Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The purpose of this study was to compare the independent study method to the lecture-discussion method in Mississippi basic vocational agriculture classes. Student achievement, time spent in study and student and teacher opinion were utilized as dependent variables. The pretest-posttest control group design was selected for the study. Three units of instruction were compiled for use by the two treatment groups. A pretest and posttest were developed for each unit. Two student assignments were also developed to serve as measures of student achievement. A student and teacher opinionnaire utilizing the semantic differential method was administered to measure opinions. Additionally, a standardized reading test was given to provide a measure of reading ability. Schools in the study were selected and assigned to treatment at random. One class of students in each school participated in the study. Nine schools containing a total of 175 students completed the independent study treatment. Seven schools containing 157 students completed the lecture-discussion treatment. In the control group, there were seven schools and a total of 123 students. Data were analyzed by computer with the unit of analysis being the school mean. Descriptive statistics used in the study included means, standard deviations, and linear correlations. Inferential statistics chosen as appropriate for testing hypotheses included analysis of variance and Students t distribution. In relation to student achievement as measured by posttests, no significant differences were detected between the two treatments on each of the three posttests. The lecture-discussion treatment produced posttest scores significantly higher than the control group scores on all three posttests. The independent study treatment yielded significantly higher scores on two of the posttests than the control treatment. No significant difference between the two treatment groups was detected when the student assignment scores were analyzed. The time spent in independent study of the units was significantly less for each unit than the time spent in lecture-discussion study. No significant difference could be shown to exist in student and teacher opinion toward instructional method. Teachers and students in the independent study group did differ significantly in their opinions toward instructional content.