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Promoting Student Achievement With Effective Objectives

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Assessing Teaching and Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.955.1 - 8.955.17

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Paper Authors

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Michael Doran

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Leo Denton

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Dawn McKinney

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3530

Promoting Student Achievement With Integrated Affective Objectives

Leo F. Denton, Dawn McKinney, Michael V. Doran

University of South Alabama School of Computer and Information Sciences Mobile, Alabama 36688

In contrast to the perception that the low graduation rates in the SMET (Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology) disciplines are a result of a “normal weed-out process,” studies show that large percentages of students are capable but choose not to persist, while others despite their dissatisfaction persist to graduation.14, 30, 27, 29 Primary reasons for dissatisfaction and departure include non-sustained student interest in the discipline and a lack of the sense of belonging.14, 30, 32 Moreover, affective measures have been shown to be better indicators of early student departure.33 For students who do persist to graduation, dissatisfaction negatively affects employee qualities identified by ABET and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE 2001). 1 Most of these factors, such as honesty/integrity, teamwork skills, interpersonal skills, motivation/initiative, strong work ethic, flexibility/adaptability, and self-confidence, fall into the affective domain. Because the development of affective qualities has been correlated with student achievement, the aim of affective efforts need not be on retaining students, but rather on student achievement and retention will naturally follow. 30

The fact that student interest, belonging, motivation, and most of the NACE qualities are affective in nature suggests that an organized approach to foster appropriate affective growth could favorably impact student success in SMET disciplines. Standard levels of affective growth have been defined in Krathwohl’s affective taxonomy: receiving, responding, valuing, organizing, and characterization. 13 This paper recommends the integration of discipline-based affective objectives into curricula to enliven, incorporate, and sustain the energy of students in order to attain higher cognitive and affective achievement.

Our experience has centered on the freshmen problem-solving and programming sequence in the School of Computer and Information Science at our medium-size, state university. We anticipate that this approach is widely applicable throughout our curriculum and is adaptable to other SMET disciplines. We began with the freshman year, because national and local data indicate that the majority of students leave SMET disciplines and college as well by the end of their freshman year.29, 30 Integrated with cognitive objectives, affective objectives served to provide higher quality cognitive experiences for students and served to retain students who might otherwise have left the discipline for reasons other than academic difficulty. Building on prior work, our enhanced approach began with the definition and integration of specific affective objectives which supported the internalization of cognitive objectives and professional practices. Affective-cognitive growth was pursued through methodologies which included active and cooperative learning, student self-reflection, classroom discussion, and student incorporation into

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Doran, M., & Denton, L., & McKinney, D. (2003, June), Promoting Student Achievement With Effective Objectives Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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