Effects of student control and choice on engagement in a CAI arithmetic task in a low-income school

Maurice D. Fisher, Laird R. Blackwell, Angela B. Garcia, Jennifer C. Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To investigate choice in a computer-assisted instruction (CAI) arithmetic task, 38 4th and 5th graders from a low-income school were assigned to either a choice or a yoked control condition. The choice condition allowed selection of arithmetic problems, while the yoked condition allowed no choices. Choice Ss showed significantly more task engagement. There were 2 distinctive choice patterns, with some Ss consistently choosing the easiest problems and others the most difficult ones. Problem difficulty and engagement were linearly related for all choice subgroups, with engagement highest for the easiest problems and lowest for the most difficult. Choice and yoked Ss differed significantly on 3 behavioral locus of control dimensions (stable-unstable, internal-external, and self-other attributions). While choice may be motivating, for some children it can result in poor academic performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)776-783
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1975
Externally publishedYes


  • locus of control & controlled selection vs choice of arithmetic problems in computer assisted instruction, choice patterns & task engagement, 4th & 5th graders from low-income school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of student control and choice on engagement in a CAI arithmetic task in a low-income school'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this