The effects of contingency avoidance on programmed student achievement
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If it is assumed that student failure in the classroom situation is the result of inadequate performance skills rather than a lack of ability, then the attention of the educator should more properly be directed at teaching the student to develop effective methods of studying. The present experiment employed a Programmed Student Achievement (PA) procedure which required that the student evidence 100% mastery of discrete units of material. Two PA contingencies which differed in the intensity of the consequence of failing to evidence mastery were used, testing the hypothesis that the PA effect is analogous to avoidance conditioning. In addition, generalization of the effect of PA on performance in courses taken concurrently was evaluated. The performance of PA students was found to be significantly superior to that of control students on both weekly quizzes and major exams; however, performance under the two experimental contingencies did not differ. Additionally, the PA effect did not generalize to performance in other courses. The implication of these data for an avoidance hypothesis account of the PA effect is discussed.
KeywordsPresent Experiment Education Research Student Achievement Performance Skill Avoidance Conditioning
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