The development of a technique to examine the congruence between instructional objectives and questions planned by social studies student teachers

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of the study was, to develop and implement a technique which could be used to explore the congruency with respect to cognitive levels and value between the instructional objectives and questions planned by social studies student teachers. Specifically, a macrocosmic view of congruency as well as a microcosmic view of congruency was obtained by analyzing the objectives and questions from one unit of instruction planned by each of the eleven student teachers in the study. The macrocosmic view examined the congruency between the unit objectives and the examination questions which were designed to measure attainment of those objectives. For a microcosmic view, objectives from a daily lesson plan from the same unit were examined and compared for congruency with the key questions planned to guide discussion for that daily lesson plan. A comparison of the macrocosmic view and microcosmic view was included.

The measure used in this study, the Cognitive Index, was specifically designed to reflect the cognitive level and the value of an objective or question. The objectives and questions were classified into two cognitive categories—higher and lower — based on a modified version of Bloom's (1956) classification scheme of educational objectives. The weight or value of the objectives and _ questions was determined by the student teacher who created them.

The comparison of the cognitive indices revealed that the student teachers tended to be more congruent in their daily planning as compared to their unit planning. In addition, the student teachers tended to design unit test questions with more emphasis at a lower cognitive level than the cognitive level of their unit objectives. Although more congruency was revealed between daily objectives and daily key questions, the daily planning cognitive indices did reveal a tendency for the student teachers to plan oral key questions at a level equal to or higher than the daily objectives indicated.

Furthermore, the student teachers in junior high schools tended to be more congruent than the student teachers in high school. The high school student teachers had a tendency to design both unit and daily objectives at higher levels than their test questions and oral key questions. In contrast, the junior high school student teachers tended to design test and oral key questions at a higher level than their objectives.

The results of the study indicated several implications for teacher education and inservice teachers. In addition, suggestions for further research are presented.

instruction objectives