ED 091 651
CS 001 059
A Systematic Approach and the Use of Instructional
Objectives As An Aid in Teaching,
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.
U S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH,
EDUCATION a WELFARE
THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN REPWO
DUCED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED FROM
THE PERSON OP ORGANJ?ATfON ORIGIN
ATlNGtT POINTS OP VIEW OR OPINIONS
bTATED DO NOT NECESSARILY kEPHE
SENT OFFICIAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE Of-
.EDUCATION POSITION OR POLICY
A Systematic Approach and the Use of
Instructional Objectives As An Aid In Teaching
PERMJSSION TO REPRODUCE THIS COPY.
RIGHTED MATERIAL HAS BEEN GRANTED BV
Isadora Ne wman
TO ERIC AND ORGANIZATIONS OPERATING Isadore Newman
UNDER AGREEMENTS WITH THE NATIONAL IN.
STITUTE OF EDUCATION FURTHER REPRO-
DUCTlON OUTSIDE THE ERIC SYSTEM RE-
OUtBES PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT
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
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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
The program outputs:
The student responds by
The program outputs:.
The program outputs:
The student responds by
The program r;ilputs:
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.)
PEN EGG 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
Sample one word
from the working
pool and note its
word in .
of word to
of word to
to review pool
state of word to S^
of word to
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.