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IMPORTANCE OF GRADING AND TEST SCORES
1.1 Background To The Study
During the instructional process, students are given the instructional goals and objectives, which address the skills they should be able to perform. They are given information that is necessary to perform these skills. Opportunities are provided for this knowledge to be exercised in a controlled environment with accessibility to resources and assistance if needed.
The learners are given the opportunity to model the appropriate behaviours in an isolated and independent setting to accomplish their instructional goals and objectives through the administering of homework. The teacher provides feedback on their accomplishments and provides insight on strategies that could be used to increase performance on academic tasks. Once the student has mastered the skills, they are able to transfer and apply them to other situations that may differ from the one in which the skill s were learned.
From primary school through secondary school, the teacher controls the process of learning. Instructors establish the goals and objectives; and apply strategy towards how the student will be taught the information. Activities and assessments are developed to monitor and evaluate progress toward their accomplishment of tasks. They are developed based on the criteria of the goals and objectives. At this academic level, goals and objectives are instituted by external sources (e.g., teachers and administrators).
In order to place a value on what is being leaned. A numerical grade is usually issued. Grades and test scores have come to determine the academic merit of students and schools’ efforts in educating students. The importance of grading and test scores has influenced teachers to focus more on the content of what is to be learned. Through the strategies they employ in delivering instruction, teachers have taken ownership in how the students learn the information.
Instructors also take responsibility for regulating the learning process, and evaluate the level of success according to criteria they (the teachers) have set. Instructors take it upon themselves to structure the learning environment and motivate students through extrinsic rewards or verbal gratification. The student perceives his or her ability from the evaluation of the teacher. The importance of grades is transferred from the teacher to the student and grading become the motivation for student to learn and accomplished tasks.
This reliance on grades may cause the student to compare their progress to others in the class. Based on those comparisons, they may attribute their success or failure in the instruction correctly. This may lead them to make negative attribution and incorrectly perceive their ability. Varying experiences encountered with different teachers within changing learning domains, this incorrect perception may transfer across these domains the diligence and attention educators take in regulating their student learning provides evidence of the importance of this ability.
However, the student is given minimal opportunities to practice the strategies of their learning. The opportunity to do so occurs when the student is given independent class work or homework. The student is more concerned about the content and end product of learning situation. Less attention is paid to the process and how learning takes place. The skills necessary to self-regulation learning are not formally taught to ‘’regular’’ students. The student may vicariously acquire these skills through observations of strategies that the instructor uses to teach the material or behaviors of their peers around them. It is the intention of formal education to produce independent.
Self-regulated, learners. Evidence of such is in the transition from high external involvement with elementary school student to complete autonomy of learning experienced by undergraduate, graduate, and adult learners. In order to understand what self-regulation learners is, the learner must be aware of the phase, processes, sub- processes, and factors responsible for self regulated. There are necessary constructs that need to be recognized and the employment of necessary of appropriate action and behaviors to facilitate this process. They are important to the development and assessment of self-regulated learning. The values of the constructs, phases, processes, and strategies of self-regulated learning have been derived and formulate according to a variety of theoretical frameworks and established practically through empirical findings.
Self-regulated learner has been related to high academic performance (Zimmerman and Martinez –pons, 1992). Goal, motivation and self-efficacy have been found as influential factors according to the phases. Processes, and sub processes of self-regulated learning. Goals are the standards by which learner compare and evaluate their progression. Learners oriented their goals as either intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic goals orientation has been related to greater self-regulated learning strategies use and skill acquisition (Schunk and Swarz, 1993a).
The believe that one is making progress toward goals, along with anticipated satisfaction of goal attainment, enhances self-efficacy and sustain motivation (Schunk,1996). Stone (2002) summarizes the relationship between goals, motivation, self- efficacy and self-regulated learning behaviors. Self-efficacy reflect the confidence in one’s ability to complete tasks, influencing the type of goal orientation. A positive concept, specifically high self-efficacy, should invoke more self-regulation. Learners who are confident and can learn material are more likely to implement self- regulated learning strategies resulting in academic achievement.
According to social cognitive theory, self-regulated learning include personal (cognitive), behavioral, and environment variables(Bandura, 1986). These three constructs produce a triadic reciprocity with one another meaning there are interdependent. The catalysts that sustain this relationship, according to Badura (1977), is self-efficacy. In this triadic relationship environment prompt the learner to incorporate strategies that are effective in the environment in which they are used.
Observing and emulating the behavior within the environment establish this perception. It is necessary the environment provide social assistance to guide the process of implementation of the behavior. According to social cognitive theory, the goal orientation, motivation and behaviors employed are affected by the self-efficacy of the learner
according to different domains or environments in which they learn. The most adaptive, self-regulated learners modify and change their beliefs as a function of the task or context (Garcoa & Pintrich, 1994). The environment impacts the self-regulated strategy a learner employs.
National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) deliver instruction in an environment where students and instructors are separated by time and space. It is an environment that has promoted a feeling of transactional distance in older distance learners giving them a feeling of isolation from the instructor (Mclsaac & Gunawardena, 1996). Styles and Zariski (2000) did not perceive web-based environments as optimal in providing feedback or explanation due to the lack of interaction. Interaction between content, student, and teacher are immediate and proximal in traditional settings. In web-based instruction, the interaction between students and instructor is minimized. This type of isolation requires the learner to self-regulate their motivation, confidence, and cognitive abilities in an isolated environment.
Wilson(1997) hypothesized the use of self-regulatory behaviors are more critical when distance learning is the primary method of instruction than in traditional classrooms. He also pointed out modeled behavior is lacking in distance education environments, especially in web-based instruction. The isolation minimizes the students’ observation of self-regulation.
This lack of observation hinders emulation and self-controlled opportunities to become self-regulated. This is necessary in order for a learner to be efficacious about the impact the use of these strategies has on academic performance. This self-regulated learners has to be behaviorally, motivationally and meta- cognitively aware.
The relationship between learning strategies, environment and academic performance has been empirically established among students of higher institutions in traditional settings (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons 1996). Evidence suggests the combination of personal environment and social factors must be taken into account when predicting academic success in distance programs (Mclsaac & Gunawardena, 1996). The environment or social variables will influence the learners’ goals, motivation, and self-efficacy. This will influence the learners behaviour and
ultimately academic performance. Social cognitive theory proclaim self-regulation is context specific. Given this, the contextually learning environment promoted by distance education, requires the relationship between learning strategies, school environment and academic performance to be investigated.
For over two decades, social learning researchers have conducted research on such self-regulatory processes as self-reinforcement (e. g., Bandura, Grusec, & Menlove, 1967; Bandura & Kupers, 1964), standard setting (e. g., Mischel & Liebert, 1966), delay of gratification (e. g. , Mischel, 1981; Mischel & Bandura, 1965), goal setting (e. g. , Bandura & Schunk, 1981; Schunk, 1985), self-efficacy perceptions (e. g. , Bandura, 1982a; Schunk, 1984; Zimmerman & Ringle, 1981), self-instructions (Schunk, 1986; Schunk & Rice, 1984), and self-evaluation (e. g. , Bandura & Cervone, 1983, 1986).
During this period of time, a number of researchers have tried to integrate this research into general models of self-regulation (e. g. , Bandura, 1977a, 1986; Thoresen & Mahoney, 1974; Zimmerman, 1981, 1983). Bandura's
seminal role in proposing and studying self-regulation component processes, their determinants, and their interrelationship is evident in many of these accounts. An initial formulation of self-regulated academic learning, offered as follows, incorporates many social learning constructs and assumptions.
A learning strategy can be described as self-regulated to the degree that they are metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning process (Zimmerman, 1986, 1989). Such students personally initiate and direct their own efforts to acquire knowledge and skill rather than relying on teachers, parents, or other agents of institution. To qualify specifically as self-regulated in my account, students' learning must involve the use of specified strategies to achieve academic goals on the basis of self-efficacy perceptions.
This definition assumes the importance of three elements: students' self-regulated learning strategies, self-efficacy perceptions of performance skill, and commitment to academic goals. Self-regulated learning strategies are actions and processes directed at acquiring information or skill that involve agency, purpose, and instrumentality perceptions by learners. They include such methods as organizing and transforming information, selfconsequating, seeking information, and rehearsing or using memory aids (Zimmerman & Martinez Pons, 1986). Self-efficacy refers to perceptions about one's capabilities to organize and implement actions necessary to attain designated performance of skill for specific tasks (Bandura, 1986). Academic goals such as grades, social esteem, or postgraduation employment opportunities can vary extensively in nature and in time of attainment. My proposed definition follows Thoresen and Mahoney's (1974) lead in describing human self-regulation on the basis of a temporal gradient. Although they were primarily concerned with the impact of disparities between immediate and delayed environmental outcomes on behavioral functioning, my definition focuses on how learners represent contemporary actions and conditions in terms of strategies for reaching subsequent goals.
It assumes a motivational orientation by learners that is sustained by continuing self-perceptions of efficacy when performing a specific task. Thus in order for students' strategic actions to be described as self-regulated, one must know their academic goals and perceptions of efficacy. For example, one cannot define students' going out for coffee after studying as a self-consequating strategy without knowing their purpose for using this strategy (i. e., to improve motivation) and their perceptions of efficacy when using it (e. g. , of completing more homework).