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The Consolidation of Responsibility in the Mixed-Age College Classroom

Jay R. Howard, George H. James, III and David R. Taylor
Teaching Sociology
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 214-234
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3211384
Page Count: 21
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The Consolidation of Responsibility in the Mixed-Age College Classroom
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Abstract

In this study researchers use non-participant observation, survey, and interview to examine the nature of student participation in the mixed-age college classroom at a small Midwestern university commuter campus. Results indicate student age and instructor gender were significant predictors of students' level of participation, while student gender was not significant. The consolidation of responsibility (Karp and Yoels 1976), wherein a few students assume the responsibility for the majority of participation in discussion, was clearly in operation. Student responsibilities are defined; then students who accept the consolidation of responsibility are contrasted with those who rarely participate in class discussion.

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