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How to investigate the information processing strategies of students in competence-based pre-vocational secondary education: selection of the right instrument


  • Maaike Koopman


  • Peter Teune


  • Douwe Beijaard



In the Netherlands, many Pre-Vocational Secondary Education schools are implementing elements of competence-based education. These learning environments are expected to elicit the use of deep information processing strategies and to positively influence learning outcomes. While questionnaires are often used to investigate the preferences of students for particular types of information processing strategies in other educational contexts, these instruments cannot simply be adopted unaltered for use in Pre-Vocational Secondary Education where several characteristics of the students must be taken into account. This study explores the psychometric properties of three instruments for the measurement of student preferences for deep or surface information processing strategies in competence-based Pre-Vocational Secondary Education. The utility of a semi-structured interview, a questionnaire, and the think-aloud method was investigated. The questionnaire appeared to be the most accurate instrument and allowed easy classification of students in terms of their information processing preferences. The think-aloud method provided profound insight into the information processing strategies that the students preferred for a learning task and the frequencies with which the strategies were used. The interview results largely corresponded to the results produced by the other measurement instruments, but the interview data lacked the expected richness and depth. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Maaike Koopman & Peter Teune & Douwe Beijaard, 2012. "How to investigate the information processing strategies of students in competence-based pre-vocational secondary education: selection of the right instrument," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 46(6), pages 1931-1946, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:qualqt:v:46:y:2012:i:6:p:1931-1946
    DOI: 10.1007/s11135-012-9772-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-279, May.
    2. McKelvey, Richard D, 1979. "General Conditions for Global Intransitivities in Formal Voting Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1085-1112, September.
    3. McKelvey, Richard D. & Niemi, Richard G., 1978. "A multistage game representation of sophisticated voting for binary procedures," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-22, June.
    4. McKelvey, Richard D., 1976. "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 472-482, June.
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