Study Guides A study guide is a teaching aid designed to help students develop reading skills needed to enhance their comprehension of the material is the textbook. Study guides can be very helpful to students who have low comprehension skills. A study guide will ensure that the student will focus their attention on what is important for them to learn. The study guide has to be relevant to the test that will be given. Many teachers will assign a specific reading for the class and many of the students may not adhere to the teacher's request.
A study guide will reinforce the reading material. A study guide that is prepared without the answers will force a student to do the reading. A study investigated the use of study guides as instructional tools and compared the effectiveness of study guides with and without analogies. Seventy-four undergraduate students in three upper division education classes studied three passages about three obscure religions (Manichaeism, Jainism, and the Druze religion) with and without the aid of two types of studyguides. One study guide analogized the religions to Christianity, and one did not employ analogies.
Both study guides were written in multiple-choice, short answer, and essay format. Within each class, students were randomly divided into three groups for comparison, and each subject was given all three passages to study in different sequences, studying one passage per treatment condition. Results revealed a significant interaction between text and treatment, but with a small effect size. Results also revealed: (1) that the Manichaeism text produced scores significantly different from the combination of Druze and Jainism scores across all three treatments; (2) that the Manichaeism study guide treatments produced scores significantly different from those of the other two treatments; and (3) that the Druze analogical study guide treatment produced scores significantly different from those of the other treatments, but that the Jainism analogical study guide treatment was not significantly different from the other two treatments. A study explored whether the use of a study guide would improve students' comprehension of content area material. Two groups of students in an eighth grade social studies class were involved: students in the control group received the usual instruction--the chapter was read orally and discussed in class--while students in the experimental sample were given a study guide, skimmed the material silently, and worked on the exercises in groups of two or three.
A posttest on history revealed no statistically significant differences between the scores of the two groups. How ever, since both time and the amount of material were limited and since no information is available regarding the reliability of the method used, the results of this study can be applied only to these two samples. Reading in the content areas from grades four through twelve requires the integration of new knowledge with what is already known,that involves sophisticated skills. Content area teachers must be aware of, model, and teach those reading and study skills that help students to better comprehend their reading assignments. Some strategies that have been used successfully to train students to acquire information on their own include the use of prediction guides, advance organizers, graphic organizers, study guides, and glossing. In most of the studies that I read, the use of a study guide improved most of the test scores. Study guides are a useful tool that can be used in any content area to enhance a students learning.
The idea behind study guides is that students can use them as models of how to plan their own scheme of work. They are meant to primarily to be an initiation to self-direction. A survey was administered to 10th-grade regular biology students to diagnose the cause for low achievement on chapter tests. Survey results verified teacher suspicion that students did not read textbook assignments when designated as homework and, as a consequence, this deficiency contributed to low achievement scores. A treatment included requiring additional homework in the form of a teacher-prepared Reading Study Guide (RSG) that accompanied each chapter and had to be completed while students read the assignments.
To complete the individualized RSG, students were unable to skim the material but, instead, had to read the assignments thoroughly. Upon completion of the RSG, a pretest was administered and learning activities relative to the chapter objectives were presented, followed by a posttest. Cloze test results indicated improvement in student ability levels. Posttest scores increased significantly and the overall grade average on the RSG surpassed expectations. During treatment, cloze test results disclosed that student ability levels were not equivalent to reading stanine levels. Overall results provided evidence that Reading Study Guides Was an excellent resource when used with students who have the potential to improve learning skills and increase achievement levels.
The RSG treatment was successful as it highlighted course objectives, outlined important concepts and information, was used to study for tests, and encouraged students to read homework assignments.