Academic Transformation: The Road to College Success / Edition 1

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The latest research on cognitive theory paired with readable and practical lessons on study skills to create a balanced approach to learning strategies.

Academically rigorous yet engaging and practical, Academic Transformation successfully balances cognitive theory and research with realistic and proven skills that readers can deftly apply to their college careers. Utilizing a narrative tone, eye-catching design, and plentiful real-life examples, this text bestows students with life lessons covering the subjects of motivation, procrastination, time management, stress management, and behavior redirection — all while giving readers a solid understanding of why certain strategies lead to goal achievement.

The new second edition has been restructured and revised based on intensive feedback from college and university faculty members across the country that used the first edition text in their classrooms. The new text incorporates some of the latest research in brain-based learning and cognitive psychology and the corresponding learning strategies that are supported by these findings. In addition, the newly revised second edition of Academic Transformation has been updated to be particularly responsive to the distinctive issues and pressures of today's post-modern students.

Note: This is the standalone book, if you want the book/access card order the ISBN below:

0321944240 / 9780321944245 Academic Transformation: The Road to College Success Plus NEW MyStudentSuccessLab 2013 Update -- Access Card Package

Package consists of:

0137007566 / 9780137007561 Academic Transformation: The Road to College Success

0321943252 / 9780321943255 NEW MyStudentSuccessLab 2013 Update -- Valuepack Access Card

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130486158
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 9/30/2004
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 7.53 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. De Sellers began one of the earliest cognitive-based learning strategies courses for college students in the United States in 1973 at Texas State University—San Marcos, incorporating both the emerging theory and the research-based practice from subdisciplines in psychology and educational psychology into the course. She continued to teach the course for more than 25 years before retiring. Some of her administrative posts included Dean of the College of General Studies, Director of the Student Learning Assistance Center, and Director of the International Office. She holds both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused her studies on adult learners. De is now the president of Cerridwen, Inc., a consulting company for educational and psychological services.

Dr. Carol W. Dochen is currently the Director of the Student Learning Assistance Center at Texas State University—San Marcos. She also teaches undergraduate courses in University College and occasionally teaches in the College of Education. Carol earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration, with a minor in Educational Psychology, from the University of Texas at Austin. She is actively involved in state and national developmental education organizations and was a founding member of the annual statewide College Academic Support Programs conference and the Texas Association for Developmental Education (TADE). Carol is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences and received a College Academic Support Programs award for Outstanding Conference Institute. She has published in a variety of journals and books; has obtained numerous grants; and has established model Supplemental Instruction (SI), Online Tutoring, and other learning assistance programs at Texas State.

Dr. Russ Hodges has worked at Texas State University—San Marcos since 1986 and coordinates the university’s undergraduate learning frameworks course titled Effective Learning. Russ also teaches master’s- and doctoral-level courses in the College of Education. Russ currently serves as chair of the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations (CLADEA) and is a past president of the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA), serving from 2004 to 2005. Russ has received the Outstanding Article Award from the Journal of Developmental Education in 2001, the Robert Griffin Award for Long and Outstanding Service from CRLA in 2007, the College

Academic Support Programs (CASP) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, and was inducted as a CLADEA Fellow for his lifetime contributions to the fields of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education in 2009.

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Read an Excerpt

More than three decades ago, I walked to the other side of the desk and began teaching. The classroom had always been my arena of competition, and I was routinely successful as a student. If I ever gave any thought to other students who were not as successful as I, I just assumed they were lazy. It was not until I began to teach that I noticed many of my students tried to learn but failed nonetheless.

Suddenly, teaching was not as easy as I had assumed it would be. It was not simply a matter of presenting content. Each day during that first year of teaching brought questions. Was I teaching if they did not learn? Why was learning difficult for some students? Why was it so easy for me? The questions continued to pour in. Clearly, many of my students were intelligent, and I could witness their effort, but why did they often struggle to learn? What was the cause? It would have been simple to retreat to the ivory tower and proclaim that their high school preparation was poor, that they just didn't try hard enough, that not everyone could benefit from a higher education.

Instead, I started to ask real questions. How do we learn academically? Could anyone learn more effectively? The journey that started so long ago led me back to graduate school, then on to decades of teaching, and now to this text. Along the way, I have been blessed with dynamic and innovative colleagues, challenging and adventurous students, honest teachers, and administrators who knew when to turn a blind eye to daringly experimental programs.

My seemingly simple questions came to have complicated answers. My colleagues and I searched in numerous fields, unearthing both theoretical and research answers. Over the decades, we have been part of this new field of developmental education. Developmental education has emerged in response to the needs of thousands of American students who want to be more successful academically and to the desires of institutions that want these students to succeed.

This text is the amalgamation of our experiences. These are the concepts and practices based in theory and research that help our students reach their academic goals. These concepts and practices are rooted in the ideal of an autonomous student, a person fully equipped to meet the learning challenges in academics as well as the work world.


We begin this book by introducing the concept of academic transformation and seven principles for becoming an autonomous learner. Chapter 2 focuses on academic motivation, and we propose our own theoretical model along with strategies for increasing and maintaining motivation. Chapter 3 covers practical study strategies to help students get organized, learn and apply different methods of taking notes, and comprehend college-level reading assignments. In Chapter 4, we explore the concept of academic learning through types of knowledge (i.e., declarative, procedural, metacognitive) and levels of intellectual performance using the recently revised Bloom's Taxonomy (cognitive domain). Chapter 5 completes our general review and application of academic success research, focusing on expert and novice learning and levels of commitment and involvement. In Chapters 6 and 7, we take a more introspective approach to learning as we explore the stages of development (i.e., personal and intellectual) that humans share, followed by research and discussion on talents, will, and preferences that make us unique individuals. Our bias about the important impact of self-regulation on student success is reflected in our devoting three chapters to this topic. We cover attaining achievable goals, reducing procrastination, and increasing timeliness in Chapter 8; we discuss our stage model of self-regulatory ability, key routines, time management, and balancing our lives in Chapter 9; and we conclude with stress management and reducing academic anxieties in Chapter 10. The last two chapters of the book are dedicated to achieving academic goals through successful performance. Chapter 11 focuses on neural development, different approaches to learning (i.e., surface, deep, achievement), and strategies for improving attending and understanding. In Chapter 12, we explore the role of critical thinking in study, learning through storage and retrieval, and conclude with a review of techniques to improve test-taking and other academic performance.

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Table of Contents

Packing the Essentials 1

Toothbrush? Check! Backpack? Check! Commitment? Check!

Introduction 1

Course Syllabus 2

EXERCISE E.1 Syllabi Matrix 3

Time Management 4

EXERCISE E.2 Weekly Planner 5

Comprehensive Notebook 6

EXERCISE E.3 Comprehensive Notebook 7

Virtual Learning Environments 7

Test Preparation Strategies 8

EXERCISE E.4 Using a Test Prep 9

Test-Taking Strategies 12

Analysis of Performance 15

EXERCISE E.5 Analysis of Preparation and Performance 15

Commitment 16

Personal and Institutional Commitments 17

Strategies for Assessing Our Commitments 17

EXERCISE E.6 Are You Committed? 18

Chapter 1 The Road to Autonomous Learning 21

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m making good time.

EXERCISE 1.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: My Willingness to Become a Successful Student 22

Introduction 23

A Quality World 24

Improving Our Quality World 27

Academic Transformation 29

EXERCISE 1.2 Strengthening the Transformation 31

Becoming an Autonomous Learner 31

Conclusion 34 • Summary 34 • Key Concepts 35 •

Guided Journal Questions 35 • The Last Word 36

Chapter 2 Thinking and Intellectual Performance 37

I think, ergo I learn.

EXERCISE 2.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: Thinking About Learning 38

The Role of Thinking in Study 39

EXERCISE 2.2 What This Academic Success Course Means to Me 41

Types of Knowledge 42

Declarative Knowledge 43

Propositions 43

Procedural Knowledge 45

Productions 46

Conditional Knowledge 48

EXERCISE 2.3 Using Declarative, Procedural, and Conditional Knowledge 49

Levels of Intellectual Performance 50

Remember 50

Understand 52

Apply 53

Analyze 54

Evaluate 54

Create 54

Using the Taxonomy 55

EXERCISE 2.4 How Do You Learn at Each Level? 55

EXERCISE 2.5 Determining Levels for Test Questions 56

Conclusion 56 • Summary 56 • Key Concepts 58 •

Guided Journal Questions 58 • The Last Word 59

Chapter 3 Learning in Class 61

But I slept through class in high school.

EXERCISE 3.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: Skills for Success 62

Your Job as a Student 63

Range of Difficulty of Material 63

Content Difficulty 64

Quality of Presentation 64

Intuitive—Formal Continuum 65

Contents v

EXERCISE 3.2 Range of Difficulty of Year Classes 67

How to Learn in Class 68

Listening and Note-Taking 69

Good Note-Taking Strategies 70

Lecture Classes 70

Guided Notes 71

EXERCISE 3.3 Guided Notes 73

Cornell Notes 74

EXERCISE 3.4 Cornell Notes 76

Problem-Solving Classes 77

T-Notes 77

EXERCISE 3.5 T-Notes 80

Discussion Classes 80

Distance Classes 82

EXERCISE 3.6 A New Vocabulary 83

Conclusion 84 • Summary 84 • Key Concepts 85 •

Guided Journal Questions 86 • The Last Word 86

Chapter 4 Learning Outside Class 87

Outside of class?!? The brochure didn’t say anything about this.

EXERCISE 4.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: Skills for Success 88

Essential College Learning Resources 89

Learning from Textual Sources 89

Academic Textual Sources 90

Increasing Prior Knowledge 91

A Study Method to Increase Understanding 93

Improving Concentration, Comprehension, and Vocabulary 95

Sharpening Concentration 96

EXERCISE 4.2 Internal and External Distractions 96

Monitoring Comprehension 98

EXERCISE 4.3 Monitoring Your Comprehension 98

Developing Vocabulary 99

Learning from Solving Problems or Case Studies 99

Learning from Writing 100

Learning from Individual Projects 101

Learning from Peers 102

Learning from Academic Networking 103

Conclusion 104 • Summary 104 • Key Concepts 106 •

Guided Journal Questions 106 • The Last Word 107

Chapter 5 Academic Learning and Neural Development 109

My, what big dendrites you have.

EXERCISE 5.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: Learning and Memory Skills 110

Brain Learning Theory 111

EXERCISE 5.2 Make a Fist 114

A Descriptive Model of Academic Learning 118

Dual-Store Model of Memory 119

Sensory Register 119

Working Memory 120

Long-Term Memory 121

Applying the Model 122

Increasing Our Academic Learning and Memory 123

Attending 123

Understanding 124

Consolidating (Building Dendrites) and Retrieving 125

Forgetting–Causes and Remedies 127

Conclusion 128 • Summary 128 • Key Concepts 130 •

Guided Journal Questions 130 • The Last Word 131

Chapter 6 Preparing for Performance 133

Lights, cameras, action!

EXERCISE 6.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: Preparing to Perform Academically 134

Defining Academic Performance 135

Grades 136

EXERCISE 6.2 Grading Yourself and Your Teachers 137

Predicting Academic Performance 137

What Is the Content? 138

What Is the Level of Learning Needed? 138

EXERCISE 6.3 Predicting Exam Questions 140

Three Approaches to Academic Learning 140

Surface Learning 141

Deep Learning 141

Achievement Learning 142

EXERCISE 6.4 Your Approach to Learning 144

Simple Study Techniques 144

Multiple Ways to Use Note Cards 147

Advanced Study Techniques 150

Summarization Techniques 151

Visual or Graphic Organizers 151

Conclusion 162 • Summary 162 • Key Concepts 163 •

Guided Journal Questions 163 • The Last Word 164

Chapter 7 Establishing Direction in Your Life 165

The promised land.

EXERCISE 7.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: Exploring Goals 166

Fantasies, Dreams, and Goals 167

EXERCISE 7.2 Dreams Do Come True 169

Goals: The Foundation of Self-Regulation 170

Translating Goals into Behaviors 171

EXERCISE 7.3 Turn Your Dreams into Goals 173

Characteristics of Achievable Goals 174

EXERCISE 7.4 Which Goals Are Achievable? 176

Translating Goals into an Action Plan 176

EXERCISE 7.5 Putting Your Goals into Action 178

To Change or Not to Change? 178

Why Do I Need to Change? 178

What Do I Need to Change? 178

How Will I Change the Desired Behavior, Thought, or Emotion? 179

How Will I Monitor What Is Happening? 179

Conclusion 179 • Summary 180 • Key Concepts 180 •

Guided Journal Questions 181 • The Last Word 181

Chapter 8 Self-Regulation, Will, and Motivation 183

I know I can, I know I can.

EXERCISE 8.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: Self-Regulation, Will, and Motivation 184

Self-Regulation 185

Academic Self-Regulation 186

EXERCISE 8.2 Self-Regulation 186

Will 187

EXERCISE 8.3 Your Will 189

Academic Motivation 189

Psychological Elements that Impact Motivation 191

Values 192

Needs 193

Expectations 195

EXERCISE 8.4 Motivation for a Task 197

Stages of Self-Regulatory Ability 199

Stage 1: Chaos 199

Stage 2: Stability 200

Stage 3: Flexibility 201

Stage 4: Mastery 201

Possible Regression 201

EXERCISE 8.5 Your Self-Regulatory Ability 202

Conclusion 202 • Summary 202 • Key Concepts 204 •

Guided Journal Questions 204 • The Last Word 205

Chapter 9 Strengthening Academic Self-Regulation 207

Pumping iron (will).

Flow 207


Timeliness 210

Strategies for Strengthening Academic Self-Regulation 211

Ownership 211

Self-Esteem 212

Intent 213

Initiation 214

Mindset 215

Self-Talk 215

EXERCISE 9.2 Procrastination Survey 216

Using Self-Regulation to Improve Time Management 218

Alignment of Subjective Time and Clock Time 219

Driving and Resisting Forces 219

Productive versus Counterproductive Use of Time 220

EXERCISE 9.3 Monitoring Your Time 221

Underlying Assumptions for Effective Time Management 222

Creating the Right Plan 224

Next Action List 225

Study Starts 225

Technology Aids 226

The Killers 227

Conclusion 227 • Summary 228 • Key Concepts 229 •

Guided Journal Questions 229 • The Last Word 230

Chapter 10 Making Behaviors Work for You 233

Walking the academic tightrope.

EXERCISE 10.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: Balancing My Life 234

Balancing Our Lives 235

EXERCISE 10.2 Balancing Your Life 236

Key Routines 237

Making Key Routines Automatic 239

EXERCISE 10.3 Key Routines 240

Self-Change: A Holistic Approach to Changing Behaviors 240

Step 1: Formulate a Target Behavior 241

Step 2: Collect Baseline Data 241

Step 3: Design a Contract 242

Step 4: Implement Treatment 246

Step 5: Evaluate the Project 246

EXERCISE 10.4 Self-Change Project 247

Conclusion 250 • Summary 250 • Key Concepts 251 •

Guided Journal Questions 251 • The Last Word 251

Chapter 11 Patterns in Human Development 255

All these people are like me?

EXERCISE 11.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: My Independence 256

The Universal: Stages and Transitions of Life 257

EXERCISE 11.2 Identifying the Stages and Transitions of Life 258

Independence 259

EXERCISE 11.3 Your Self-Perceptions 263

EXERCISE 11.4 How Others See You 264

Perry’s Theory of Cognitive and Moral Development 264

Category 1–Dualism 265

Category 2–Multiplicity 265

Category 3–Relativism 267

Retreat 268

Escape 268

Temporizing 268

EXERCISE 11.5 Deflections to Cognitive Growth 269

Category 4–Commitment 269

EXERCISE 11.6 Matching Your Cognitive Level to a

College Course 271

Midlife 272

Autonomy 274

EXERCISE 11.7 The Interview 275

Conclusion 276 • Summary 276 • Key Concepts 277 •

Guided Journal Questions 278 • The Last Word 279

Chapter 12 Exploring the Diversity of Individuality 281

I’ve just gotta be me.

EXERCISE 12.1 SELF-ASSESSMENT: How I Am Different 282

Individuality 283

Talents 285

EXERCISE 12.2 Animal School 285

Multiple Intelligences 286

EXERCISE 12.3 Your Multiple Intelligences 290

Preferences 292

EXERCISE 12.4 Learning About Preferences 294

EXERCISE 12.5 Self-Assessment: Your Learning Preference 294

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® 297

Acquiring Information 298

Making Decisions 299

Focus of Attention and Energy 301

Lifestyle Orientation 302

EXERCISE 12.6 Matching Your Personality Type to Your Instructor’s Type 305

Temperament 305

Guardians 306

Artisans 307

Idealists 307

Rationals 308

Conclusion 309 • Summary 309 • Key Concepts 311 •

Guided Journal Questions 311 • The Last Word 312

Chapter 13 Appropriate Stress Reduction Techniques 313

AAUUUGH *%^$#&!@ (I feel much better now).


Stress and Anxiety 315

EXERCISE 13.2 Physical and Psychological Symptoms 316

Stressors of College Life 317

EXERCISE 13.3 Stressful Life Events 318

Stress Reaction Model 319

Person 321

Type A versus Type B Personality 322

Stress-Hardy Individuals 323

Gender Differences 323

EXERCISE 13.4 Relaxation Response 324

The Event or Trigger 325

Individual Perception 326

The Reaction: Fight, Flight, or Manage 326

Strategies for Managing Stress 327

Refuting Irrational Ideas 328

EXERCISE 13.5 Changing Negative Self-Talk 329

Breaking the Worry Cycle 330

EXERCISE 13.6 Worry No More 331

Conclusion 332 • Summary 332 • Key Concepts 333 •

Guided Journal Questions 333 • The Last Word 334


• Overcoming Specific Academic Anxieties 335

Postscript 341

References 343

Index 346

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