Eight of the 13 participants from the online review session (62%) were successful in passing the LPGA T & CP Class A written evaluation. Twenty-three of the 49 first time test takers in 2005 who did not receive educational intervention (47%) successfully passed the LPGA T & CP Class A written evaluation. A test of proportions of independent samples (Hinkle, Wiersma, & Jurs, 1998) determined there was not a statistically significant increase (z=.94, p>.05) in the pass percentage rate of the online review session participants (62%) when compared to the pass percentage rate of the test takers who did not receive educational intervention (47%).
The study provided a strong foundation for improving pass rate percentages and academic performances of the LPGA T & CP Membership written evaluation. Observed behaviors of participants and extensive time lapse documentations serve as vital learning tools that may be used to establish a foundation for future interventions. Conclusions drawn from observations may serve the LPGA T & CP intention to expand online training to its membership. This long-term intention warrants additional discussion.
Pass rate percentage and average test scores were higher for online review session participants as compared to the same for test takers not participating in the educational intervention (Table 2). The higher pass rate percentage and average test scores, however, were not of statistical significance. Additionally, the online review session participants who did not successfully pass the Class A written evaluation missed the passing score, on average, by a smaller number of points when compared to the number of points associated with those not receiving intervention. The online review session participants missed a passing score on average by 4 points, and test takers not receiving intervention missed a passing score on average by 7.6 points.
Twenty-seven of 46 eligible LPGA T & CP members voluntarily signed up to participate in the online review session, 22 logged in at least once, 19 logged in only twice, and 13 actively participated and tested for the Class A written evaluation, a requirement for the study. Unexpectedly, only 48% of the registered participants followed through with their intentions to fully participate in the sessions. This low number seemingly supports McLaughlin and Berman’s (1997) claim that the best educational products in unmotivated hands are unlikely to fulfill their promise.
The study’s online review session incorporated self-regulatory variables known to improve academic performance; self-evaluations, discussion postings, and practice tests. A self-evaluation was recommended at the beginning (formative) and at the end (summative) of the online review program. Research has shown that self-evaluation activities positively influence academic pursuits (Bandura & Locke, 2003, Schunk, 1991, Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1991). The self-evaluation at the beginning of the eight-week session requested participants to share their expectations, goals, fears and/or concerns for the online review session. The self-evaluation at the end of the eight-week online review session requested reflection on their online review session experience. All participants submitted a self-evaluation at the beginning of the online review session; however, only four of the 13 participants submitted their final self-evaluation exercise (31%). Of the four final self-evaluation submissions, two were submitted by successful test takers, and two were submitted by unsuccessful test takers.
The present study also included discussion postings. Discussion postings incorporated topics of time management, study tips, and specific Class ‘A’ written test course-related content. Findings from the study discovered that, of the five participants who were not successful in passing the Class A written evaluation, three participated in only 20% of the discussion postings and two participated in 50%. Furthermore, two of the participants who were unsuccessful at passing the Class A written evaluation were two points shy of a passing score, and one participant was one point shy of achieving a passing score. Online education typically offers learners more control over their study level, involvement, and time performing tasks. Minority and adult populations, reflected in the sample of participants, have external responsibilities and are at a greater risk of underachievement (William, Goldstein, and Goldstein, 2002). Unfortunately, a possible explanation for some participants not successfully passing the Class A written evaluation may be consistent with William, Goldstein, and Goldstein (2002) and Brown (2001). Brown (2001) found learners skipped vital practice areas critical for building understanding of the material, moved quickly through training, and completed less than 70% of the recommended practice. There is no shortcut to success as shown by the unsuccessful test takers in the study who submitted minimal discussion postings (Fullan & Watson, 2000). Successful participants reported the following number of discussion postings; one posted 86%, three posted 75%, two posted 50%, and two posted 38% of the recommended discussion postings.
Overall participation in the discussion portion of the review session was lower than expected given the specific test-related review material offered and review session protocol provided to each participant prior to registering. It appears that participants utilized the modules for information gathering rather than interaction; participants read the majority of posts but had only 10% participation in the discussion threads. Additionally, the review session instructor posted six messages of encouragement during the eight-week session, requesting active participation in the discussion threads.
Participants in the study were also Conversely, seven of the eight successful test takers who participated in the study completed all of the practice tests. Zimmerman (2000) reported feedback from practice tests established standards of performance and subsequently motivated students to invest additional time, effort, and potential strategy refinement to achieve academic success.
Three of the 16 online review session participants, all of whom tested on one of the three designated test dates, did not participate in the six discussion postings and had only partial participation in the six practice quizzes. For the purpose of determining if participation in the online review would increase the pass rate percentage when compared to the 2005 first time test takers who did not receive intervention, the results of the 13 LPGA T & CP members who participated in discussions and practice quizzes were used for analysis and discussion. The results of the three LPGA T & CP members who did not participate in the discussion postings and had only partial participation in the practice quizzes were included in the results of the first time test takers who did not receive the intervention. Thus, the pass rate of the 13 online review session participants was compared to the pass rate of the forty-nine first time test takers in 2005 who did not receive educational intervention.
Finally, and with great concern, an LPGA T & CP member may experience a gap of time between their final National Education Program (NEP) seminar and their personally selected date of testing for the Class A written evaluation. The NEP, a required in-person seminar, provides valuable test preparatory materials for the Class A written evaluation. The participants in the study encountered extensive time lapses between their last educational seminar attendance and their chosen Class A written evaluation test date. Those unsuccessful at passing the Class A written evaluation experienced an average time lapse of 11 months. First time Class A test takers who did not receive the educational intervention averaged a 15 month gap between their seminar attendance and national test date.
The current state of technological resource development creates boundless opportunities for education and career enhancement for the LPGA T & CP Membership. The study proved successful in that it resulted in improving pass rates and academic performances on written evaluations. The following recommendations were rendered by lessons learned from the inaugural online educational offering for the LPGA sport organization.
Future online review sessions should allow all test takers an opportunity to participate in the online review session, not limiting participation to first time test takers. Results from the 2005 LPGA T & CP Class A written evaluations indicated a 36% pass rate for second attempts, a 14% pass rate for third attempts, and an 8% pass rate for all others. In addition, online review sessions should be created and implemented for Class B and Apprentice written evaluation test takers.
Interestingly, an unexpected large number of LPGA T & CP members registered for the online sessions, but only 48% of the registered participants logged in, participated, and tested for the Class A written evaluation. This attrition rate should be addressed. Additionally, there was an unexpected, but critical finding of low levels of participation during the eight-week session. The authors believe non-existent posting and reply requirements impacted such levels. Thus, recommendations for future online review sessions would include a required number of postings and replies during the discussion component and a minimum recorded proficiency on practice quizzes prior to the participant’s advancement to the next unit of study.
Finally, time lapses between formal education and actual test date averaged up to 15 months. Future online review sessions should be strategically offered within time interval considerations. Study strategies and suggested timelines for test preparation activities could also be offered to participants incurring a lengthy time period before their selected test date. This type of structure could assist those members who demonstrate procrastination tendencies. An overwhelming 77% of the online review session participants in the study expressed procrastination tendencies.
The study provided a strong foundation for improving pass rate percentages and academic performances of the LPGA T & CP Membership. Findings resulted in a 15% increase in pass rate percentage, a higher average test score for participants, and fewer points shy of a passing score by the unsuccessful test takers. The recommendations discussed would be complimentary to the findings of the study and influential to future academic performances on LPGA T & CP written evaluations.
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received 29 Aug 2006; revision received 23 Oct 2006
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