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Abstract

This article reports on the results of a project that studied the effectiveness of two specific learning heuristics, concept mapping and Vee mapping, in helping black, inner-city, high school students learn biology concepts meaningfully. The project sought to assess the effects on achievement of the use of these two heuristics as part of a carefully designed sequence of instruction. Two instructional treatments were compared, one that utilized the two experimental heuristics as study aids and one that utilized outlining as a comparison study aid. The instructional treatments were administered over approximately a one semester period. Two hundred and fifty subjects, nearly all black, from two urban high schools in Indiana took part in the study. Achievement instruments designed to measure meaningful (higher order) learning were developed. Analysis of variance of the achievement test means failed to reveal statistically significant differences between the experimental and comparison treatment at the 0.05 alpha level. However, there were suggestions of a tendency toward an effect of the experimental treatment, and several factors contributing to the difficulty in distinguishing achievement differences were identified.