Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Simon, Seymore||Grier, J. Brown

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Educational psychology; Teaching


This study investigated whether the opportunity to ask for help affected the allocation of instruction time in a class of six students. The research also examined whether subjects acting as teachers would (l) refer a student for help, (2) select particular students as needing help, and (3) seek assistance from selected professionals. The class of six students was simulated on a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-11 computer. The simulated student learning parameters were defined in terms of a modified Thurstone (1930) learning function. Two students were defined as having a plateau in their learning curves which made them appear to stop learning. Introductory psychology students acting as teachers allocated instruction time and made referral decisions by means of a Model VTO5 remote terminal. It was found that the ability to ask for help affected the manner in which teachers allocated time to group instruction. More specifically, those who asked for help allocated more time to group instruction than those who were not allowed to ask for help. It was also found that the earlier a subject asked for help, the more time he or she gave to group instruction. The ability to ask for help did not affect the maner in hich time was allocated among individuals. However, the achievement level of the simulated students did affect the manner in which time x*as allocated to individual instruction, with students having the lowest achievement levels receiving the most instruction time. This finding supports previous research by Grier, Simon, and Ditrichs (197$) and Grier (1976). Teachers were sensitive to students with apparent learning difficulties. When given the opportunity to ask for help, not only did the majority of teachers ask for help, but they requested aid for the student having the most apparent difficulty at the time the referral was made. In choosing a professional to help them, teachers differentiated between whether the apparent learning problem occurred from the onset of the teaching sessions, or developed during the course of the instructional session. In the former instance, they requested a learning disabilities teacher and another teacher, while in the latter instance they requested help from the counselor and the school psychologist. It was noted that observations of time allocations made by teachers in a natural classroom setting must be conducted in order to validate the findings of research done with computer simulated students.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vii, 97 pages




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