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Schedule/Announcements. E4 is a week from today, Monday 10/17 Thursday, 10/19 (first lecture on U5, CPU8) Hand back E4 Hand out ME1 study objectives ME1 is the following Monday, 10/24 ME1 covers Units 1-4 (not U5)

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Schedule announcements

  • E4 is a week from today, Monday 10/17

  • Thursday, 10/19 (first lecture on U5, CPU8)

    • Hand back E4

    • Hand out ME1 study objectives

  • ME1 is the following Monday, 10/24

    • ME1 covers Units 1-4 (not U5)

    • If you missed an exam, you must take ME1 or the missing exam score turns into a zero

    • If you have taken all the exams to date, I will replace your lowest exam score with the ME score

    • If you are satisfied with your exam scores to date, you get the day off

    • There will be no ME for ME1

(Doug, MABA)

U4 college teaching and teaching technology
U4 College Teaching and Teaching Technology

  • Behavioral analysis of college teaching and student study behavior

  • Direct Instruction

  • Precision Teaching

  • Headsprout: web-based reading program for children

Unit 4 college teaching
Unit 4: College Teaching

  • Behavioral analysis of college teaching and student studying behavior

    • Article by Dr. Jack Michael

      • Why do PSY professors administer more exams and require more assignments than professors in other departments typically do?

      • Why do I structure PSY 4600 the way I do with study objectives, frequent essay examinations and hand out a grade sheet

      • Why, from a behavioral perspective, might your study behavior differ in this class vs. other classes?

      • Why do some (most of us) procrastinate - studying for exams, writing papers, preparing conference presentations, etc?

Introduction overview to the michael article
Introduction/Overview to the Michael article

  • The teaching technology discussed in the article is relevant for the “typical” college class with a course enrollment of 35-40 or more and a clear “factual content.”

  • It is not relevant for fine arts (dance, sculpting, painting, writing) or other skill training such as public speaking, mechanics, etc.

  • While this technology can be used with small classes (15 or fewer students), there are also methods that can be equally effective

  • Most university classes at colleges and universities are the type discussed in the article

Overview of michael article cont
Overview of Michael article, cont.

  • Begins by discussing student motivation to study. That is, what types of factors motivate students to study hard?

  • He discusses a number of factors that are often mentioned by individuals (intrinsic interest in the subject matter, approval/disapproval of others in the study setting, long-range payoffs of learning the material, etc.)

  • He argues against each one, concluding that the course grade is the only effective motivational variable and the only one over which the instructor has control.

Overview cont
Overview, cont.

  • However, even the grade will not be an effective motivator if the grade is not important to the student

  • He further states that if the grade is not important to the student, then there is nothing an instructor can do to motivate students to study

  • Many say that grades should not be emphasized - Michael disagrees with that perspective - the grade is the only motivative factor that the instructor has under his/her control and thus should be emphasized

Overview cont1
Overview cont.

  • Next, he describes how to structure a course so that the course grade is an effective motivator

  • Three factors that must be present in order for students to study hard (SO 12, but stated positively):

    • The grade must be important to the student

    • The exam/assignmentgrades must be closely (and explicitly) linked to the course grade; and

    • Studying must be closely (and explicitly) linked to the exam/assignment grades

(how many, assignment/quiz, have no idea how it relates to final grade - 10%, 20%,

maybe checkmark; how many I didn’t study at all, aced the test; I studied very hard

and didn’t have a clue? 2 exams - chapter 4 - graduate course - didn’t know passed/failed)

So 1 creativity
SO 1: Creativity?

  • This type of course structure is very controversial and has been criticized for a number of reasons

  • The first criticism: This type of course does not teach creativity or new knowledge, but only teaches students how to parrot back old knowledge.

  • Michael’s response?

Creativity requires an extensive familiarity with what is already known - an extensive knowledge base about which one can be creative.

For example, If you don’t understand reinforcement, punishment, shaping, etc., you cannot create an effective instructional system or develop an effective training program for individuals with developmental disabilities.

(need to knowthe basics so you have something to be creative about)

So 2 what is the two for one rule what does it imply for getting an a or a b
SO 2:What is the two for one rule? What does it imply for getting an A or a B?

  • In order to get a C in a course, students should spend 2 hours outside class studying for every hour in class.

    • 3 credit hour course: 2 x 3 = 6 hours outside of class studying (each and every week) to get a C

    • Full credit load of 12-15 credit hours, students should be studying 36-45 hours per week for C-level performance

    • MORE than 2 hours of study per credit hour should required for an A or B. For example, 3 hours outside per credit hour, 9-10 hours.

(most don’t require that, this class - 6 hours per unit)

SO 3: What are two main problems with intrinsic interest in the subject matter as a motivational factor?

  • While the subject matter may indeed be interesting to students, it is usually not sufficiently interesting to maintain the amount of study required to master the material

    • Love behavior analysis, love 460, but that is not likely to maintain 9-12 hours of studying each week

  • Competing activities that are not postponable while studying is. You can “always study tomorrow” - but sometimes tomorrow never comes

    • Friend drops by - let’s go out

    • Baby/child gets sick

    • Football game/play isn’t available at any other time

(in general, second reason is main reason)

So 4 why is it that short term advantages from the newly acquired material do not motivate studying
SO 4: Why is it that short-term advantages from the the subject matter as a motivational factor? newly acquired material do not motivate studying?

  • Many content courses, unlike automobile mechanics, do not have many short-term advantages to the student; rather

  • They are important for further learning

    • You can’t run before you can walk

    • You can’t master the material in 460 unless you have mastered the material in 360

    • You can’t master algebra unless you master arithmetic

      (Both points are important if I ask this on the exam!)

SO 5: Briefly describe the weakness of long- the subject matter as a motivational factor? range payoffs related to the details of the study assignment.

  • It is easy to believe that you can contribute to the human condition - that is, be a successful behavior analyst - without understanding the specific details of the study assignment

    • It is easy to believe that you can be an effective human service worker, OBM practitioner, clinical psychologist, etc. without knowing SOs 5, 14, 20 and 26 from Unit 4 in Dickinson’s PSY 460.

Note: the answer is not the delay or temporal remoteness, even though that is a problem as well.

So 6 so why are grades the best motivational factor to motivate student studying
SO 6: So why are grades the best motivational factor the subject matter as a motivational factor? to motivate student studying?

  • It is the one motivational factor over which the instructor has control - the only one (we can’t control intrinsic interest, we can’t control whether others in the environment support scholarly performance, etc.)

  • It can be easily related to the details of the study assignment (we can make SOs 5, 14, & 20 from U4 important by relating them to the exam/assignment)

  • It is a factor of considerable strength - that is, it is important to most students as evidenced by the intensity of study/work right before an exam or right before an assignment is due

SO 7: Vicious vs. Friendly Competition and their the subject matter as a motivational factor? relationship to norm-referenced vs. criterion- referenced grading practices.

  • Many criticize emphasizing grades because it generates “competition” and competition is bad.

  • Michael distinguishes between “vicious” and “friendly” competition, and agrees that “vicious” competition is, indeed, bad, but “friendly” competition is not.

  • He then describes grading practices that produce “vicious” competition and those that produce “friendly” competition.

  • Norm-referenced grading practices produce vicious competition and hence should not be adopted, while criterion-referenced grading practices produce “friendly” competition which is OK.

So 7 norm referenced grading produces vicious competition
SO 7: Norm-referenced grading produces vicious competition the subject matter as a motivational factor?

  • Norm-referenced grading

    • The grade you receive depends not only on your grade but the grades of other students in the class

    • Grading on a curve: 10% of the students get As, 20% get Bs, 50% or so get Cs

    • If one student gets an A, it decreases the opportunity for another student to get an A

    • This produces vicious competition between students; you may be happy when someone doesn’t get an A or a B; you are not as likely to help someone - if you do, that person may get an A, which decreases the opportunity for you to get an A

    • In fact, some students may actually engage in behaviors that will harm another’s student chance to get an A (steal relevant books from the library)

(physio course, comp exams)

So 7 criterion referenced grading produces friendly competition
SO 7: Criterion-referenced grading produces friendly the subject matter as a motivational factor? competition

  • Criterion-referenced grading

    • The grade you get depends only on your grade; not on the grades other students get

    • Dickinson’s PSY 460 grading practices; any student who gets 92% of the points, gets an A.

    • Friendly competition: Student wants to have the highest point score in the class or a student wants to “beat out” another student.

    • But this does not produce the type of competition that makes a student rejoice in the misfortune of other students or refuse to help another student because it might decrease his/her own grade.

So 8 study procrastination scallop
SO 8: Study procrastination scallop the subject matter as a motivational factor?

  • Many people maintain that an exam or assignment is an example of a FI schedule of reinforcement, which produces the typical scallop of responding. (not much behavior in the beginning of the interval, more and more behavior as the interval progresses and reinforcement gets close).

  • Not so! And the reasons are the same as the reasons we examined last unit with respect to why a paycheck is not an example of a FI schedule.

  • So how do we explain the scallop in studying/working that occurs right before the exam?

  • How is that scallop behavior related to the exam grade and the course grade?

So 8 continued procrastination scallop
SO 8 Continued: Procrastination Scallop the subject matter as a motivational factor?

  • To understand this, it helps to know that the analysis Michael presents is a molecular analysis.

  • Underlying position that if a consequence follows a behavior by more than 5 to 60 seconds, it is not a direct-acting contingency; that is, that consequence cannot directly affect the behavior as reinforcement, punishment, etc.

  • Rather the effect that the consequence has is due to other variables, such as verbal behavior.

  • Michael is a molecular behavior analyst (as most others in the department) and thus explains the procrastination scallop using a molecular analysis where the consequence of studying must occur within 5 to 60 seconds after the behavior of studying

So 8 procrastination scallop a molecular behavioral analysis
SO 8: Procrastination Scallop, A molecular behavioral analysis

  • The relationship between two factors affects studying (Note carefully, not just one or the other!)

    • Task completion: how much of the task the student has completed

    • Time passage: the time left before the exam or assignment

  • Task completion and time passage together determine the aversiveness of the situation at any point in time in the interval relevant to the exam/assignment

(be careful not to put this in your own words)

So 8 continued
SO 8 Continued analysis

  • To have completed most of the task and have a good deal of time left is “safe” or “nonaversive”

  • But to have completed very little of the task and have very little time left is a condition that is dangerous or “aversive”

  • It is the aversiveness that generates escape behavior

  • Usually, the only relevant form of escape under these circumstances is studying (or working on the assignment)

  • The reinforcement for studying is the escape from the aversiveness - the change in status to a less “dangerous” condition with respect to the task-time relationship

  • That is, the studying behavior decreases the existing aversive condition - the decrease in the aversiveness is an immediate negatively reinforcing consequence

So 8 what reinforces studying
SO 8: What reinforces studying? analysis

  • The reinforcement for studying is NOT the avoidance of a bad grade on the exam/assignment

    • The grade is too delayed, it does not occur within 5 - 60 seconds after studying

  • To repeat: The reinforcement for studying is the decrease in the pre-existing aversive condition; immediate negative reinforcement (escape)

    MO (aversiveness):R (studying)-->Sr- escape

    (decrease in aversiveness)

    As soon as you study, there is a decrease in the aversiveness.

SO 8: What produces the scallop? That is why do (most) students study more and more as the time interval passes?

  • Because the aversiveness increases as the time interval passes and they have not completed the task/assignment

  • That is, the pre-existing aversiveness becomes stronger and stronger the closer the exam if students have not completed the assignment.

(last slide on this)

So 9 end of course activity
SO 9: End-of-Course Activity students study more and more as the time interval passes?

Why does an end-of-course activity (like a final exam or paper worth 50%-75% of the student’s grade) weaken the relation between the exam grades and the course grades?

Students can quite correctly believe that a low score on an earlier exam or assignment can be compensated for by a high score on the final exam or paper.

But what often happens? You run out of time because all of your courses “kick in at the end.”

So no final exam in Dickinson’s PSY 460!!!

SO 10: Reasons professors give for their unwillingness to clearly specify what is going to be on the exam

  • Many professors are highly critical of study objectives on the grounds that we are “spoon feeding” students.

  • Professors often give two reasons for not wanting to specify what is going to be on the exam

    • You will only learn what the professor tells you to learn; without specification you will learn all of the other things you wouldn’t learn if you didn’t know what was going to be on the exam

      • Dickinson says not so! If you are examined over 4-5 chapters, do you really learn everything in those 4-5 chapters?

    • Part of the scholar’s repertoire consists of bringing order out of chaos and dealing with the instructor’s vague assignments is a good opportunity to learn this skill

      • Not so again!!! (read material out of “interest”)

So 11 in large enrollment classes what controls attendance and what does not control attendance
SO 11: In large enrollment classes what controls attendance and what does NOT control attendance?

  • What does control attendance?

    How essential the lecture material is for doing wellon the exam - (note material in red!)

  • What does NOT control attendance?

    How interesting or inspirational the lectures are

    Faculty do not have to do “dog and pony shows” to get students to attend class.

    Of course, all things being equal, interesting is better than boring!


So 12 the three conditions under which the threat of a low grade will not motivate studying
SO 12: The three conditions under which the threat of a low grade will NOT motivate studying

  • If the grade is not important to the student

  • The relation between the exam grade and the course grade is not clear

  • The relation between studying for the exam and the grade on the exam is not clear

So 14 exam frequency and motivation to study
SO 14: Exam frequency and motivation to study grade will NOT motivate studying

Provide two reasons why exams that are given once every three weeks (let alone two exams per semester) will not have the same motivational effect as exams that are given weekly.

1. The procrastination scallop: most students will wait to study until the week of the exam

If I require 6 or more hours of outside studying for each exam (for a C), if I gave an exam every three weeks instead of every 1 1/2 weeks, it would require 12 or more hours of study. If I gave just a mid-term and final, that would be about 7 weeks or about 4.5 units, which would require 27 hours or more of studying.

It is absurd to think that students will spend 27 hours studying for the exam during that one week.

(one reason why professors use norm-referenced grading - no one does well)

SO 14: Second reason why exams that are given grade will NOT motivate studyingonce every three weeks (let alone twice a semester)will not have the same motivational effect as weekly exams.

2. I have 1 1/2 hours for the exam, regardless of how often I give the exams. If I gave an exam only once every three weeks, I could not sample as much material from the study objectives - that is I could not ask questions over as many of the study objectives

  • Why and how does this affect student studying?

    Students know that I cannot test over all of the study objectives, hence they will begin to try to guess which ones I will ask and not study all of the objectives. They will “gamble” about which items I will have test questions over

(also less accurate assessment for me, but that is not related to student studying, faculty

Who give out 70 or more SOs for the exam and then only ask questions on very small


So 15 why learning can t be fun and easy
SO 15: Why learning can’t be fun and easy grade will NOT motivate studying

  • Many argue that learning should be fun and easy. Not so, says Michael. He says it can’t be fun and easy for two reasons.

    • Intensity: there is too much to learn in too little time

    • Assessment: there is a chance that the student will not get the grade he/she wants on the exams and assignments

      Note carefully, it is NOT simply that the exams and assignments are given - if every student got an A on every exam/assignment, then assessment would not cause students a problem

      (Learn each factor and be able to explain them.)

Not for exam but why should grades be emphasized
Not for exam but why should grades be emphasized? grade will NOT motivate studying

Grades are the primary motivative variable, which means that current standing in the class and progress toward the final grade should always be clear and frequently brought to the student’s attention.

Hence, the grade sheet.

Questions on the michael article
Questions on the Michael article? grade will NOT motivate studying