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Development of students' cognitive structures in three disciplines /by Ruth A. Streveler

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Title:Development of students' cognitive structures in three disciplines /by Ruth A. Streveler
Authors:Streveler, Ruth A.
Date Issued:1993
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to begin to integrate the findings of expert-novice research with studies of the students' cognitive structures. It is assumed that the findings of expert-novice studies can be used to predict the changes which occur in students' cognitive structures with instruction, as well as how the cognitive structures of low achieving and high achieving students might differ. Instructors of three undergraduate college courses created a list of terms each deemed was central to their course. At the beginning and end of a sixteen-week semester, students in the respective courses 1) rated their familiarity with these terms, 2) clustered the terms and 3) described why each group of terms belonged together. The course instructors also clustered the terms at the beginning and end of the semester and wrote descriptions for each group of terms. A percent overlap matrix between course terms was calculated and analyzed through multidimensional scaling. For each course, terms were assigned to groups based on the instructors' clustering at the end of the semester. Students' clustering of terms was then interpreted with regards to the instructors' groups. The centroid of each of the groups was determined, and the mean geometric distance of points from the centroid was used as a measure of coherence of the groups. The results of this study support the hypothesis that students' cognitive structures are more coherent and more similar to the instructors' cognitive structures after instruction. The question of whether or not the cognitive structures of high achieving students are more coherent than the cognitive structures of low achieving students is not settled. Though promising, the results of the study were not significant. The results do not support the hypotheses that more familiar terms will be clustered more coherently, or that a relationship exists between the depth of categorization and instruction or course achievement. Implications of the findings of the study are discussed. Of particular note, is the supposition that the method used in this study could be used by classroom teachers to diagnose student misconceptions.
Description:Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1993.
xiv, 170 leaves, bound 29 cm
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Educational Psychology

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