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The design, development and evaluation of a personalized system of instruction in a Chemistry I course at a College of Advanced Education.


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Donovan, W. F.(William Francis) (1977) The design, development and evaluation of a personalized system of instruction in a Chemistry I course at a College of Advanced Education. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis describes the design, development, and
evaluation of a personalized system of instruction (PSI) in a Chemistry I course at an Australian college of advanced
The research project had three main aims:
1. To design and develop integrated, self-paced theory
and practical courses in Chemistry I using the PSI
2. To construct a course evaluation model and to evaluate
the Chemistry I course using this model.
3. To investigate the relationship between personality
and performance of students in the PSI Chemistry I
course and a more conventionally taught Biology I
A description is given of the operation of the PSI Chemistry
I course. Essentially the five major features of PSI, as
identified by its founder, F.S. Keller, were incorporated in the
course. These features were: self-pacing; mastery orientation;
student proctors; an emphasis on written and oral communication;
and motivational lectures.
PSI derives its rationale from two major principles of
educational psychology. Firstly, that students should be
provided with a set of terminal behaviors which clearly specify
outcomes; secondly, a system of rewards should be set up and
managed so that their application is contingent upon positive
behavior by the students. Personalized systems of instruction
can be traced as an application of behavior theory in conjunction
with the social aspect of treating individual students
as important.
The research design employed was based on the case study
approach to the course evaluation process. A multiple methods
evaluation strategy was developed to implement the model, with
a particular extension of the model to self-evaluation by the
instructor. The strategy involved formative evaluation in the
initial design and development stages of the project.
The process of course design and development was identified
as comprising the first stage of the evaluation strategy. The
second part of the strategy could be termed the illuminative
stage in which major issues involved in the PSI course were
identified and then focused on. The research methods used were:
observation, feedback slips, analysis of course materials,
questionnaires, interviews, outside evaluator assistance,
student records, written comments, and a pre-test, post-test
study of the relationship between personality and student
A feature of the PSI course was the demands it placed •
on the management of a complex teaching-learning system. As
well as incorporating the elements of the original Keller plan,
a PSI learning centre was designed and constructed in order to
provide asuitable social learning environment. It was found
possible, within the normal constraints of a college system,
to run a resource efficient, cost-effective, innovative PSI
program in Chemistry I.
Performance of students in the PSI course, as measured
by grades achieved, were at least as good as in the conventional
course of 1973. The problem of procrastination and dropouts
was successfully combated by several measures.
From course questionnaire results it was concluded that
students reacted very favourably to the PSI Chemistry I course
and that their interest in the subject had increased during the
A pre-test, post-test study of the relationship between
personality and performance was carried out. Overall, the
results suggested that conscientious, responsible, and conforming
students performed well in both a traditional biology
course and the PSI Chemistry I course. In particular, however,
it was found possible to pre-determine from personality profiles
which students had greater probability of being at risk in the
PSI Chemistry I course. Such students had personality profiles
whose Californian Personality Inventory scores varied, in any
direction, by large amounts from the mean scores. A further
finding was that divergent thinkers were more likely to succeed
in PSI Chemistry I than convergent thinkers.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Chemistry
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1977 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Includes bibliographical references. Thesis (M.Ed.) - University of Tasmania, 1978

Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2014 23:53
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2016 00:25
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