Results and Discussion Characteristics

 Results and Discussion
Characteristics of the Studies
Before considering the findings reported in research on the effectiveness of
study skills programs, we examined the characteristics of the studies from which
conclusions about this research will be drawn.
The first characteristic was the quality of the studies, as we wished to exclude
studies of low quality. Quality was assessed on the basis of consensus between the
independent ratings agreed to by the three authors. The prime concerns were that
the study be based on reasonable sample sizes, have a control (e.g., pretest and
posttest, or control and experimental groups), and use reliable tests. The eight lowquality studies (with 14 effect sizes) had a greater mean effect size than the
remaining studies.

 Given typical advice in conducting these analyses, they could
not be meaningfully included in the final sample and thus were dropped from all
further analyses.
Table 2 shows many of the characteristics of the various effect sizes. As shown
by the central tendencies of these characteristics, studies generally were based on
reasonably large sample sizes using school age students and were published
relatively recently in journals (median = 1986). The programs were implemented
by teachers for classes of students, although, as will be shown later, the majority
of study skills packages (a) were implemented in universities wherein students
self-selected to participate, (b) were conducted for atypical students (the low,
high, and underachievers), (c) used a variety of study skills assessments, and (d)
included 96 students (range 7 to 226). There were 30 effect sizes that included
follow-up evaluations,

 typically of 108 days, and the effect sizes declined to an
average of 0.10.
Overall Summary of the Relative Evaluation of Study Skills Programs
In presenting the findings of our meta-analysis, we first consider the overall
effect sizes in the study skills programs and then report a number of models
showing that several characteristics of the studies moderated the overall results.
The mean weighted effect size was 0.45, with a standard error of 0.03, and the
overall homogeneity statistic was 3,246.99 (df = 269, p < .001), which indicates
that the overall mean may not be the most typical value, as there are many
moderator variables that mediate this mean. When the study was the unit of

analysis, the mean weighted effect size was 0.63.
A stem-and-leaf diagram of these effects is presented in Figure 1. As can be
seen, there is marked positive skew. A close inspection of the quality of the studies
which produced the 26 effect sizes greater than 1.4 did not reveal any pattern.
These 26 effects came from 11 different studies, and the mean across all effect
sizes within these 11 studies was close to the overall mean, which indicates that
the largest effects were not unique to any particular cohort.
A mean of 0.45 can be interpreted with reference to other influences on
outcomes in education. Hattie (1987, 1992) outlined a measurement procedure for ascertaining the typical effect of most innovations in education. Based on a
synthesis of 304 meta-analyses, he ascertained that an effect size of 0.40 was a
benchmark from which various innovations could be interpreted (Table 3). 

is, across the 304 meta-analyses, based on more than 40,567 studies, the typical
effect size in educational interventions was 0.40. Of course, this is a global
benchmark, and more refined comparisons can be made to interventions similar to
the study skills interventions considered here. Table 3 presents a range of innovations, and it can be seen that the overall effect of study skills programs is close to the typical benchmark figure of 0.40. There were six effects relating to study skills
embedded within other meta-analyses. These are listed in Table 4, and three are
greater than the typical classroom innovation effect size.

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