Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

David R Erickson

Commitee Members

Sally Brewer, Merle Farrier, Richard P. Hughes, H. Mark Krank


distributed, massed, practice


University of Montana


This descriptive study investigated student academic performance in skills-based word processing courses taught in two different scheduling formats at one small rural western United States university over the period of several years. One scheduling format followed a more traditional approach where courses were taken at the same time as at least one other course and in a time frame more resembling a typical semester. This distributed practice model, or cohort approach, required a prerequisite beginning level course or appropriate substitute course before enrolling in an advanced word processing course, thus spreading the instructional time over a longer timeframe. The other scheduling format allowed students to take only one course at a time, thus a massed practice model, in a compressed time format that presented the contents of the entire course in 18 instructional days. Student academic performance was measured by a subset of equivalent posttest questions that were common to both scheduling formats. Retention performance during the cohort approach was measured by a subset of equivalent questions common to the beginning and advanced cohort courses. The entire population of word processing students at this university was studied and thus there is no generalizability from this study to another population. Participants self-selected into groups by enrolling in course sections. Simple means were used to compute descriptive and comparative statistics. The distributed practice cohort group out-performed the massed practice group by an experimentally important five percent on the posttest. Results from the retention portion of the study indicate additional research is needed.



© Copyright 2008 Shaun Eric Scott