies period for twenty-five teaching days. Children worked independently in pairs within three ability groups, with each group progressing at a different rate. The study was conducted in two public school systems within a fifteen-mile radius of the city of Boston. Five hundred and twenty-three pupils were divided into two groups, with 265 in the experimental group and 258 in the control. Groups were equated on the basis of chronological age, mental age, reading achievement, and ability in oral recall. The following battery of seven tests was administered: (1) Otis Quick-Scoring Mental Ability Tests, Beta Test, Form A; (2) Gates Reading Survey for Grade 3 (2nd Half) to Grade 10, Forms I and II; (3) a social studies test constructed by the investigator; (4) a modified form of the Bogardus Social Distance Scale; (5) a pupil and a teacher questionnaire developed for the purpose of evaluation; and the following instruments developed at Boston University: (6) Bucknam's selections for measuring oral and written recall; and (7) a subject preference rating scale. Reliability was established on the original social studies test and on each of the four recall selections, as tests of both oral and written recall. Teachers evaluated the procedure in individual conferences with the investigator. Conclusions 1. Both groups made significant gains in oral and in written recall. Slightly greater gains were made in each by the experimental group; however, the difference in gains was not statistically significant. 2. The difference in mean score on the social studies test resulted in a critical ratio of 2.58 which favored the control group. 3. Gains were made by both groups in reading achievement, expressed as reading age. All gains and all differences between the gains of both groups in total reading age, comprehension, vocabulary, and the speed of reading lack statistical significance. 4. Significant gains were made in social acceptance among pupils in both groups. 5. No significant change was found in the attitudes of children toward the social studies. 6. Pupils in experimental classrooms enjoyed the lessons and liked working with a partner. They preferred: reading questions after reading the textbook; answering questions to one paragraph at a time; and giving answers orally. 7. Teachers observed that pupils generally liked the lessons and greatly enjoyed paired practice. Criticisms and Suggestions for Further Study These materials used with virtually complete self-direction on the part of pupils have had practically the same value as the regular teacher-directed method of teaching social studies. Previous research further indicates the value of team learning; therefore, additional research in this area seems justifiable. In future investigations using graded study guides in paired practice, the following changes appear advantageous: 1. Extend the actual working time of the study and cover the textbook material more slowly. 2. Shorten each study guide and provide more time for daily class discussions. 3. Limit the use of study guides to three or four lessons a week. 4. Provide for systematic review at regular intervals. 5. Employ a greater variety of materials. 6. Vary the approach more and add greater flexibility to the procedure. 7. Include specific provisions for enrichment activities. 8. Provide increased opportunities for pupil-teachers to work with the slower pupils who have reading difficulties.
Thesis (Ed.D.)--Boston University
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