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ED 091 651 

CS 001 059 



Newman, Isadora 

A Systematic Approach and the Use of Instructional 
Objectives As An Aid in Teaching, 
Apr 74 

14p.; Paper presented at the Ohio College Council of 
the International Reading Association (Dayton, April 


HF-$0.75 HC-$1.50 PLUS POSTAGE 

Behavioral Objectives; College Students; Computer 
Assisted Instruction; Evaluation; ♦dodels; Reading; 
Reading Improvement; *Reading Instruction; *Reading 
Programs; Reading Skills; Teaching Techniques 


The purpose of this paper is to introduce a 
systematic teaching approach known as the General Teaching Model for 
instructing college students in reading. The model consists of 
identifying appropriate objectives for the student, pre-assessment 
prior to beginning instruction, instructional procedures designed to 
help the learner achieve the objectives, and evaluation. Examples of 
instructional objectives for reading and an example of 
individualizing reading using Computer Assisted Instruction as a 
special case of the more general teaching model are presented. 




A Systematic Approach and the Use of 
Instructional Objectives As An Aid In Teaching 


Isadora Ne wman 


Presented at the Ohio College Council of the 
International Reading Association 
Dayton, Ohio, April, 1974 

A Systematic Approach and the Use of Instructional Objectives 

As An Aid In Teaching 

The major purpose of this paper is to introduce a systematic teaching 
approach known as the General Teaching Model (GTM) . If used intelligently, 
this model will be a significant help in improving one's teaching effect- 
iveness. The model will first be introduced and its components will be 
briefly explained. 

Examples of instructional objectives for reading will be given since 
they are the basis of any systematic approach to instruction and the 
General Teaching Model. 

An example of individualizing reading using Compute]: Assisted Instruc- 
tion as a special case of the more general teaching model will be presented 

The basic underlying assumption of the General Teaching Model is that 
it is desirable to maximize the efficiency of instruction so that the 
student will learn what is desired for him to learn in the most effective 
manner. This .Tiodel uses evaluations to help decide on the needed change an 
modification in instruction to help the student learn and help the teacher 
decide if he has been *'successf ul" . 

A decision must be made as to what learning is to occur, what strategy 
is to be employed to bring it about, and as to what is the most effective 
manner of evaluating it. 

A Diagram for this Model and brief description of its components is 
given below. 

1 2-3 4 







1. Instructional Objectives * Instructional objectives are first 
identified by the teacher and/or students and selected on the 
basis of an analysis of desired learning outcomes and then 
specified in such a manner that it can be measured operationally. 

2* a) Pre-Assessment . Prior to beginning instruction, learners 
are pre-assessed to determine whether they possess the prere- 
quisite knowledge and skill to begin instruction, or whether 
they have already mastered some of the instructional objectives. 

3* Instructional Procedures. Instructional activities are designed 
to help learners efficiently achieve the specified objectives. 
Instructional principles, such as motivation , practice , graduated 
sequence , feedback , etc., with which the instructor employs 
various instructional methods (e.g. , lecture, discussion, 
independent study) , are employed in the design and implementation 
of instruction. (This component will not be dealt with in this 
paper) . 

4. Evaluation . Instruction is evaluated for efficiency in getting as 
many students as possible to master as many objectives as possible. 
Based on the results of an evaluation, modifications are made in 
the objectives, pre-:assessment , and/or instructional procedures, 
as needed to further maximize instructional efficiency. 

The one most important step is deciding on the objectives (goals). 
This process includes possible negotiation with students of their need 
assessments prior to finalization of instructional objectives. This 
would necessitate some flexibility in teacher-student dialogue early in 
a course to arrive at mutually agreeable objectives; but this process. 
If undertaken, would negate any objection that students were being treat- 
ed merely as "objects". This may be a useful means of involving the college 
student and it could yield positive by-products. For example a student with 
reading problems tends to have a low self -concept . Having him state his 
goals and help determine the best approach to achieve these goals may help 
him realize his worth. Increase his committment, and motivation. 

The first step that should be taken is to decide an appropriate objectives 
for the student. This can only be accomplished by some type of diagnostic 
testing or evaluation. Since we are concerned with the problem area of reading. 



the skills can be divided into two broad categories; decoding and communication. 
"Decoding is the rapid, if not automatic association of phonemes or phoneme 
groups with their respective graphic representations. Communication involves 
residing for meaning, aesthetic enjoyment, emphasis, and the like." (Atkinson, 1974). 

Possibly, a more helpful classification for producing a reading diagnostic 
test would be subdividing skills into five categories: sight words (memorized), 
context words (f ill-in-the-blank using context clues for meaning) , phonemes and 
phonics, structural analysis (root words, prefixes and suffixes), and dictionary 

To develop items for sight words, approximately twenty or thirty can be 
randomly selected from a larger list of sight words that one would expect the 
student to have at his command. The cloze technique can be a useful procedure ^ 
to determine a student ability to comprehend meaning. Phonics can be simply 
tested by having the student read Vowels and consonent sound while an instructor 
checks his accuracy. The same types of procedures can be used to test the 
student's knowledge of roocs, prefixes and suffixes, and dictionary skills can 
be determined by completing a variety of exercises such as locating words, using 
diacritical markings, etc. .... .. . 

If you are going to develop your. own diagnostic test » it should be tried 
on both students who are reading at a level you are comfortable with, and on 
students who have been identified as having reading problems, to see how well 
the test descriminates. (Along with this known group validity procedure, one 
should also get estimates of reliability.) An education psychologist or psycho- 
metrician could certainly be helpful in this area. (If you don't know any, you 
can contact me since I am both.) However, there are tests on the market that 
already do much of this. One such test is "Basic English Diagnostic Test or 
Pre-test," Computer Curriculum Corporation, 1970. 


Based on the diagnostic results, one can then re-evaluate the original 
goals and establish more specific instructional objectives to meet the assessed 
needs. The finalized objectives can then be used to determine the most effective 
teaching procedures for accomplishing the teaching task. These procedures may 
vary, including such things as group work, out of class assignments, programmed 
texts, computer assisted instruction, and a variety of other individualized 

The evaluation is the final part of the model and only through it can you 
determine your degree of success. It is also a learning procedure for the instruc 
tor since it yields information on which teaching procedures have been most 
effective and which need to be revamped. It is really only through an evaluation 
procedure that one can get an objective look at how to modify and improve his 
instruction. It is the basis on which the scientific method of self correction 
is founded. 

Your evaluation instrument can be the pre-test instrument given at the end 
of instruction, but it is generally a good idea, for a variety of reasons, not 
to use the same items. In addition to this, personal interviews with the student 
may be helpful in ascertaining the strengths and weaknesses of the instructional 

Examples of Instructional Objectives 
Once the students needs are properly assessed, it' should be the primary 

function of the instructor to formulate objectives that will meet these needs. 

The objectives can be written for both the cognitive and affective domains. 
In the cognitive domain one may think of two broad subgroups: 

1. Learning that requires only memory. 

2. Learning that requires more than memory such as application and 
evaluating, etc. The easiest category to write behavioral objec- 
tive for is memory. When we get to application, the behavior 
that needs to be specified and measured becomes a little more 
difficult, and when we get to behaviors that require the student 
to evaluate, writing of behavioral objectives becomes much more 
difficult. An example of such an objective is given below. 


The affective domain deals with the attitudes and feelings one wishes to 
produce and measure* 

Each objective should clearly state the conditions, the desired behavior 
and the criterion for acceptance. These are Mager's three elements that should 
be considered when writing a good behavioral objective. 

1. Conditions ; a description of the class of stimuli to which 
the student is to respond (e.g*, the type of questions, tasks ^ 
or problems, and the form in. which they will be presented, the 
relevant conditions under which the student will be expected to 
perform — materials or equipment which will be available, environ- 
mental conditions which may affect the performance, special physical 
or psychological demands which may exist) • 

2. Behavior: a statement containing an action or behavioral verb 
which connotes or denotes the behavior the student is to perform 
(e.g., identify, write, describe, solve, classify) and a general 
reference to the product of the student's behavior (e.g., an essay, 
a diagram, a three-dimensional model). 

3. Criteria : a description of the success criteria by which the 
student's behavior is to be. judged acceptable or Unacceptable 
(e.g., correctly applies three principles, identifies 8 out of 
10, solves the problem, the idea must be different from any 

in the textbook, discussed in class, of produced by other 
students) . ' ' . 


The next few examples are instructional objectives that need revision 
in order to meet Magers criteria. The objectives will be presented, c^long 
withT an explanation of "wheFe Tihey af e^^^ th^y ISTilT be 

rewritten to serve as examples for good objectives. 

The first example is at the knowledge level since it only requires 
memorization (recognition). It is: 

1. The ability to recognize the meaning of words. 

This does not specify if the student will perform this as a verbal or 
written task, whether these words will be part of a multiple choice, true or 
false or matching test, or whether the meaning is to be derived from context 
clues. We also don't know if he will be allowed to use a thesaurus or dictionary 



or the level of difficulty of the words. In other words the conditions 
are not specified very well. 

The behavior recognition is specified. 

The third aspect, criteria , is crucial for evaluating your success. 
As the objective is now stated one does not know how many words and at what 
level must be properly recognized before one Is satisfied that the objective 
has been met. 

An example of a more precise way of stating this objective is: 

la. From the list of words used to prepare the College Board Examination, 
the student will be able to recognize 80% of the words correctly, 
when given a multiple choice test. 

This objective tells the student where the items will come from, the level of 
difficulty, how many he must get right and how he will be tested. This infor- 
mation helps facilitate his studying and makes him a more efficient learner. 
It eleminates the game of "let's out guess the instructor." 

A second example is at the higher than knowledge level. It is: 

2. The ability to recognize and draw inferences which are not 
specifically stated. 

Again the conditions have not been stated and we don't know the level of 
difficulty of the reading material, whether the student is to do this with a 
paragraph, an artical or book, nor do we know if there is a time limitation 
etc. • 

The behavior recognizing and drawing inferences have been stated. 

The criteria again has not been mentioned. How will the instructor measure 
these behaviors and determine if the objective has been satisfied? By not stating^ 
that the student is less likely to study appropriately since he does not know 
how he will be evaluated, and the instructor also has a difficult problem since 



she has i^ot established for herself a clear means of differentiating between 

satisfactory and unsatisfactory responses. An example of a clearer way of 

stating this objective would be: 

2a. After reading The Plague by Albert Camus, the student will 

be able to recognize three philosophical inferences and support 
them by relating »iuotes from the book to existentialist philo- 
sophical positions. 

This tells the student the book he must read, that he should be looking 

for philosophical overtones and that he should be familiar with existintialism. 

Another variation of the same objective might be: 

2b. Given ten quotes from Albert Camus, The Plague , the student will be 
able to match them with the correct existentialist positions 80% of 
the time. 

At this point, you should be able to read objective 2b and state the con- 
ditions, behavior and criteria with 100% accuracy. 

(Answer: condition - Ten quotes from Camus' The Plague 

behavior-matching quotes to existential philosophy 
criterion-80% accuracy) 

Some of the most important claimed benefits of using behavioral objectives 
. are stated by Miles and Robinson (1971) : 

1. facilitate instructional design and development by providing 
clear goals to work toward. 

. 2. facilitate curricu writing—sequenciug, ..eliminating^ gaps and- over-— 


3. promote more efficient communication between teachers, administrators, 
researchers, students, parents. 

4. make evident what students actually learn, thereby permitting 
selection of most important goals. 

5. permit instruction to be evaluated. 

6. promote individualized instruction by making possible criterion-- 
referenced evaluation — each student can be required to master all 
objectives. (Independent learning is also promoted.) 

7. permit students to be more efficient learners, when they find out 
what is expected of them. 

8. eliminate the time wasted when students can already achieve all or 
some objectives before beginning a course (proficiency and advanced 

Q placement exams.) 


9. tend to impose a philosophy of teacher responsibility for getting 
students to master objectives. 


TjJg Asserted Problems with Behavioral Ob,iectives 

First, writing defensible objectives is a very time consuming and difficult 

task. For this reason the beh-vioral objectives exchange center was developed. 

This center has collected objectives for all areas of study and they will send 

the objectives to you. Below is an address to write to: 

Behavioral Objective Exchange Center 

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science 

202 Junipero Serra Boulevard 

Standford, California 94305 

Second, there have also been straw men built to show why behavioral 
objectives are not defensible. An example of one of these is, "If you write 
behavioral objectives for your students all of the time you are xdentifying 
what is important for them to know. Many people assert that the problem with 
behavioral objectives is that the behavioral objectives may become a crutr.h to 
the students so that they will not be able to identify important concepts for 
themselves." This criticism is very easily handled by writing an objective 
stating: "The student, given certain material, will be able to identify and 
state the defining characteristics of important concepts in the subject under 
study," In other words, a behavioral objective can be written to take care 
of such criticisms. 

And third, the student, typically, becomes merely an object . The object 
of the teacher's aims. His role in the decision making is passive • He responds 
to programmed stimuli. Because of this aspect of behavioral instruction, some 
leading educators; are concerned that the student' may lose whatever self-initiative 
he may have had. They regard this as a serious and unanswered deficiency. 
Perhaps, as we learn more about behaviorism these problems will disappear. 

As discussed earlier when explaining the G.T.M. model, instructional 
objectives can and should be written so that they consider the student's needs. 



If this is done, the student can not legitimately be considered as merely an 
"object." Since within the procedure for deciding on instructional objectives, 
the student can play an integral role. 

An Example of Teaching Reading Using Computer Assisted Instruction (CM) 

Computer Assisted Instruction (C.A.I.) , is probably one if the most 
sophisticated procedures for individualizing instruction, but at this time it is 
quite expensive. Atkinson (197A) presents a description of C.A.I, used to assist 
in teaching a reading curriculum. 

The particular C.A.I, setup involved consists of a typewriten terminal with 
supplementary earphones and an amplifier. It is a relatively low cost unit compared to 
some of the more sophisticated C.A.I, equipment. 

The reading curriculum was developed for students in grades 1-3 and catagories 
called strands. Instruction begins at Strand 0 which' assumes absolutely no information 
but teaches the student how to interact vith the computer and its program. Strand 1 
,is letter identification. Strand 2 - sight word recognition. Strand 3 - spelling 
patterns, Strand 4 - phonics. Strand 5 - spelling, Strand 6 - word comprehension, 
and Strand 7 - sentence comprehension. 

The stiident progressed through several' strands" sim 
working with sight words, phonics and spelling patterns at the same time. His 
advancement is contingent upon earlier performance which is continually being 
reevaluated. In other words, if one recalls the General* Teaching Model, at each 
stage there is a certain objective on which the student is pretested. If he knows 
that objective he is advanced to the next sequential objective. If he doesn't, 
he is given instruction at that level and then tested again (evaluated) to see if - 
he has achieved mastery. If he has, he goes on, if not a decision based on pre- 
established criteria is made at htis point. The student may be branched to a 
^•"^medial program, given more examples on the same level, etc. 


As one can see, from A.ckinson*s schematic, Figure 1, this is really a special 
case of elaboration on the General Teaching Model. At first glance Figure 1 appears 
to be quite complicated. Howc/ar, after looking more closely it becomes apparent 
that the schematic is detailing the specific aspects of the General Teaching Model, 
and it can be more easily understood when this is kept in mind. 

Another example from ATkinson, Table 1, shows how Strand 2 - sight word 
recognition is taught. 


Examples of Two Exercises Used in Strand 11 
{SighlAVord Recognition) 



Copy exercise 

The program outputs: 
The student responds by 

The program outputs:. 
The program outputs: 
The student responds by 

The program r;ilputs: 

(Type pen.) 

(T>pe egg.) 

(No, egg.) 

Recognition exercise 

The program outputs: 
The student responds by 

The program outputs: 
The program outputs: 
The student responds by 

The program outputs: 

PEN NET Ecc (Type pen.) 




(Type net.) 

th^*;7coLi^L^i^^ ""l^^ ^'IV'^''* an'l bottom Pawl 

inM on fl?r ^iVJ^^'^^'^V ^"""^^ ^" ^^"^ correspond to successive 

lines on the teletypewmer printout. 

Even though this program is more remedial than one would need for college 
level instruction, there are programs that have been or are in the process of 
being developed for higher level curriculum. (See Computer Assisted Instruction ^ 
ed. Isadora Newman, pp. 1-7, 131-132 for an annotated bibliography on the use of 

Computers for teaching reading) . 

initiate time* j 

Transfer into working pool 
words that were in use 
when student was last in 




Add new word or word 
from review pool to 
working pool 

Sample one word 
from the working 
pool and note its 


word in 

Exercise 1 








word in . 

word in 

word in 

word in 

Exercise 2 

Exercise 3 

Exercise 4 

Exercise 5 





Update state 
of word to 

Delete word 
from working 

Update state 
of word to 

Transfer word 
to review pool 
and update 
state of word to S^ 

Update state 
of word to 


Delete word 
from working 



Delete word 
from working 


Figure 1 - From A^inson, 1974 


It should also be noted that the research has indicated that using computers 
is an effective procedure, for teaching certain types of skills, while classroom 
teaching is more effective for other types of skills. There is very little 
empirical research that has compared the effectiveness of the individualization 
procedures of C.A.I, to other individualized teaching procedures. Therefore, the 
final results on which is the most efficient teaching procedure for the variety of 
skills, are not in as of yet. Alternative methods for individualization that do 
not use computers, are presented in a paper by Nobel and Ne\^an (1974), 




Atkinson, C. "Teaching Children to Read Using A Computer," American Psychologist > 
Vol, 29, No. 3, Mar. 1974. 

Mager, R.F. P reparing Instructional Objectives . Palo Alto, California, Fearon 
Publishers, Inc., 1962. 

Miles, D.T., and Robinson, R.E. " The General Teaching Model" Carbondale, 111., 

Educational Research Bureau, Southern Illinois University, 1971. (Unpublished). 

Newman, I., Frye, B.J. and Newman, C. An Introduction to the Basic Concepts of 
Mea surement and Evaluation . ^ Akron, Ohio. University of Akron Press, 1973. 

Newman, I. (Ed.) Computer Assisted Instruction: Three Selectee" ARticles and a 

Cross Referenced Annotated Bibliography , Akron, Ohio, University of Akron Press, 

Nobel, J. and Newman, I. "An Alternative to Computers for Individualized Instruction" 
American Secondary Education , (in press) . 

Popham, J. The Teaching Empiricist . Los Angeles: Tinvion-Brown, Inc., 1965.