Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 345–360

Undergraduates' Evaluations of Developmental Claims and Their Identification of Information Sources


  • Sherry K. Bain
    • Educational Psychology and CounselingUniversity of Tennessee
  • Robert L. Williams
    • Educational Psychology and CounselingUniversity of Tennessee
  • Rachael Isaacs
    • School Psychology ProgramUniversity of Tennessee
  • Ashley Williams
    • School Psychology ProgramUniversity of Tennessee
  • Susan Stockdale
    • Educational Psychology and Middle Grades EducationKennesaw State University

DOI: 10.1007/s10755-005-9001-5

Cite this article as:
Bain, S.K., Williams, R.L., Isaacs, R. et al. Innov High Educ (2006) 30: 345. doi:10.1007/s10755-005-9001-5


Students in a large human development course rated the accuracy of 50 developmental claims. Half of the claims were specifically embedded in the course content, but the remaining claims were not addressed in the course. Students also identified the major information source for each developmental claim rated. From the beginning to the end of the course, students (especially high performers) improved in evaluating the accuracy of course-related developmental claims and increasingly attributed their ratings of these claims to professional information sources. Our study underscores the importance of sensitizing students to the role of research evidence in judging the credibility of claims in general education courses.


developmental claimsinformation sourcesevaluation

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© Springer-Verlag 2006