This quasi-experimental design study addressed the issue of how to help middle school students who received "D" and "F" grades in the first quarter of the school year improve their home study habits. The method used was to meet for a total of seven weeks in small groups of parent/student pairs and use a combination of behavioral psychology and educational interventions. In particular, each student was required to keep track of on-task time by using a stopwatch and recording self-collected information. Students were also instructed about how to read books for recall, take notes, study for tests, rewrite papers, and use mnemonic devices.
Significant results were obtained for grade point average, length of time studied, student ratings of study behavior, and parent ratings of study behavior. There was no improvement on a spelling and geography test given by the examiner. After the intervention was completed, the students did not hold their gains in the next quarter. However, it appears clearly possible to improve student study habits in seven weeks. Suggested future research might focus on ways to sustain these gains within the school setting.
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