Many previous studies have documented the importance of time needed for learning and time spent in learning as parameters of educational achievement. However, most of this research has not considered the different types of tasks students are asked to learn. This study examined differences in student learning rates, amount of information acquired, and amount of information retained in three common types of classroom tasks. Reflecting Bloom's (1956) taxonomy, these tasks required knowledge of specific facts; comprehension of basic concepts and principles; or application of facts, concepts, and principles to problem-solving activities. A total of 88 seventh and eighth graders were given five repeated exposures to three reading passages and were tested following each trial. A retention test was administered 1 week later. Results indicated large differences among knowledge, comprehension, and application tasks for all measures of student performance. Two explanations of the results were perceived as relevant to classroom practice: (1) the three different types of tasks may be truly hierarchical in complexity (implying that teachers should allow proportionately more time for students to master complex tasks), or (2) schools may provide less exposure to the comprehension tasks (in which case teachers might rectify the problem by concentrating on these skills). In terms of research design, it was suggested that time differences in mastering these tasks could be minimized by providing corrective feedback. (Author/CB)
Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the National Association of School Psychologists (Philadelphia, PA, April, 1984).