Subjects and Setting
During a two-year span, students who received educational
services through a private agency were interviewed to
ascertain the various types of classroom assignments the
students were expected to complete. A total of 100 students
were interviewed and the assignments were assigned to
categories. The students were from a range of school situations
involving both public and private schools in a medium-sized
city and its surrounding counties.
The following list of classroom-related tasks was compiled:
1. Textbook reading.
3. Oral reports.
4. Essay writing.
5. Written assignments.
7. Development of programs to control behavior.
10. Test-taking (short answer, multiple choice, true-false,
fill-in. matching, essay).
13. Math problems.
Subjects and Setting
A total of 71 students served as the sample population
for this study on the use of an organized strategy for
memorization. The students were from a wide variety of
schools representing both public and private schools.
IQ tests indicated that abilities ranged from low average
to high average. The age range was from 12 to 17 years.
The students were given five minutes to memorize a list
of 30 words. After the five minutes elapsed, the students
were requested to write down all the words they could
remember. They were then instructed to count the number
of words and put the number at the top of the page.
The students were then taught a simple organization strategy
that utilized categorization. Words such as house, dog
and cat were used to provide a framework to attach other
words such as yard, bone and string so that the student
could use association to increase memorization and retrieval.
There were five categories of words and four word pairs
that were used to organize thirty words to be learned.
The students were not given any additional time to study
the words and a time delay of five minutes was imposed
by discussing hobbies. The students were then asked to
write down all the words they could remember.
The number of words retrieved on the initial try ranged
from 2 to 30 words. The mean number of words was 13 prior
to the strategy training. The mean number of words when
using the organizational strategy increased to 24 and
ranged from 17 to 30.
Subjects and Setting
The setting was a small classroom located in a multi-disciplinary
agency in a medium-sized city. No affiliation or contact
was made with any of the schools represented by students
in the sample; thus, the setting was quite isolated from
the variety of public and private schools attended by
the sample students.
Students in the sample population were recommended to
participate in learning strategy groups for a period of
six weeks. The basic criteria for entry into a group was
the identification of an attention problem by a psychologist
in combination with underachievement as reflected by the
student's school report card. All members of the sample
were assigned to groups according to age and grade level.
The groups were either middle school or high school populations
with an overall age range from 12 years, 10 months to
17 years, 8 months. The IQ ranged from low average to
high average. Group size was limited to 5 students per
group. Any student who was receiving additional tutoring
or services was excluded from the sample.
The typical classroom tasks required of students from
the first study served as a framework for the development
of a collection of study strategies to improve classroom
performance. A strategy was developed for each type of
learning task which resulted in a total of 20 strategies
that were taught to students under the title of "Independent
Strategies for Efficient Study." For six weeks, the groups
met once a week with the instructor. Each session ran
for one and a half hours. The following schedule was followed
for each group:
Session 1 - Association for Memory, Systematic Study
System, Self-graphing of Grades, Notebook Organization.
Session 2 - Streamlined Notetaking, Notetaking from Written
Material, Time Management.
Session 3 - Wheels for Reading, Pictorials, Diagrams,
Charts for Organization.
Session 4 - Wheels for Writing, Spelling, Proofing.
Session 5 - Wheels for Literature, Self-monitoring of
Behavior, Self-talk, Imagery, Graphing of Behaviors, Test-taking.
Session 6 - Review of the 20 strategies.
The 20 strategies and the generalization exercise are
detailed in this book so the descriptions will not be
repeated here. Refer to the text for detailed descriptions
of the strategies and the generalization procedure. Any
absences were made up during individual sessions so that
all the students completed the training in all 20 strategies.
Two measures were selected to measure student progress.
First, student grades before and after strategy training
were used to assess academic progress as well as the generalization
of the strategies. Though the measure of grades is not
a pure measure free of contaminating factors, grades do
serve as the most commonly accepted measure of a student's
academic progress. Therefore, the grades were selected
as the primary dependent measure to assess academic progress
in the classroom.
Only content area courses such as history, science, psychology,
sociology and English were included in the study. Math
grades, physical education grades, and band/chorus grades
were excluded. A second dependent measure consisted of
a phone contact to each student's parents to assess the
student's improvement and use of the strategies. Parental
responses were categorized as positive or negative. Positive
statements were limited to statements that indicated improvement
in schoolwork. Negative statements included all other
responses such as the parent not being sure or not knowing
if improvement had taken place. The responses were judged
by two independent raters using the "improvement" or "other"
criteria for judgement.
A comparison was made using the direct-difference method
to assess the difference between the grades received prior
to strategy training and after strategy training. The
comparison revealed a highly significant increase in student
grades after six weeks of strategy training (N=67, t=-6.54,
p<.001). The direct-difference method was chosen to serve
as the statistical procedure for a before-after design
to accommodate correlated samples.
Descriptive data was tabulated in addition to the statistical
analysis. Changes in grades are listed below:
|Increase of 1 letter grade
|Increase of 2 letter grades
|Increase of 3 letter grades
| Remained the same
|Decreased 1 letter grade
Numerical measures of student averages based on a five
point (A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, F=1) scale were also computed
to assess individual students gains:
The cumulative scores resulted in a mean increase of
Parent contacts resulted in 26 comments being deemed
positive and 4 comments being designated as negative or
not sure. Inter-rater reliability was 100%.
The results indicated that grades improved significantly
after six weeks of instruction using the strategies outlined
in this book. The effectiveness of this strategy training
package is supported by the results of this study; however,
the data also reflects the generalization of the use of
the strategies which is as important as the effectiveness
of the strategy training. Further research needs to address
the impact of the individual strategies on specific academic
areas but the results of this study indicate that the
learning strategy course described in this book has been
shown empirically to result in significant improvement
in academic progress as measured by classroom grades.
Research on Core Strategy Training
Subjects and Setting
Three high school students receiving services as students
with learning disabilities in a large public school system
were the participants in the study. All three students
were identified through the use of ability/achievement
discrepancies as well as specific processing weaknesses.
The ability range was from low average to average. The
students were in the Resource Program as well as mainstream
classes but were receiving no services directly related
to their mainstream classes. The students were nominated
by their teacher as students who were struggling with
academic achievement and who needed help with their performance
in the regular classroom.
A multiple baseline design was used to measure the changes
in performance through the use of classroom grades. Mainstream
classroom teachers were not told about the intervention
but were asked to provide two grades per week that resulted
from quizzes or tests. Homework grades were not included.
The teachers simply wrote down the student's grades on
a form that was collected by the school secretary at the
end of each week. The grades were used as the dependent
Grades were collected for all students at the beginning
of the second semester. The grades were collected over
February, March, April and May with some interruptions
because of Easter vacation, a snow day and teacher workdays.
The teachers were requested to participate in the study
by the special education teacher and were asked to hand
in the grades to a spot on the secretary's desk at the
end of each week. There was no contact between the teachers
and the strategy trainer. The strategy training took place
over weekends and not on school grounds so teachers would
not know when the training occurred. At different intervals,
the subjects were trained to use selected strategies from
the course called "Independent Strategies for Efficient
The graphs representing student performance before and
after strategy training intervention depict significant
improvement in academic performance after the organizational
strategy training intervention.