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:4/24/2017)... DC (PRWEB) , ... April 24, 2017 , ... The ... recognized during ATA 2017: Telehealth 2.0 — the American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference, on ... Santana Telehealth Project for using telemedicine to improve the lives of the poor and ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... IL (PRWEB) , ... April 24, 2017 , ... Today, Bright Pink , a ... in young women, names a new CEO. , Bright Pink is proud to announce ... she would be moving to a new role as Chairman of the Board and ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... Raton, Florida (PRWEB) , ... April 24, 2017 ... ... develops a variety of unique liquid food supplements, announced its popular products are ... nutritional products. , ALP Nutrition® prioritizes the use of premium natural ingredients ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 24, 2017 , ... ... (CDC), rising prescription opioid overdose deaths now claim the lives of 62 Americans ... civil case filings against drug manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and prescribers by more than ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... As a former supermodel known for her timeless beauty, ... for single women is that she put all the words in her new book, ... insight, personal experiences and sparkling sense of humor have inspired her to write a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... 20, 2017 Research and Markets has ... Market Share, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, Key Players, ... their offering. ... pharmacogenomics market was valued at US$ 7,167.6 Mn in 2015, ... expanding at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2016 to 2024. ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... , April 20, 2017 Research and ... Pharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing Services Market Analysis By Service (Manufacturing, Research), ... Forecasts, 2014 - 2025" report to their offering. ... The Latin American pharmaceutical ... billion by 2025 Low drug registration cost in ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 The Mobile X-Ray product ... a healthy CAGR during the forecast period Mobile ... the global digital mobile X-Ray devices market, which is estimated ... 2017, expanding at a CAGR of 7% over the forecast ... opportunity of more than US$ 100 Mn in 2017 over ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: