The Effect of a Class-based Point System on Correspondence Between Planned and Actual Study Time for College Freshmen
Cohen, Jed Maynard
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The problem. To assess the effectiveness of a laboratory based point system on the production and maintenance of both yes-no correspondence (number of days students planned to attend and attended a study Enrichment Laboratory) and continuous correspondence (number of 15 minute units students planned to attend and attended a study Enrichment Laboratory). Procedure. Eighteen freshmen. were required to earn 18,000 points to pass Study Enrichment Laboratory. Students indicated the times they planned to attend a monitored study laboratory on a daily planning sheet. The number of days and amount of time students attended the laboratory were recorded four evenings each week for 11 weeks. Points were given free during baseline conditions and were available at other times for yes-no and continuous planned attendance at the Enrichment Laboratory and for yes-no and continuous correspondence between planned attendance and attendance at the Enrichment Laboratory. Findings. When points were contingent on correspondence, students who planned to attend and attended the study laboratory infrequently during baseline showed increased correspondence between number of days planned and attended (yes-no correspondence) but not between amount of time planned and attended (continuous correspondence). Yes-no correspondence was not maintained when the point contingency was removed. Students who planned to attend and attended the study laboratory frequently during baseline showed increased correspondence between both days planned and attended (yes-no correspondence) and amount of time planned and attended (continuous correspondence). Only yes-no correspondence was maintained when the contingency was removed. Conclusions. Some students trained in correspondence procedures were able to maintain yes-no correspondence even after the reinforcement contingency was withdrawn. However, yes-no correspondence may not be beneficial to a student if the amount of time studied remains low. Recommendations. Methods of training continuous correspondence should be investigated further. Eventually it may be possible to provide correspondence training for students which would allow them to later maintain high levels of studying without explicit monitoring and reinforcement.
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