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Full text of "ERIC ED050684: Improving Educational Practice for Marginal College Freshmen; A Research Model."

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HE 002 183 



AUTHOR 

TITLE 



INSTITUTION 

PUB DATE 
NOTE 



McKelpin, Joseph P. 

Improving Educational Practice for Marginal College 
Freshmen; A Research Model. 

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, 
Atlanta, Ga. 

71 

5p. 



EDRS PRICE 
DESCRIPTORS 

IDENTIFIERS 



EDRS Price MF-S0.65 HC-S3.29 

♦College Freshmen, ♦Disadvantaged Youth, ^Higher 
Education, Minority Groups, ♦Models, ♦Special 
Progra ms 

♦Education Improvement Project 



ABSTRACT 

The Education Improvement Project (EIP) of the 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools serves as the assisting 
organization for two programs designed to improve educational 
practice for the marginal college freshmen - who is often a member of 
a minority or poverty group. The two programs are the College 
Education Achievement Project (CEAP) , which focuses primarily on 
improving educational practice for marginal college freshmen in 
developing Black institutions, and the Higher Education Achievement 
Program (HEAP), which focuses on improving educational practice in 
developing institutions for marginal students from minority oc 
poverty groups. This paper briefly discusses the development and use 
of a heuristic model for the development of symbolic competence in 
marginal college freshmen. The model (1) asks: what is the 
relationship between symbolic competence and social learning; (2) is 
based on the hypothesis that social learning fosters 
self-actualization which facilitates the development of symbolic 
competence; and (3) lists a series of consequences to be tested. (AF) 



IMPROVING EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE FOR MARGINAL COLLEGE FRESHMEN 



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A Research Model 
By Joseph P. McKelpin 
Director of Research 
College Education Achievement Project 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools 



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Due to a number of conditions, more or less beyond their 
control and the control of their mentors , many high school grad- 
uates from minority /poverty groups may be classified as marginal 
college freshmen. These young people may either be regarded as 
potential social dynamite or as potential productive citizens;. 
Whether they will be social dynamite or productive citizens may 
depend on finding and using modes of educational practice appro- 
priate to their needs. 

What these youngsters need are identifiable routes that they 
can use to reach economic, political, and social goals. This 
increasingly technological society could use the competence which 
these young people have the capacity to develop. It can ill 
afford the economic, political, and social burdens that would be 
imposed if they are not prepared to be productive and construc- 
tive persons. 




Goals of CEAP and HEAP 

The Education Improvement Project (EIP) of the Southern 
Association of Colleges and Schools will serve as the assisting 
organization for two programs designed to improve educational 
practice for this population. The College Education Achievement 
Project (CEAP), begun in 1967, focuses primarily on improving 
educational practice for marginal college freshmen in developing 



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black institutions. The Higher Education Achievement Program (HEAP), 
to begin in 1971, focuses on improving educational practice in 
developing institutions for marginal students from minority/ 
poverty groups. Both programs are designed to be delivered 
through consortia witn funding under Title III of the Higher 
Education Act. 

Through the CEAP and the HEAP, the EIP purports to work toward 
bringing about three kinds of change expected to influence educa- 
tional practice and opportunity for marginal students in the 
region. For the marginal college freshmen, the EIP aims to 
provide learning experiences that equip them to make use of 
programs at developing institutions to reach their educational 
and vocational goals. For the developing institutions, El? 
purports to provide demonstrations that they can be successful 
with st idents whose entry characteristics va^y from the tradi- 
tional ones and without lowering the quality of their graduates * 

And, for educational theory and practice, the EIP will work to 
show that educational conceptions with assumptions a.' f ferent 
from those of conventional wisdom can be employed as bases for 
developing new modes of practice appropriate to the needs of 
marginal college freshmen. 

Heuristic Approach to Research and Development 

One basic problem of marginal college freshmen, in the con- 
text of higher education as conventionally conceived and operated, 
seems to be that of symbolic competence or the ability to use 
symbols (Bowers and Hollister, 1967) . However, the ability to 
use symbols to represent experiential or existential phenomena 



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is not unrelated to the life styles developed by students from 
poverty /minority groups as means of functioning in a sociocultural 
heritage hostile to their self-actualization (Kardiner and Ovesey, 
1951; Maslow, 1968). This assumption has led to the specifica- 
tion of an heuristic model that may be used to guide research and 
development. The results could lead to an order of conceptions 
and modes of practice more appropriate for the educational needs 
of the disadvantaged than what is current. The model follows: 



DEVELOPMENT OF SYMBOLIC COMPETENCE IN MARGINAL COLLEGE FRESHMEN 



ERIC 



1. Problem: What is the relationship between symbolic 

competence and social learning? 

2. Hypothesis: Social learning fosters self -actualization 

which facilitates the development of symbolic competence. 

3- Consequences to be tested: If the above hypothesis is true, 

then the following consequences are observable and can be 
tested directly or indirectly: 

a. Changes in those characteristics of marginal 
college freshmen indicative of the level and quality 
of self-actualizing behaviors are associated with 
changes in their levels of symbolic competence. 

b. Changes in students* level of symbolic competence 
vary with the extent to which significant others 
in the educational environment employ f acilitative 
helping relationships in their encounters with 
students and with each other. 

Co Students in those centers where significant others in 
the educational environment vary their exercise of 
influence in ways that conform with the interaction 
model reflect higher levels of self-actualizing 
behaviors and of symbolic competence than students 
in those centers where the exercise of influence 
fails to conform to the interaction model. 

dc Students in those centers where instructional methods 
and materials are designed to satisfy learning needs 
resulting from their problems of living as members 
of minority/poverty groups will show greater achieve- 



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ment than students in those centers where such methods 
and materials are not employed, 

4. Test of consequences: Students in experimental and control 

centers will be tested in the Fall and retested in the 
Spring. Between test and retest, students and/or staff 

in experimental centers will be treated as prescribed 
while students and staff in control centers will be 
treated as usual. 

5. Results of test of consequences: Appropriate statis- 

tical procedures will be employed to test the signif- 
icance of differences in frequencies, means, and 
variances. Factor analytic techniques may also be used 
to ascertain the structures of selected domains. 

6. Conclusion: Confirmation or disconf ormation of hypothesis. 



Use of the Mode l 

During the academic year 1371-72, fifteen centers in as many 
developing institutions are expected to be operating in the CEAP 
and HEAP consortia. A more or less systematic framework of 
ideas will be needed as a basis for planning and executing 
evaluative studies of various aspects of those programs. The 
model is one of several formulated to serve this function. 

Any effort to test all of the listed consequences in one 
undertaking would probably prove too massive for the usual 
investigation. Such an effort would not only face Knotty 
problems in not only statistical design and analysis and of 
instrumentation, but also massive problems of staffing and fund- 
ing. However, individual staff members or teams of individual 
staff members can get suggestions from the model for use in 
planning and carrying out studies in their centers. Eventually, 
the results of such studies may converge and provide the basis 
for more experience-based statements in this domain. 



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BIBLIOGRAPHY 



Bower, Eli M. and Hollister, William G. (ed.) , Behavioral 

Science Frontiers in Education . New York: John Wiley and 

Sons, 1967.; 

Maslow, Abraham H. , Toward a Psychology of Being , New York: 

Van Nostrand, 1968 ( Revised) . 

Kardiner, Ajram K. anc Ovesey, Lionel. The Mark of Oppre s s i on . 
New York: World Publishing Company, 1951- 




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