Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level



Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology


Don Edgar

Committee Member

Don Johnson

Second Committee Member

Vinson Carter

Third Committee Member

Freddie Scott


Education, Agriculture education, Cognitive achievement, Cognitive development, Demonstration, Lecture, Teaching methods


The purpose of this study was to determine if there were any significant differences (p < .05) in cognitive achievement between different instructional techniques on students enrolled in high school agricultural science classes in Northwest Arkansas. Lesson content covered the

production, uses, and performance of biodiesel fuels in compression engines. Treatments were different instructional techniques including lecture, demonstration, and a combination of lecture and demonstration. Cognitive achievement was measured on low level cognition and high level cognition. In addition, this study sought to find any correlation between student perceptions of lecture versus demonstration and tinkering self-efficacy on student achievement.

A true experimental pretest-posttest design (#2) was used to conduct this research (Campbell & Stanley, 1996). The population consisted of all students enrolled in high school agricultural science courses in the spring of 2011. A sample population was used consisting of 27 intact classes (N=333). Nine classes were used per treatment. Subjects were taught using any (but only one per subject group) of the three treatments based on random selection. Every subject received a pretest prior to the lesson and then posttest following the treatment. Student perceptions of tinkering self-efficacy and perceptions of demonstration and lecture were collected for every subject.

Data collected for this study revealed no significant difference across instructional techniques on knowledge acquisition (F(2)=0.68, p=.52). However, when comparing treatments and cognitive achievement, there was a significant difference between the combination technique (2.92, SD .55) and the lecture technique (2.00, SD .65) on high cognitive achievement. There was not a significant difference on students' cognitive achievement on low level cognition. There was not a significant correlation between student perceptions (preference) of instructional technique and knowledge acquisition. Nor was there a significant correlation between student perceptions of tinkering self-efficacy and knowledge acquisition. There was a significant correlation between tinkering self-efficacy and student preference of instructional technique.