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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Art education and the educable mental retardate in the high school Schlackl, Joseph Dietrich


This experimental study investigated the possibility of measuring pupil progress in art activities undertaken by a regular class and a class of Educable Mentally Retarded students to determine the extent to which E.M.R.s might assimilate concepts and complete activities from an art programme designed for regular classes. The underlying assumption explored was that it may be that E.M.R. students do not achieve results comparable with students in regular art classes simply, because they do not have comparable programme content and quality of instruction. Two classes, one regular art Grade 10/11 combination class and an E.M.R. class were assigned treatment identical in nature and scope. The classes were a part of the regular grouping within a senior secondary school in British Columbia. The treatment consisted of engaging in fifteen assignments delivered by the investigator over a period of six consecutive months. The first two and the last two assignments served as a pre-test and post-test respectively. All interim assignments and pre and post-tests provided materials for analysis arid comparison. Pre and post-test results provided within-group gains; interim assignments provided material for informal between-group comparisons. Evaluation of all assignments was performed by three art educators employing an objective scoring procedure previously familiar to each. The evaluative instrument purported to assess the results of each assignment on seven clearly stated criteria which normally form part of the foci of instruction in art. Analysis of the data revealed that both the regular class and the E.M.R. class gained significantly according to pre-test to post-test results. Significance levels reached by the regular class on all seven categories were .001. Significance levels reached by the E.M.R. class were .0C1 on five categories. On the two remaining categories the significance levels were .01 and .004. On programme results (interim assignments) performance by E.M.R.s was comparable to that of the regular class on better than 60% of programme content. Findings indicated that there were significant differences at the .05 level between groups on 28 out of 77 categories. However, on the remaining 49 categories there was no significant difference at the .05 level. The findings suggest that E.M.R. students can perform at a level comparable to that achieved by the regular class on most assigned art tasks. Special limited art programmes do not offer the only alternative for the education of the E.M.R. within the confines of the public school and other possibilities are worth exploring.

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