An evaluation of a two year cognitive intervention programme in technology education for Key Stage 4

A Hamaker, P Jordan, J Backwell
1998, Vol. 3, No. 1,

Abstract


We reported (in Vol. 1 No 2 1996) an interim evaluation of the effects of a small-scale cognitive intervention programme in technology. The subjects in this study were 120 Year 10 students (15+) attending a girls comprehensive school in an inner London. Education Authority. The students were randomly placed in eight all ability classes according to the normal school practice and policy. Three experimental classes (45 students) and five control classes (75 students) were identified. The new head of design and technology had targeted this year group in order to try to raise achievement of a group of students in a domain which had not previously performed as effectively as had been expected.

The teacher would be taking the three experimental groups designated 10.1, 10.2, 10.5. Two other teachers would have the responsibility of teaching the five control classes. Unfortunately we were unable to establish a control group being taught by the teacher of the experimental groups.

The model that was adopted for the study utilised principles from Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education (CASE) (the five pillars), from Instrumental Enrichment and from the Somerset Thinking Skills project. The essential feature of the study was to concentrate on enhancing the students' thinking, reasoning and problem solving capability with the teacher acting as a mediator and director of the activities and of the discussion that occurred. (For details see pp 121-124 Vol. 1 No 21996).

The results suggested that the intenention was having a positive but modest effect in technology achievement on the experimental classes, but that there was little or no effect in other areas of the curriculum that we were investigating.

This article is a follow-up to the original paper and presents further data showing the effects of the inteNention after the full two years of the programme. The subjects, design and methodology adopted throughout this project are described in the original paper (Hamaker et al 1996).The established groups with their corresponding teachers are summarised in Table 1. Each of the experimental classes had one core technology lesson replaced by an inteNention lesson each fortnight. Class 10.2 had a further graphical communication option replaced by an intervention lesson each fortnight. The five control classes received a normal allocation of technology core and option lessons. The tests and measures used for analyses are similar to that already described (Hamaker et al 1996). Further clarification on the nature of these tests and measures can be obtained from the authors of this article.


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