Date of Award:

1973

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Keith T. Checketts

Abstract

The evaluation of student achievement in college has only recently become an important area of research. The main focus of this study was to determine the achievement of students in introductory social science courses offered by the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Utah State University. Several other variables were considered throughout the study including (1) the achievement of students in introductory courses offered by other colleges than the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, (2) the effects of using standardized and teacher-made tests in measuring achievement, and (3) the achievement gain/loss of students tested two months after the completion of the course.

The students in four introductory courses--Political Science 111, Sociology 101, Geology 101, and Economics 200--were tested. The students in Political Science 111 and Economics 200 were tested with standardized tests specific to the subject area. The students in Sociology 101 and Geology 101 were tested with teacher-made tests. All students were given a pretest at the beginning of the course and a posttest at the conclusion of the course. The students in Sociology 101 and Geology 101 were tested a third time two months after the termination of the course to measure long term retention.

Null hypotheses were used in the study. The analysis of variance with the F-test of significance was employed at the .01 level of significance for the primary hypothesis and the .05 level for the subsidiary hypotheses. In conclusion, the data indicated that students in introductory social science courses offered by the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences--Political Science 111 and Sociology 101--showed an increase in knowledge after taking those courses. The data also showed increases in knowledge of those students laking introductory courses--Geology 101 and Economics 200--which were offered by colleges other than the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

The data in relation to the subsidiary hypotheses indicated that (1) students in introductory courses offered by other colleges at USU showed larger knowledge gains than the students in the introductory social science courses offered by the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, (2) students in courses measured with teacher-made tests scored higher than the students in courses measured with standardized tests, and (3) an interaction existed between the method of testing and the college offering the course. Finally, the students in the two courses--Sociology 101 and Geology 101--who were tested two months after the completion of the course continued to show positive achievement gains.