Executive Control Processes in Reading

By Bruce K. Britton; Shawn M. Glynn | Go to book overview

5
EXECUTIVE CONTROL IN STUDYING. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Gary M. Schumacher Ohio University

The process of studying presents researchers and educators with a puzzling dilemma. It is widely accepted that studying is a crucial factor in the success of most students in most educational settings. Rohwer ( 1984), for example, notes that studying is considered one of the prime ingredients in school success (particularly for students beyond the early elementary years). Indeed, if high school or college students are found to be struggling in their academic work, parents and teachers are likely to turn early to a consideration of the quality of the student's studying processes. As Rohwer notes, studying is a major variable in our intuitive theory of the determinants of academic success.

Yet, when we turn to the psychological literature for insight on the process of studying, we are soon dismayed. There is little coherent research on the topic. Whereas there is research on numerous facets of studying such as underlining ( Hartley, Bartlett, & Branthwaite, 1980), the use of text aids ( Mayer, 1984), notetaking ( Kiewra, 1985a, 1985b), and individual differences in studying ( Gettinger, 1994), there is little effort to build this research into a coherent theory of studying. This state of affairs has led Rohwer ( 1984) to call for the initiation of an educational psychology of studying. This is a desirable and laudable aim and one that is long overdue.

Rohwer suggested a tentative framework to guide research on studying. This framework delineated three major characteristics which impact on students' achievement levels and which need to be investigated. These are course and task characteristics, student characteristics, and study activities. By taking this approach, Rohwer establishes not only a specific framework for investigating studying, but also a general mindset or

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