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The Effectiveness of Alternative Instructional Media: A Survey USAID

Jamison, Dean T.; Suppes, Patrick; Wells, Stuart
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology.--Committee on Education and Human Resources., National Science Foundation (NSF), Classroom Environment, Computer Assisted Instruction, Educational Media, Educational Television, Program Evaluation, Programed Instruction, Radio, Surveys


An overview of research on the effectiveness of alternative instructional media is provided in this survey. The media discussed are: 1) programed instruction (PI); 2) traditional classroom instruction (TI); 3) instructional radio (IR); 4) instructional television (ITV); and 5) computer-assisted instruction (CAI). A paradigm for effectiveness measurements is presented, and several less desirable alternatives that have been used are discussed. The determinants of a student's scholastic achievement in a traditional classroom setting are reviewed. Much of the work reviewed uses multiple regression analysis to relate a student's achievement test scores to attributes of his school environment, his teachers, his background, and socioeconomic status. The review of school effectiveness studies is summarized in tabular form. It is subdivided by variable. Only studies at the elementary and secondary levels are presented here. Class size is perhaps the most economically significant variable in TI. A number of studies on the cognitive effects of class size are summarized. Evidence on the extent, and sometimes, the effect of how IR has been used in many different countries is provided. The conclusions of the two former surveys on the effectiveness of IR are reported. Several controlled experiments evaluating IR and audio recordings are presented in more depth. Conclusions of two recent literature reviews on the effectiveness of ITV are summarized with respect to achievement and attitudes toward the use of the medium. ITV and student achievement, and attitudes toward ITV are discussed. A number of reviews on the evaluation of PI are reviewed. Evaluations of CAI have been done for most educational levels. The most extensively researched area is that of drill and practice programs in elementary reading and mathematics. College-level studies are also included. Students learn effectively from all 5 forms of media; few studies indicate a significant difference in one over another. Conclusions are given, as are policy implications and directions for further research. (SGK) (103pp.)

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