Volume 39 - Number 3 - 1998 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.1998.03031



Cognitive psychologists portray learners as processors of information and assign critical roles to the knowledge and perspective students bring to their learning. Experience suggests that this concept from cognitive psychology holds considerable power for education practices.


How are professors in a College of Agriculture performing? A variety of instruments including on attitude scale, a demographic form, and an assessment instrument were used in a three-year study of 28 purposefully selected faculty members from eight departments/schools in a College of Agriculture. The purpose of the study was to examine assessed cognitive level of discourse during year one, randomly engage participants in three levels of intervention during year two, and then reassess cognitive level of discourse during year three.


Following the nine-month intervention, percentage of discourse (when comparing year one to year three) delivered at the knowledge decreased while percentage of higher level discourse increased. Also the number of participants who experienced positive change in delivering higher cognitive level discourse increased at the more-intense treatment level.


Educating professors regarding their cognitive level of instruction is necessary if change in cognitive level of teaching is to occur. Professors must rethink their approach to the use of in-class time if they are to conduct discourse at the higher cognitive levels.

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