High and Low Achieving Education Students on Processing, Retaining, and Retrieval of Information

By Gadzella, Bernadette M.; Baloglu, Mustafa | Journal of Instructional Psychology, June 2003 | Go to article overview

High and Low Achieving Education Students on Processing, Retaining, and Retrieval of Information


Gadzella, Bernadette M., Baloglu, Mustafa, Journal of Instructional Psychology


High Achievers (students whose Educational Psychology grades were 90% and above) and Low Achievers (students whose grades were 79% and below) were compared on how they process, retrain, and retrieve information. The Information of Learning Processes, an instrument used to collect the data, consists of four independent scales: Deep Processing, Elaborative Processing, Fact Retention, and Methodical Study, showed differences between the two groups on Deep Processing and Fact Retention scales. In each case, the High Achievers reported significantly higher scores than the Low Achievers. The data can be interpreted that the High Achievers analyze information, retain and retrieve it better than do the Low Achievers. The question raised is how will these learning styles affect these students (who are potential teachers) in teaching and evaluation of their students.

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Educational psychologists and researchers have attempted to understand how students differed in processing, retaining, and retrieval of the information. To explore these differences, researchers used various types of personality, attitudinal, cognitive style, and ability measures (Cowell & Entwistle, 1971; Cropley & Field, 1969; Schmeck, 1983). Most researchers agreed that learning is related to ones personality, attitude, and thinking. They also agreed that learning strategies are modifiable due to ones perception of how information learned is to be measured and evaluated. However, some of these earlier learning measures were not very useful in assessing classroom activities (Schmeck, 1983).

Consistent with the thinking of Craik and Lockhart (1972) that memory is a 'by product of thinking: traces left behind by past information-processing,' Schmeck (1983) defined learning strategy as "a pattern of how information-processing activities are used to prepare for an anticipated test of memory" (p.234). Schmeck (1983) agreed with Tallmadge and Shearer (1969, 1971) that the "learning style would be a more useful concept than the traditional personality and cognitive style constructs in accounting for the variances in academic performances" (p.233).

Agreeing with Craik and Lockhart (1972) on their levels of processing model, Pask's (1976) operational learning strategies, and achievement motivation theory, Schmeck, Ribich, and Ramanaiah, (1977) saw the need for developing a learning assessment from a behavioral-process orientation. They developed the Inventory of Learning Processes (ILP) which assesses information-processes in academic settings. That is, the inventory assesses how students' process, retain, and retrieve the information they study.

The ILP provides four independent scale scores (Schmeck et al., 1977). The Deep Processing (DP) scale assesses the extent to which one critically evaluates, conceptually organizes, and compare and contrasts information under study. The Elaborative Processing (EP) scale assesses the extent to which one translates new information into his/her own terminology. The Fact Retention (FR) scale assesses how one processes specific factual information. The Methodical Study (MS) scale assesses whether one uses systematic techniques recommended in 'how-to-study' manuals.

This inventory has been used extensively throughout the country in various classroom settings. Numerous studies (Albaili, 1993; Gadzella, 1995; Gadzella, Ginther, & Williamson, 1986; Gadzella, Stephens, & Baloglu, 2002; Miller, Alway, & McKinney, 1987; Schmeck, 1982; Schmeck & Grove, 1979; Schmeck & Phillips, 1982; Schmeck et al., 1997) have shown that there are significant relationships between students' learning style responses and their course grades and GPAs, respectively. However, are there differences between high and low academic achievers on the ILP scores.

In one study (Gadzella, 1995), scores on the ILP scales (for 86 freshmen enrolled in psychology classes) were compared with the students' course grades. …

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