PSYC 3800 Exam Study Notes
Question #1: ―Educational psychology research results are obvious‖. Drawing on information from Gage (1991), Cooper, Levin and
Campbell (2009) and chapter 1 in your textbook answer the following questions:
A) What is meant by this statement? (1 mark)
· Many findings that come out of educational psychology are deemed as predictable truisms that any intelligent person would
know, thus there is no need for the research.
B) Provide one example of a research finding that may seem „obvious‟ and discuss why it is not in fact obvious (2 marks)
· One example of a research finding is that seems obvious from the textbook is that teachers should call on students randomly so
that there is unpredictability and the students must pay attention and be prepared. While this may make sense, it‘s not as simple as that.
Teachers must be very careful to ensure that all students get called on and have a chance to participate. In fact, going around in a circle
may be more effective.
C) What are the dangers in basing educational policy and programs on assumptions? (3 marks)
· The dangers in basing policy and programs on assumptions is that, as stated in the assigned readings, many of the facts that seem
obviously correct are actually proven to be opposite by empirical research. If policies are based on this they could actually be the opposite
of what‘s best for the students. They also may not be the most effective decisions, as it has been shown that those decisions based on
empirical evidence are the most effective and high quality. Finally, with an increase in evidence based practice, one may question the
legitimacy of an educational policy that is based on assumptions rather than facts.
D) How might the current trend towards using evidence based practice and policy in education help to counteract the idea that
research in educational psychology is obvious? (3 marks)
· As evidence based practice and policy continues to be a trend, it will help to counteract the idea that it is obvious. As findings are
incorporated, some may find that they are opposite to what they believe is the obvious answer, thus decreasing the obviousness of it. Also,
with more funding and presence in the realm of academia, as a result of demonstrated need for evidence- based research, the legitimacy
will improve and findings will be taken more seriously.
E) Why do you think some educators may be reluctant to incorporate scientific research findings into their teaching? (2 marks)
· Educators may be reluctant to incorporate research findings into their teaching if it is opposite of what they are currently doing.
Many teachers form what they consider ―teachers tricks‖ and best practices over the years, and if the research contradicts this, they may
be reluctant to divert from what works. In addition, laypersons (such as teachers) may not understand the findings of academia and find
scientific research findings convoluted and not straight-forward enough to incorporate into their classroom
Question #2: A good understanding of brain development and how it impacts learning is important for all educators. Drawing on
information from your textbook (especially pages 26-31, 236-243, Chapter 9) and the Bialystok (2009) article, answer the following
A) Define “Experience- dependent overproduction and pruning” from page 29 in the textbook. (1 mark)
In experience-dependent overproduction and pruning, more synapses are produced in a child‘s brain than those that will be kept
in adulthood. Based on an individual‘s experience, synaptic connections are either formed due to neural activity in the brain, or ―pruned‖
as a result of inactivity.
B) Apply the information from part A to the information provided in Chapter 9 on how neuroscience and classroom learning are
related and provide two ways teachers can apply brain based education in the classroom. Provide one example for each. (1 mark
for each statement and .5 for each example = 3 marks)
With experience-dependent pruning and overproduction in mind, neuroscience is certainly important to consider for classroom
learning, as learning provides much of the experience the necessary in this process. In fact, research shows that direct teaching can cause
changes in the structure of the brain. Teachers can apply brain-based education in the classroom by keeping the level of both challenge
and support at optimum levels, as brain based research indicates if children are not challenged or feel anxious, learning suffers.
Additionally, enriched active environments and flexible instruction would be beneficial in supporting cognitive development, as studies
repeatedly emphasize the plasticity of the brain.
C) Define working memory and the central executive (.75 marks for each definition = 1.5 marks)
The working memory involves the information you are focusing on at a given moment, and the central executive is the part of the
working memory responsible for monitoring and directing attention and other mental resources. D) Based on the information in Bialystok (2009), what is the relationship between bilingualism and working memory, and
bilingualism and the central executive? (3.5 marks)
According to Bialystok‘s findings, it appears bilingualism certainly influences cognitive function. The study found that bilinguals
show evidence of advantages in executive control, responding faster than monolinguals in various conflict tasks. Additionally, although
similar performance existed in less demanding tasks, bilinguals outperformed monolinguals in more difficult nonverbal tasks that involved
the working memory.
E) Based on what you have learned throughout the course about bilingualism, brain development, learning styles, learning
difficulties, etc. discuss two factors you think a parent and/or teacher should consider when determining whether or not a
particular child would benefit from enrolling in a French Immersion program at school (2 marks).
The first factor I would consider before enrolling a child into a French immersion program at school would be their age.
According to the current literature, there seems to be a critical period for proper language pronunciation. One study found that after
adolescence it is difficult to learn a new language without speaking with an accent. Therefore, the earlier the second language is
introduced, the more likely their pronunciation will be near native. Second, I would keep in mind that it takes great effort and attention to
maintain high-level skills in two languages, so motivation and mental capacity are important. Challenge and interest have been shown to
support learning. Additionally, studies have found that children with conditions such as ADHD have smaller areas in the brain involved
with self-regulation behaviour. Therefore, it may make it more difficult for these children to maintain the attention necessary to be highly
skilled in two languages.
Question #3: Aggression, bullying and conflict management are major problems in today‘s schools. Parents, teachers and support staff all
have an important role to play in dealing with these issues, although figuring out exactly what needs to be done is not a straightforward
task. Drawing on information from the textbook (especially pg. 50-51, 73-76 and Chapter 12), along with the Pepler (2006) and Craig,
Pepler and Blais (2007) articles, answer the following questions:
A) Define four forms of aggression (.5 marks for each definition = 2 marks total).
1) Instrumental Aggression: Strong actions aimed at claiming an object, place or privilege- not intended to harm but may lead to
2) Hostile Aggression: bold, direct action that is intended to hurt someone else; unprovoked attack
3) Overt Aggression: a form of hostile aggression that involves physical attack
4) Relational Aggression: a form of hostile aggression that involves verbal attacks and other actions meant to harm social
B) How do the characteristics of aggression differ between boys and girls? (1 mark)
According to the text, boys at all ages are more physically aggressive than girls, research findings are more equivocal about whether girls
engage in more relational aggression than boys. Some research supports this view, but other studies indicate boys and girls engage in
similar rates of relational Aggression. Girls may appear more relationally aggressive because they rely on relational tactics more than
physical aggression. Boys, in contrast, use both physical and relational tactics.
C) Describe the relationship approach to bullying intervention and list two advantages of this approach over a more punitive
approach. (2 marks)
As described in the article Peper (2006), the relationship approach to bullying intervention is to enhance the bully and bystanders
relationship capacity to promote healthy relationships in the present and to lay the foundation for healthy relationships throughout the
lifespan. Must focus on the bully and victim, must highlight behaviours, motivations and challenges and also focuses on interactions with
salient systems or contexts in which children are developing. Consider on interactions within the family, peer group, school and
neighbourhood might be contributing to healthy or troubled interaction patterns. Two advantages is that this approach does not provide
only supports for individual children‘s relationship capacity, but also to mobilize and transform central systems in children‘s lives so that
they promote healthy relationships.
D) Define scaffolding as described in the text and Pepler (2006) article (0.5 marks)
Scaffolding refers to the process of anticipation and directed instruction to provide dynamic supports for learning so that children can
perform above their normal levels. As children become increasingly skilled, the scaffolds can be gradually dismantled, only to be set up
again to support the next developmental stretch. The idea is that children use the help for support while they build a firm understanding
that will eventually allow them to solve the problems on their own.
E) Describe how this scaffolding approach can be utilized in bullying intervention programs (as outlined by Pepler, 2006) (1.5
There are multiple ways to create supportive scaffolding for children involved in bullying and/or victimization. Scaffolding can be
strengthened through consistent support at home, at school, and in the community. In developing scaffolding strategies for children who
bully, the first step is to identify their needs in terms of relationship skills. Children who bully vary considerably in their levels of skill and
social understanding: some are leaders within their social groups and others are marginalized in the peer group and may, themselves, be
victimized.. An assessment of individual children‘s strengths and challenges is essential to guide effective interventions. Some of the
difficulties that children who bully may experience include problems with: empathy, emotional and/or behavioural regulation,
internalizing problems, social skills, positive leadership skills, alternative problem solving, and the social-cognitive skills to withstand peer pressure. Mutual understanding and close communication among the adults in a child‘s life is essential for consistent messages and
supportive interventions across all the contexts in which a child lives, works, and plays.
F) Let‟s pretend for a moment that you are a teacher. A student in your classroom often blurts out inappropriate comments when
you are speaking, is frequently out of his seat, is very verbally and sometimes physically abusive to the student sitting beside him,
will often refuse to do his work and regularly simply gets up and walks out of the class. Using any of the ideas and/or strategies
outlined in your textbook (especially chapter 12) and/or information from the Pepler (2006) and Craig, Pepler and Blais (2007)
article, discuss three things you could do and/or say to help manage this student‟s behaviour and the impact of their behaviour on
the rest of your students (4 marks).
According to the text, I would as a teacher, first make eye contact with the student or use other non-verbal signals, then try verbal hints
such as simply inserting the student‘s name into the lecture. Next I would ask if the offender is aware of the negative effects of the actions,
then reminds the student of the procedure and has her or him follow it correctly. If this does not work, I would ask the student to state the
correct rule or procedure and then to follow it, and then move to telling the student in a clear, assertive, and u-nhostile way to stop the
misbehaviour. If this fails too, the teacher can offer a choice—stop the behaviour or meet privately to work out the consequences.
Question # 4: Learning disabilities (LD) are one of the most debated issues in the field of educational psychology. We continue to
struggle with how to define them, how to identify LD students and how to properly support them. Based on information from your
textbook (especially chapter 4) along with the information from the Vaughn and Fuchs (2003), Kozey and Siegel (2008), and the Lyon, et
al. (2001) articles, answer the following questions:
A. What is the discrepancy based definition of LD? (1 mark)
· According to the DSM-IV criteria, an LD is defined as a discrepancy between intelligence and achievement, where
achievement is ―substantially below‖ and more than two standard deviations. Vaughn and Fuchs site that the definition
ASSUMES that the:
1. degree of discrepancy from IQ would meaningfully relate to the severity of the LD
2. academic performance of students with a discrepancy differs from that of students without a discrepancy
3. discrepancy yields reliable information
4. findings inform instruction
5. use of IQ tests is a necessary procedure for identifying students with LDs
B. Why are students with learning disabilities not being well served by the discrepancy-based definition of LD? (2.25 marks)
· Kozey and Siegel note that the discrepancy-based definition of LDs lacks clarity with regards to which IQ score should
be used to establish a discrepancy – i.e. there is no universal agreement regarding the number of standard deviations that
denotes a ―discrepancy‖. This encourages what Kozey and Siegel site as a ―wait and fail‖ policy that essentially serves
to delay both the LD diagnosis as well as any implementation of a proactive intervention that would otherwise benefit a
student‘s academic learning. Thus, the discrepancy-based definition does not serve students with LDs well, as their LDs
often fail to get recognized or addressed in their early academic years, which means they receive no special instruction
(which they need), which means they often fall significantly behind their peers. Additionally, this definition also implies
that it‘s the teacher‘s responsibility to screen students for LDs, which Vaughn and Fuchs note can often be imprecise.
C. What is the response to instruction (RTI) model? (1 mark)
· The text describes the Response to Intervention (RTI) Model as a systematic process that aims to identify students who
may have learning difficulties as early as possible so that they don‘t fall too far behind before their problems are
recognized. Vaughn and Fuchs note that it also aims to determine what works and what doesn‘t for the students in terms
of the instruction (an environmental factor) that they receive from their teacher.
D. Outline three of the benefits of the RTI model over the discrepancy based definition (.75 for each benefit = 2.25 marks)
· As described by Vaughn and Fuchs, the benefits of the RTI model (over the discrepancy-based definition) are:
1. Identification of students based on their risk, rather than their deficit
- Vaughn and Fuchs note that ideally all students (K-3) would be screened for potential academic of
behavioural problems (early). Those identified as being at risk would then receive effective instruction
to reduce their risk (in what ever academic area it is in), students who respond to the instruction would
be moved out of the ―at risk‖ group and receive no further special instruction, those that did not
respond or had a low response would continue receiving special instruction.
2. Early identification and instruction
- Ideally screening would occur in kindergarten, that way the likelihood of students‘ LDs going
unrecognized or unidentified would be reduced. An obvious implication of screening so young is that
measures would be less precise and might lead to overidentification – but RTI advocates claim this is
necessary to ensure those who ARE at risk get identified early.
3. Reduction of identification bias
- Vaughn and Fuchs claim that the systematic nature of the RTI screening procedure increases the
probability that students who are identified as having an LD and receive subsequent special education
really are the students with the greatest academic needs, thus decreasing the bias/variance that occurs in the teacher-based referrals (i.e. without a standardized process it‘s up to each individual teacher to
judge whether or not a child should receive special instruction)
4. Linkage of identification assessment with instructional planning
- The RTI model keeps the focus on the student‘s learning and the extent to which their goals are met. By
providing an ongoing, instructionally relevant assessment, the RTI model assures that students‘
progress will be monitored, as will the effectiveness of the instruction that is given to them (Vaughn
E. Outline three of the challenges the RTI model faces (.75 for each challenge = 2.25 marks)
***AS DEFINED BY VAUGHN AND FUCHS***
1. RTI‘s integrity of the LD concept – is LD ―Real‖?
· Because disabilities are typically seen as permanent conditions that are merely influenced by
environmental variables, Vaughn and Fuchs note that it might seem contradictory for the RTI model to
focus so heavily on manipulating the instruction (an environmental variable) that students receive.
However, it‘s important to remember that the purpose of the RTI is to eliminate these environmental
variables, to rule them out as a cause and thus verify that the student really does have an LD, and then
provide them with the appropriate instruction.
2. The need for validated interventions and assessment methods
· Vaughn and Fuchs note that to implement a RTI model, validated approaches are required. Also,
assessment measures are needed to index responsiveness or learning over time. While these tools are
available for some academic areas, they are not for all and further, they are currently better developed at
some grade levels. Thus more needs to be done to develop more validated interventions and assessment
3. Adequately trained personnel
· If RTI is to be used as a standardized model across thousands of schools, a very large number of properly
trained professionals will be needed. These professionals will have to have the knowledge and the skills to
implements validated instruction protocols, to interpret the assessment results and to make decisions about
eligibility. Further, many will need to shift their view about assessments, instruction and LDs in general!
F. Which method of defining LD (RTI or discrepancy) do you think is most realistic for today‟s schools to implement and why?
· Though I think there is more room for error with the discrepancy-based model, I think it is most realistic for
implementation in today‘s schools. This thought it based solely on the fact that it‘s less expensive (which seems to a big
motivator in implementation of any change) and the scale at which it would need to be implemented is extremely large
and would necessitate a change in many people‘s LD perceptions, which seems unrealistic. Regardless of whether a
professional determines that a child has an LD, it‘s up to the teacher to follow suit with the possible IEP, and if they
harbour a bias opinion (i.e. they don‘t think the student really has one – this could be possible in the earlier grades
during times of overidentificaiton) then the student‘s achievement may be effected and the RTI model may not seem as
effective. However, I think the RTI model, if implemented successfully, could result in much early identification and
thus benefit many students. Perhaps a way to initiate implementation on a large scale would be to provide mandatory
RTI training for Special Education teachers, as they are likely the ones spending the most amount of time with LD
students and may be enabled to make better-informed judgements on their academic abilities.
Question # 5: Most schools work to achieve a multicultural environment; however their success at doing this varies. Drawing on the
information from the textbook (mainly chapter 5) along with the Sirota & Bailey (2009) and the Smith (2009) articles, answer the
A) What is culturally relevant pedagogy? (1 mark)
Culture Relevant Pedagogy is a concept that goes beyond considerations of sociolinguistics and social organizations. It is teaching for
students who are from visible minorities, which include 3 propositions. One is that students must experience academic success, which
means students must develop their basic academic skills. The second proposition is that student must develop and maintain their cultural
competence. Culturally relevant teachers use a student‘s culture for means to teaching. An example of this from the textbook is a teacher
who used rap in an English class that was learning about poetry. The third proposition is that students must develop a critical
consciousness to challenge the status quo. Teachers must help their students critique social norms and values.
B) List and define Bank‟s five dimensions of a multicultural education? (.5 for each dimension = 2.5 marks)
context integration: This is using examples and content from a variety of cultures to illustrate concepts, principles and generalizations to a
knowledge construction process: This is helping students to understand how the implicit cultural assumptions within a discipline influence
the ways that knowledge is constructed within it.
prejudice reduction: This is identifying the characteristics of student‘s racial attitudes and determining how teaching can modify them
empowering school culture and social structure: This is examining group and labeling practices, sports participation and the interaction of
the staff/students across ethnic/racial lines to create a school that empowers students from all groups Equity pedagogy: which is matching teaching styles to students learning styles to facilitate the academic achievement from a mixed class
C) Describe two changes that need to take place in preservice teacher education in order to facilitate multicultural education (.75
marks for each change = 1.5 marks)
Multicultural Pre-Service teacher education provides teachers with the information about working with culturally diverse students. Studies
have shown that an issue with Pre-Service teachers is that a lot of the time, they have issues transferring what they learned formally to real
classroom applications. More hands on learning needs to be integrated and fieldwork for pre-service teachers. This will provide authentic
learning experience within a culturally diverse setting. If these teachers get a hands on feel for how important multicultural education is
for diverse schools, this will help their fundamental belief for multicultural school education, which research has indicated is key for
successful multicultural learning. A second change that needs to be started is having pre-service teachers be very informed about different
curriculum publications that address different issues that arise with diverse school settings. Teachers need to step away from the thought
that it is not the difference in culture that can be holding the child back, and look into it more for better understanding. Studies show that
many teachers have a preconceived mind set that minority children will do worse than the majority and that stereotype needs to be stopped
D) After reading the course material pertaining to multiculturalism, where a number of challenges were presented, do you think it is
possible to achieve a truly multicultural education? Why or why not? (2 marks)
Multicultural education is a very important aspect of teaching and it is a necessity. Studies do show that there is a culture and education
gap between minority students and the culturally dominant students. Issues like prejudice and stereotypes have been long standing, even
with the culture equality that has developed over the years. I personally think that the education system will never be truly multicultural.
Even though school systems are trying to do their part, with integrating different cultures into teaching lessons, and having culturally
relevant pedagogy, there is still this outlook on minority students that is holding their success back. Teachers are still, even with the proper
training executing discrimination with their teaching techniques, such as the pre-conceived notion that minorities will do worse in school
than the majority. It ideas like that which holds us back from having a purely multicultural education system. It is also hard to have an
education system like that when there are so many different cultures, its hard not to go with the majority because who decides what
cultures are included and what ones are not.
E) Choose any two concepts from anywhere in the textbook or articles and discuss the influence of culture on these concepts (for
example, the cultural influence on problem solving approaches, etc.) HINT: At the end of most of the textbook chapters there is a
discussion on diversity. There are other places from which you could draw material for this part of the question, but these
diversity sections may be particularly useful to you. (2 marks for each concept = 4 marks).
The first concept is Individual Differences and long-term memory. There are some major sources for people‘s differences in long-term
memory. The first is knowledge; because people grow up in different cultural contexts they have different resources for knowledge. A
study mentioned in the textbook stated that attention, memory and learning are supported when teaching builds on prior knowledge of
students. So because some cultures vary so greatly, what some cultures may seem as easy to remember because it is so common, another
culture may not understand it because of its novelty. The second source is cultural differences in event memories. Memories are socially
constructed and parents have a huge effect on helping their kids learn how to talk about memories and events. It is seen that Western
cultures have earlier, longer and more detailed first memories than people from Asian countries. It is said because since Asian culture is
much more focused on the family as a whole, and as a group that individual memories and discussion are not as common as in the western
cultures were individuality is praised on.
The second concept is theories of learning. Culture, ethnicity, language and racial identity are all seen to be factors for how
people retain and exert their knowledge and how self-efficient they are. It is seen that African American Students in the USA are more
likely to be overconfident in their academic abilities while, Asian Americans are less likely to express overconfidence.
Question # 6. Why is the ability to self-regulate important for academic success?
A - self regulation: intentional control of cognitiion, motivation, and behavior in order to reach some goal
-achieving academic success requires a certain mindset which can be attained through self-regulation
-the critical steps of success - setting goals, monitoring progress to the stated goals, regulating feedback from teachers and peers,
etc. are all part of self-regulation
Describe the cycle of self-regulated learning outlined on pages 360-361 in the textbook.
B - the cycle which occurs when one is engaged in self-regulated learning, each feeds to other features and back again
analyzing the task: task features, problem domain, what knowledge can i apply?
devising plans: apply past knowledge, formulate a plan to achieve goal
enacting tactics and strategies
apply regulated learning during: metacognitive skills
Factors that get in the way of SR learning, observations, and interventions:
C - 1) factor: student resents the teachers attempt to make them monitor and reflect on their learning, preferring to maintain established
work patterns which may be maladaptive
teacher observations of student: no effort is made to apply the teacher's methodology (for example, multiplying numbers by counting
instead of trying to learn the times tables) intervention strategy: show the effect