Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
William Pfohl, Doris Redfield, John O’Connor
Department of Psychology
Master of Arts
This pilot study investigated the usage of Feuerstein’s (1980) Instrumental Enrichment with underprepared college students. Open admissions policies in colleges and universities have resulted in the enrollment of many students who are underprepared to meet the academic task demands. Courses have been developed by the colleges and universities to remediate the academic deficits of underprepared students. Remedial courses using traditional educational methods have been largely ineffective. Cognitive process instruction (CPI) is an area of educational research that recently began to receive increased attention in the field of remedial education. The goal of CPI has been to develop the cognitive/thought processes of students. Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment (IE) is a CPI program which had success in remediating the thinking and learning deficits of adolescent students. IE had not been used with a college population in the United States prior to this study. The major question was whether the use of IE would enhance the thinking and learning skills of underprepared college students and, thus, increase their abilities to achieve satisfactorily in college. The study included 65 college student subjects administratively defined as underprepared (ACT composite score below 16). The subjects were enrolled in four sections of a “Success Strategies” course developed for underprepared students. The 29 experimental subjects received approximately 13 hours of IE instruction. The 36 control subjects received an equivalent amount of instruction in college “success strategies” such as goal setting, decision making, and study skills. The dependent variables were: (a) intelligence, as measured by the Nonverbal Battery of the Lorge-Thorndike Intelligence Test; (b) self concept, as measured by the Tennessee Self Concept Scale (TSCS); (c) grade point average (GPA); (d) attrition/withdrawal rate of students; (e) descriptive data obtained from experimenter-designed study habits questionnaires and course evaluations. An analysis of covariance was used to analyze the Lorge-Thorndike and TSCS pretest and posttest scores. An analysis of variance was used to analyze the GPA data; and the attrition data were submitted to a chi-square analysis. A variety of appropriate procedures (e.g., t-test, chi-square, analysis of variance) were used to analyze the descriptive data obtained from the study habits questionnaires and course evaluations. No significant differences between groups were found for the Lorge-Thorndike, TSCS, GPA, or attrition rate analyses. The GPA data analyses indicated that: (a) mean GPA declined significantly across both groups when remedial course grades were removed from overall GPA (F = 55.15; df = 2, 88; p < .01; and (b) overall mean GPA declined significantly across both groups from the Fall 1981 to Spring 1982 semesters (F = 19.98; df = 1, 40; p < .01). The only significant between group difference for the descriptive data analyses indicated that the experimental group anticipated and reported studying more hours per week than the control group (F = 8.91; df = 1, 40; p < .01). The GPA results were the reverse of the hypothesized effect. The reasons for the differences in study hours were not clear. The hypothesis that IE would enhance the thinking and learning skills of underprepared college students was not supported. Three interpretations that together or separately may account for the lack of a treatment effect were: (a) IE, as it was applied to this study, was not a valid appropriate CPI intervention with underprepared college students; (b) the duration of the IE treatment was insufficient to produce the hypothesized effects; and/or (c) the evaluation instruments were not sensitive to changes in the experimental group students, if in fact changes did occur. It was recommended that future research increase the duration of the IE treatment; apply or develop more sensitive evaluation instruments; and/or consider alternative programs.
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Kieta, Michael, "The Use of Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment with Underprepared College Students: A Pilot Study" (1983). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 1771.
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