Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

The Independent Effects of Student Characteristics and Instructional Activities on Achievement: An Application of the Input-Environment-Outcome Assessment Model

Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

The Independent Effects of Student Characteristics and Instructional Activities on Achievement: An Application of the Input-Environment-Outcome Assessment Model

Article excerpt

Considerable research has shown that both student characteristics and instructional activities contribute to learning outcomes. Accordingly, a number of instructional design models have been developed that consider the unique contributions of initial student characteristics and instructional experiences when developing effective instructional programs. For instance, the utility of a cognitive model for the development of web-based instruction has been examined (Lin, 1999). Based on the findings of that study, Lin (1999) provides several instructional activities that can be incorporated into a lesson in order to improve student commitment. In an analysis of emerging theories of instruction, Reigeluth and Squire (1998) indicate that both cognitive strategies (such as problem-based learning and higher-order thinking skills) as well as students' affective domain have been recently considered. Similarly, the importance of student self-efficacy and self-reflection for effective instructional design have been discussed (Shin, 1998). With respect to the effects of specific learning activities on learning outcomes, a method has been developed for designing flexible instruction and several activities have been identified to support instructional delivery (Nikolova & Collis, 1998). Further, the importance of an instructional analysis to structure and arrange learning content for designing effective mastery learning has been presented (Hashim & Tik, 1997). At the same time, the role of student self-beliefs and motivation for instructional design have been discussed (Price, 1998) and a model of motivational design of instructional materials has been developed (Keller, 1983, 1984). Finally, an interactive learning model for instructional design has recently been proposed (Tennyson & Nielson, 1998). In this model, several student characteristics (such as memory, cognitive strategies, knowledge base, and affects) combine to impact learning outcomes from instructional activities. Consequently, it is important to consider the effects of both student characteristics and instructional activities when assessing achievement outcomes.

Several specific instructional practices and activities have been found to be related to students' achievement outcomes. The incorporation of problem-based instruction in mathematics produced significant learning gains for elementary-school students (Wood & Sellers, 1996). Similarly, faculty involvement in preparing cases and using a problem-based curriculum has been shown to be effective in medical education (Kaufman & Mann, 1996a, 1996b). Further, there are several classroom activities (such as using tasks that are appropriate for prior knowledge and cognitive demands) which result in improved student engagement in mathematics (Henningsen & Stein, 1997). Results from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988 indicated that computers were incorporated into classroom instruction for total enrichment (Owens & Waxman, 1995-1996); additional findings indicated that significantly more students used computers in urban and suburban schools than in rural schools. Recent results indicate that fifth-grade students whose teachers used more technology tended to show higher academic achievement (Middleton & Murray, 1999). An analysis of a program for teaching computer skills to in-service teachers indicated that providing a non-threatening environment and motivational learning activities resulted in effective outcomes (Lee, 1997). Finally, curricular programs such as tutoring (House & Wohlt, 1990) and freshmen orientation courses (House & Kuchynka, 1997) have been shown to produce improved student achievement outcomes.

Students' affective characteristics (such as academic self-concept and achievement motivation) are significant predictors of subsequent academic achievement. For instance, those self-beliefs have been found to predict the grade performance and achievement test scores of elementary and secondary school-aged students (Lyon, 1993; Lyon & MacDonald, 1990; Song & Hattie, 1984). …

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