UBC Theses and Dissertations
The effect of the intertrial interval on the acquisition and retention of novel multiplication facts Jordan, Donald Bruce
The study investigated the effect of the intertrial interval on the learning of novel multiplication facts by grade three students. For nine consecutive school days the experimenter played tape recorded treatments to the students. A treatment consisted of the oral presentation of a list of fifteen novel multiplication problems and corresponding answers read through twice in a random order. A 3-second response interval was allowed between the reading of a problem and the reading of the corresponding answer. The time interval between the reading of an answer and the reading of the next problem was defined as the intertrial interval. The sample of 210 grade three students was divided into three groups. One group had an intertrial interval of 3 seconds, the second group had an intertrial interval of 7 seconds, and the third group had an intertrial interval of 12 seconds. Fifteen novel problems were determined from an item analysis of a forty-problem pre-test administered before the treatments began. A post-test consisting of only the fifteen novel problems was administered immediately following the last treatment. A retention test consisting of a random order of the fifteen novel problems was administered ten days after the last treatment. Acquisition was defined as the difference between the post-test score and the pre-test novel score. Retention was defined as the difference between the retention test score and the pre-test novel score. A one-tailed t test was used to test the significance of the mean acquisition score within each group. A two-tailed t test was used to test the significance of the mean retention score within each group. The significance of the difference in the mean acquisition and retention scores between groups was tested using analysis of covariance and Tukey's procedure for comparing individual means. Acquisition and retention within each treatment group were significant beyond the .001 level. In both acquisition and retention the 7-second group and the 12-second group performed significantly better (p<.001) than the 3-second group. There was no significant difference between the 7-second group and the 12-second group in either acquisition or retention. For the task at hand, the results indicated that 7 seconds was a good approximation to the optimal intertrial interval.
Item Citations and Data