Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



With the incredible amount of information being uncovered each day and with the emphasis swinging from subject-centered curriculum to child-centered curriculum, education is in turmoil. Educators realize students cannot learn all the facts needed for the future. Since many people will have to retrain for new jobs several times in their lifetimes, students today probably cannot even learn enough for continuous occupation. To meet these challenges, educators have been searching for new methods of organization and instruction. One such method is individualized instruction. The purpose of initiating and studying a program of individualized instruction in English was to establish the feasibility of such a program within a self-contained classroom and to evaluate its effects upon student attitudes and reading habits. This study will describe the method used to initiate the individualized instruction program, present relevant literature on the problem, analyze the attitudes of students involved in the program, and suggest some possible evaluations based on records of student achievement and teacher involvement. A record of achievement will be made and compared to records from six previous years of traditional teaching. Student opinion will be gathered at the beginning of the program and the end of the year; and this information will be compiled and analyzed. Many students leaving the traditional English classroom could reiterate rules and facts but could not write their thoughts clearly, interpret literature discerningly or make decisions; and the majority of students intensely disliked English. Few students used their free time wisely. There was a need for an alternative teaching method that would have more carry-over in writing and interpreting, that would stimulate students to read, and that would make students more responsible. An individualized instruction program was initiated in August, 1968. This first program was extensively revised in August, 1969. The 1969 program was maintained during the following school year, and a study was made during the 1970-1971 school year. All senior English students were placed into a program of individualized instruction. The achievements of students were accurately recorded. Using the school’s records (Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores, IQ test scores, and past classrooms performance), the investigator divided the students into three groups – the above average, the average, and the below average. The achievements of each group were then compared to the other groups’ achievements and to achievements of groups in traditional classes in the six years prior to initiating the individualized instruction program. A questionnaire was administered to the students at two different times (at the beginning of the 1970-71 school year, and at the conclusion of the 1970-71 school year) to determine students’ attitudes toward English and the individualized instruction program. The results of questionnaires were analyzed to see if there was a change in attitude toward English and if there was a favorable attitude toward individualized instruction. Only seniors in the De Smet High School, De Smet, South Dakota were used in the study. No pre-test or post-test was administered because none was available or applicable. No attempt was made to control the variables – only to record final results. Achievement was recorded in terms of amount of work accomplished; although all work did have to meet a satisfactory level, no grades (A, B, C, D, F) were issued on basis of quality. Characterization of Terms 1. Individualized instruction is composed of three main ideas: (a) each student is allowed to proceed at his speed; (b) each student’s curriculum is established to meet his needs and interests; and (c) the student helps plan his curriculum objectives and activities. 2. Self-pacing indicates that the student is allowed to work at the speed dictated by his interest and abilities. Usually self-pacing is achieved through the use of materials that are self-directing. All students are required to follow the same curriculum. 3. Objectives are general statements made by the student which include what he is going to do and what he hopes to achieve. These are usually not behavioral objectives which can be objectively measured. 4. Study guides are packets of teacher-prepared materials that offer discussion questions, hints for interpretation, and suggestions for additional projects.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

English language -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- South Dakota -- De Smet



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University