Effects of training models and prior knowledge on student question generation and processes in social studies

Angelo Vincent Ciardiello, Fordham University


The present study sought to determine (1) the main effects of two strategies of student questioning training (ReQuest and TeachQuest) on eleventh grade students' abilities to generate and process four cognitive type questions: cognitive/memory, convergent, divergent, and evaluative, (2) the main effects of two levels of background knowledge of social studies, high and low, on subjects' abilities to generate and process four cognitive type questions, (3) the interactions between two questioning training strategies and two levels of prior knowledge of social studies. Students' generation of cognitive questions were measured by Gallagher and Aschner's questioning taxonomy. In addition, students' processes of question generation were measured by protocol analysis. Forty-eight students were randomly assigned to either a teacher dominated procedure (TeachQuest) or a teacher-student collaborative method (ReQuest). Social studies background knowledge was measured using the National Assessment of American History. The investigator trained social studies teacher volunteers, observers, and judges. During the two week treatment period which consisted of one 40 minute class each day, the trainees instructed the two subgroups in alternate question generation techniques. At the end of the treatment the subjects were given a three item posttest containing a question generating activity. Students' cognitive processes involved in question generation were analyzed through retrospective interview protocols. The data derived from t-test analyses indicated no significant differences between ReQuest and TeachQuest strategies in terms of students' generation of four cognitive type questions. However, there were significant differences between the high and low prior knowledge subgroups in terms of generating two of the four cognitive type questions. A two-way analysis of variance indicated no significant interaction effects except for the influence of the prior knowledge variable on the generation of evaluative type questions. The results of the protocol analysis indicated that some of the most frequently occurring cognitive processes were similar for all subgroups. The study concluded that vocational high school students can be trained to ask questions at a variety of cognitive levels. The level of prior knowledge had some effect on question generation. It was also ascertained that students find generating questions an unusual experience in classroom instruction. It is recommended that future studies investigate the effects of a more lengthy period of questioning training to offset the impact of the "novelty factor" on student question generation.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Social studies education

Recommended Citation

Ciardiello, Angelo Vincent, "Effects of training models and prior knowledge on student question generation and processes in social studies" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109227.