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ERIC Number: ED414042
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Dec
Pages: 53
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
What Role Does Ability Play in Classroom Learning?
Nuthall, Graham
Four studies examined the relationship between students' ability and the learning processes the students engaged in when they acquired knowledge from their classroom experiences. The research was based on a model of learning processes during knowledge acquisition that identifies critical learning experiences and predicts what is learned and remembered. Each study involved detailed observation and audio and video recording of classroom experiences of selected upper primary or intermediate students during a science or social studies unit, as well as individual student interviews. Student learning measures were administered several weeks before and after the unit and again 12 months later. Findings indicated that the model predicted the learning of 86 percent of items whose content was learned and predicted failure to learn for 80 percent of items that were not learned. The lowest prediction rates were for students in the mid-range of ability, with no indication that the learning process was different for the most and least able. Patterns of correlations suggested that although student ability was related to prior knowledge levels, there was no relationship between prior knowledge level and amount learned during the unit. If the appropriate number of learning experiences occurred, without significant gaps between them, learning occurred regardless of students' ability level. Academically relevant discussions were more likely when there was a social climate of acceptance and valuing of each other's ideas, which was more likely with more able students. The major factors affecting whether students access learning opportunities appeared to be related to culture. (Contains 23 references.) (Author/KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A