The Effects of Contracts with Self-Imposed and Externally-Imposed Study Contingencies on the Chapter Scores of University Students
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The Problem. To compare the effects of contracts with self-imposed contingencies and with counselor-imposed contingencies on the study behavior and chapter scores of freshmen in a personalized psychology course. Procedure. Eleven provisionally admitted university freshmen, who averaged below a C in Psychology I, made weekly schedules to study in the library and take chapter tests. Three types of schedules were investigated : schedules without contingencies, contracts with self-imposed contingencies, and contracts with contingencies imposed by the counselor. Findings. The results showed that schedules with externally imposed contingencies were effective in altering study behavior, i.e. studying in the library and taking tests; but little change was demonstrated in the product of the behavior, i.e. chapter scores. Conclusions. Studying, i.e. sitting quietly in the library with an open book, as defined in this study does not mean that effective study behavior such as reading or self-quizzing is occurring at the same time. Recommendations. Contracts to improve academic performance must place contingencies on well defined and observed study behavior.
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