Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Daniel Hursh.


This quasi-experimental study examined the use of daily drills as a supplemental instructional alternative for underprepared students enrolled in General Psychology courses at a midwestern open-admission community college. Underprepared students were defined as those students whose Nelson-Denny Reading Test score fell below community college entrance level criteria. Daily one-minute drills of course content were provided to all participants in the experimental group. Lectures, discussion, and class activities were provided to both groups. The experimental and control group were compared using retention data, reading scores, and exam scores. Although more students in the experimental group withdrew from the course, most withdrew for reasons unrelated to course performance. All students who withdrew from the control section of the course were failing the course. Although not specifically addressed, both groups demonstrated significant improvement in vocabulary, comprehension, and reading rate. For each of the five course units a set of questions was repeated on the pretest, unit exam, and posttest. In both groups, comparisons of correctly answered exam questions revealed significant improvement from the pretest to the unit exams and from the pretest to the posttest. On four of the five units, only the experimental group increased the number of correctly answered questions from the unit exam to the posttest. Anecdotal reports of student behavior suggested that the control group participated in self-initiated course-related study activities that the experimental group did not. Although there were more underprepared students in the experimental group and the control group reported additional study activities, course-related exam scores were similar between groups. The possibility that the one-minute drills may have provided an instructional tool that substituted for alternative study activities suggests the benefit of additional study of this time efficient and low cost instructional alternative for underprepared college students.