ERIC Number: ED368407
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov-11
Elements of Contracting, Individualization, and Cooperative Learning in a Community College History Classroom.
Harris, Jimmy Carl
At a public community college located in a Southeastern state, an innovative curriculum, including contracting, individualization and cooperative learning, was tested in two sections of a History of Western Civilization course. Contracting refers to an agreement between teacher and student, specifying student goals and objectives. Individualization allows students to select from such learning methods as tests, book reports, or papers. Cooperative learning refers to the use of student study groups before each test. In each section, students were given a highly detailed syllabus explaining the grading system that made it possible for students to earn points by taking tests, writing book reports, or completing term papers. A study of student outcomes and attitudes toward the three elements indicated the following: (1) 79% (n=27) of one section and 50% (n=15) of the other failed to achieve their contract goals in terms of final grades; (2) over 50% of both sections failed to meet their book report objectives and over 40% of both failed to meet their term paper objectives; (3) in general, many students in both groups exhibited high grade expectations teamed with low objectives; and (4) despite the failures, student attitudes toward the curriculum were typically "very positive" or "positive." The study concluded that, while students recognize the value of setting goals, they may not follow their own contracts. Tables, the student evaluation questionnaire, and 23 references are appended. (KP)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, November 10-12, 1993).