Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Television in education--United States; Television and teenagers--United States;


Channel One, a news and features program delivered via satellite to over 40% of junior and senior high school students in the United States, has been the subject of persistent scrutiny regarding the educational value of its daily 10-minute presence in schools. Channel One’s curriculum includes three major components: (a) current events; (b) social issues such as drug abuse, teen pregnancy, depression, prejudice, and so on; and (c) commercial advertisements. Previous studies have been conducted to examine the impact of the current events and advertisement components but not of the social issues component.Studies designed to measure how much students learned about current events from watching the program, have shown a statistically significant, but small, effect size in favor of watching the program (i.e., Johnston & Brzezinski, 1992; Tiene, 1993; Walsh, 1994). Among other things, these researchers have speculated that the small amount of learning that takes place might be traced to the low level of involvement that students and teachers typically have with the Channel One curriculum. Most often, after watching the program students are not asked to engage in learning activities that capitalize on what was watched.

The current study was designed to investigate the impact of follow- up discussion on students' acquisition of knowledge about a social issue presented in Channel One. To fulfill the purpose of this investigation two studies, utilizing a posttest only quasi-experimental 3x2 repeated measures design, were conducted.

In Study One, three seventh grade classes were randomly assigned to one of the following treatment conditions: (a) watched a two-day series on depression and discussed it (n = 20), (b) watched the series without follow-up discussion (n = .15), and (c) watched an edited version of Channel One that had the segment on depression deleted (a = 19). Students were tested three days after the completion of the series and again two weeks later.

The major finding of Study One was that students who watched and discussed the feature on depression scored significantly higher on a test designed to measure retention of the information presented than those students who either watched without discussion or did not watch the feature at all. Students who did not watch the feature did as well as those who watched it but did not discuss it. These findings were observed both at the immediate and delayed testing.

Study Two attempted to replicate these findings in the context of the following modifications: (a) three high school classes were randomly assigned to each treatment condition (n = 9), (b) students, were tested both on their acquisition of information about the currents events and the social issues feature presented on three consecutive days (a three- day series on drug abuse). It was expected that test performance differences in favor of the group that watched and discussed would be observed on the drug abuse test scores but not on the current events test scores. Findings provided partial support for the hypothesized outcomes. First, as expected, there was no treatment, time of testing, or interaction effects on performance on the current events test. Second, there was a main effect for treatment on the social issues test score as well as a significant interaction effect between time of testing and treatment. Contrary to expectations, at the immediate testing groups that watched and discussed performed significantly better than those that did not watch the feature but not better than those that watched without discussion. At the delayed testing, students who watched and discussed performed better than those who watched without discussion as well as those who did not watch the feature.

Overall results suggest that the educational impact that Channel One might have on students' learning can be enhanced by the use of follow-up discussion. A cross-study analysis suggests that the use of follow-up discussion might be more valuable in the context of social issues on which students have little prior knowledge. Findings also suggest that in the context of a social issue that is more familiar to students, follow-up discussion enhances the long term retention of the information covered in the program.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Carmen Montecinos, Co-chair

Second Advisor

Robert Muffoletto, Co-chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vii, 147 pages)



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