Comparison of Lecture Versus Homework on Student's Content Knowledge Acquisition

Friday, April 3, 2009
Exhibit Hall RC Poster Sessions (Tampa Convention Center)
Skip M. Williams, Brian W. McGladrey, Andrea Silva and James C. Hannon, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Purpose: Many schools and states require students to complete a fitness-for-life class. Fitness-for- life classes typically consist of a lecture portion and an activity portion. A goal is for students to acquire health-related fitness content knowledge. Unfortunately, the lecture portion reduces physical activity (PA) time. A potential solution to helping students develop cognitive skills without sacrificing PA time could be assigning homework. Homework assignments are a way to help students achieve objectives in the cognitive domain. The purpose of this study was to compare student's knowledge of muscular strength and endurance when receiving lecture only, homework only, and a combination of lecture and homework.

Methods: Participating teachers were three student teachers judged as exemplary by their program coordinator. Each student teacher was randomly assigned to one of three groups (lecture, homework, and lecture/homework combined). Each teacher was given lecture and/or homework materials for 10 lessons focused on muscular strength and endurance, based on materials from the Fitness-for-Life text and ancillary materials (Corbin & Lindsey, 2007). A total of 200 students, enrolled in fitness-for-life courses, from three high schools in the Southwestern U.S. participated. The students were given a 50-point pre-test exam and 50-point post-test exam.

Analysis/Results: One-way ANOVA found significant differences (F(2, 198) = 13.44, p < .001) between schools on pre-test scores. Since there was a significant difference in pre-test scores between groups, the difference in pre- to post-test scores were used as the dependent variable in the final analysis. A 3 x 2 (School x Gender) Factorial ANOVA found no difference in pre- to post-test score differences by school (p = .425) or gender (p = .381), but a significant main effect for gender x school was found (F(2, 167) = 4.60, p = .011). Males in the lecture/homework group improved more (m = 3.89) than females (m = .88), but females in the lecture only (m = 5.00) and homework only (m = 4.69) groups improved more than males in the lecture only (m = 2.52) and homework only (m = 1.93) groups. Finally, paired samples t-tests revealed that all groups demonstrated significant increases in pre- to post-test scores (lecture, p < .001; homework, p < .001; and lecture/homework combined, p = .001).

Conclusions: Results suggest that teachers can assign homework or give a lecture with similar results on student comprehension. Teachers may choose to assign homework to allow for more PA time during a fit-for-life class without sacrificing cognitive objectives.