A Comparison of Two Testing Schedules for Purposes of Student Self-Pacing
The Problem. The educational procedure of PSI is often accompanied by student procrastination. Previous research on this problem has relied upon instructor control of student study and test-taking behavior. The present study investigated the effects of manipulation of unit deadlines in order to decrease instructor control. Procedures. The reduction of instructor control was accomplished by increasing the amount of time and material between deadlines. Another group was teasted under a traditional schedule in which deadlines were approximately equal days apart and covered similar amounts of materials. Comparisons between the groups' patterns of test-taking behavior were made over the last five weeks of each semester. Findings. Both groups waited until the last thirteen days of the comparison period to take the majority of their tests. However, the reduction of instructor control group completed slightly more work earlier in the comparison period. Conclusions. Neither the reduction of control schedule or the traditional schedule led to students progressing consistently through the comparison period. Although the reduction of instructor control group completed slightly more work earlier in the period, the data may be accounted for by other factors. Recommendations. The present study changed deadlines regardless of students' pacing behavior. Future studies should take into account the behavior itself and attempt to decrease instructor control dependent upon current pacing behavior. Two possible techniques to utilize are shaping and self-control.
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