Evidence of a Better Way to Teach

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(11), 811–812. Reviews the book, Behavioral Instruction: An Evaluative Review by Kent R. Johnson and Robert S. Ruskin (see record 1978-21792-000). In this book, Johnson and Ruskin summarize evidence on the effectiveness of one of the most promising innovations in college teaching since the invention of the 50-minute lecture. They describe the “personalized system of instruction” (PSI), also known as the Keller plan, on which an impressive amount of research has been conducted during the past decade. The defining features of PSI include frequent quizzing, self-pacing, peer proctoring, and mastery learning. The authors point out strengths and weaknesses in the methodologies of the various studies summarized, present negative as well as positive evidence, attempt to explain contradictory results by pointing out important differential features, and propose needed research. The authors are to be reinforced for providing us with a concise and readable documentation of the evidence on behavioral instruction. It is an impressive picture they paint. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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