Navigation Links
Focus on testing hurts students in high school health classes
Date:11/15/2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio High school health classes fail to help students refuse sexual advances or endorse safe sex habits when teachers focus primarily on testing knowledge, a new study reveals.

But when teachers emphasized learning the material for its own sake, and to improve health, students had much better responses. In these kinds of classrooms, students had lower intentions of having sex and felt better able to navigate sexual situations.

"A focus on tests doesn't help students in health classes make healthier choices," said Eric M. Anderman, lead author of the study and professor of educational psychology at Ohio State University.

"In health education, knowledge is not the most important outcome. What we really want to do is change behaviors, and testing is not the way to achieve that."

The study appears online in the Journal of Research on Adolescence and will be published in a future print edition.

This study is part of a larger 5-year project that is studying HIV and pregnancy prevention in rural communities in Appalachia.

Researchers from Ohio State, the University of Kentucky and George Mason University are collecting data from more than 5,000 students in 32 Appalachian high schools.

For this study, students were surveyed in 9th grade before taking a health class that included information on HIV and pregnancy prevention. They were then surveyed again between four and six weeks after their class, and at the end of 10th grade, about one year later.

After taking the class, students were asked if their teachers had encouraged them to learn the material because they would be tested on it (called an extrinsic focus), or if the teachers encouraged them to truly learn and understand the information because it would be important for their lives (termed a mastery focus).

The researchers then compared these two groups of students on a variety of measures.

Overall, the results showed that students in classes with a mastery focus were better off on a variety of health-related measures than were those whose teachers emphasized testing, Anderman said.

One example is the ability to refuse unwanted sexual advances. Findings showed that students in mastery classes reported they were better able to refuse sex 4 to 6 weeks later and even one year later than they were before the class began.

However, those in the extrinsic-focused classes "actually felt less effective at refusing sex after they took the class than they did before," Anderman said.

Similar results were found when students were asked whether they thought they would wait to have sex.

Four to six weeks after the class, students whose teachers emphasized mastery were more likely to report that they wanted to wait to have sex, although there was no significant effect at a year later. That was not true for those who had extrinsic-focused classes, who were actually less likely to want to wait for sex after taking the class.

"That's a really scary finding. The class was not having the intended effect when teachers emphasized the tests," Anderman said.

Students in the mastery classes reported they felt better able to tell partners they would not have sex without using a condom at both time points after the class. Those in the extrinsic-oriented classes did not at the first follow-up.

Similar results favoring students in mastery-oriented classes occurred when students were asked about communication with parents about sex-related topics, knowledge about sex-related health issues, actual intentions to have sex, and belief about the importance of these health issues and whether they had the ability to learn more.

The results are clear, Anderman said.

"Focusing on knowledge about health does not equate to healthy behavior," he said. "It's more important for the students to improve their health than it is to get a 90 percent on a test."

When students focus on tests, they are thinking about what they need to remember to get a good grade, he said. They are not taking the time to think about why they are learning this information, and why it is important in their life.

"Ideally, in the perfect world, I would say students shouldn't be tested in health classes. Tests are important in a lot of areas, but health is not one of them," he said.

"But if you have to have tests, make them minimal and low-pressure. This is not about separating students in terms of ability. It is about getting students to adopt healthy habits."


'/>"/>

Contact: Eric Anderman
Anderman.1@osu.edu
614-688-5721
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. NSF-funded research fellowship program to focus on producing experts to aid people with disabilities
2. Residency program focuses on overlooked mental health needs
3. Medical education needs more of a public health and prevention focus
4. GSA sets focus on optimizing older adults pain care
5. IADR/AADR publish proceedings from the AADR Fall Focused Symposium on Salivary Diagnostics
6. Researchers focus on secondary stroke prevention after study reveals room for improvement
7. White Houses Childhood Obesity Task Force must focus on providing treatment for minority children
8. FDA Focuses on Silicone Breast Implant Safety Studies
9. Study focuses on relationship between glaucoma and diabetes, hypertension
10. With Age, Focus on Body Shifts From Appearance to Function
11. Obesity counseling should focus on neurobehavioral processes, not personal choice, researchers say
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/26/2016)... , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... Degeneration” for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, Long Island Chapter on June 4, 2016, ... public. , Dr. Maisel, founder of Retina Group of New York , ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... In an effort to provide hair restoration ... to both Snapchat users and those who do not use the app. Dr. Mohebi, the ... new page, Dr. Mohebi Live . , Dr. Mohebi says, “The positive response ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Leadership ... solutions, today announced the organization has earned its ISO 13485 certification, indicating the ... compliant with all rules and policies associated with ISO quality standard 13485. ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... ... The Lung Institute has partnered with the Gulfcoast North Area ... at their clinic in downtown Tampa. The class is complimentary for the public. Register ... a free downloadable 4 Week Smoking Cessation Guide for those who are ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Nike Yoga Camps ... from daily practices, arts & crafts, discussions, and games all geared towards enhancing ... Evans have combined backgrounds in kids’ yoga, collegiate sport yoga instruction, and global ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... 2016 As illustrated by the ... month, the numbers and momentum of cannabis in the ... the billions, more research and development push the sector ... of Legal Marijuana Markets Report  from from ArcView Market ... of the increase in sector is attributed to adult ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... MedDay, a biotechnology company focused on the treatment ... "High doses of biotin in progressive multiple sclerosis: extension phase ... Ayman Tourbah , Principal Investigator of the Phase 3 ... Neurology (EAN) in Copenhagen, Denmark . The ... on Sunday, 29 May 2016 from 14:45 to 16:15 CEST ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... AMSTERDAM , May 24, 2016 ... auf den Markt gebracht, die es Ärzten erlaubt, ... überall zu behandeln: MDLinking kombiniert Live Streaming mit ... sicheren Umfeld zu kommunizieren. Mediziner in Europa, Afrika, ... haben sich bereits für die Plattform registriert. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: