The effect of utilizing older persons in the classroom upon elementary students' attitudes toward aging


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The effect of utilizing older persons in the classroom upon elementary students' attitudes toward aging
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ix, 126 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Towry, Betty J
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Subjects / Keywords:
School children -- Attitudes   ( lcsh )
Older people   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1986.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 112-125).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Betty J. Towry.
General Note:
General Note:

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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oclc - 15997771
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Full Text








This has truly been a God-directed journey in love.

So many dear and wonderful people have shown me love

through sharing their encouragement, strength, and

inspiration. Dr. Hannelore Wass has given me every

support possible throughout my doctoral program. Her

wisdom, love, and enthusiasm have made all the difference

in keeping me going. Dr. Linda Crocker has cleared my

vision, shared her intellect and her laughter, and

strengthened my faith. Dr. Don Avila started the journey

with me and has been near every step. Dr. Paul

Fitzgerald has been visible and supportive at the

important points along the way. I am grateful to each of

these individuals in making this moment a reality.

My family and friends have remained supportive, even

through the crazy times. They continue to love me, pray

for me, and encourage my growth. Such lessons of love I

have learned from them! Grandmother and Grandaddy have

been a very important part of my journey. And Mother and

Daddy have been and remain close, giving me a gentle push

(as needed) to get around the next bend.

Every member of my Central Florida Community College

family has also been a part of this process. Very special

thanks go to Dolores, Jan, Joan, Linda, and Rose Marie

for supporting me through it all. They have worked as my

guardian angels! Wayne has helped me grow by walking

with me and sharing his faith and love. Linda has earned

her heavenly halo through an outpouring of love unlike

any other person I have known.

Finally, this journey could not have been completed

without the support of Dr. Henry Goodlett. He has made a

very powerful and lasting impression on my life, forever

changing me and the person I am. My prayer is that I may

fulfill the dreams he has inspired.

1 Corinthians: 13



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...................................... ii

LIST OF TABLES ..................................... vi

ABSTRACT.............................................. ii


I. INTRODUCTION.................................. 1

Purpose.................................... 4
Need for the Study........................ 5
Definitions of Terms..................... 9
Organization of the Report................ 11

II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE...................... 12

Research Findings on Attitudes Toward Aging
and the Aged ................................. 12
Assessment Procedures Examining Aging
Attitudes .................................... 19
Education Projects on Aging................... 30
Summary ....................................... 42

III. METHODS AND PROCEDURES ....................... 43

The Curriculum Unit on Aging.................. 43
The Spelling Lesson Activities................ 45
Design of Study.............................. 45
Hypothese.................................... 48
Research Design ............................. 49
Instruments................ .................. 49
Experimental Procedures....................... 51
Analyses...................................... 56

IV. RESULTS OF THE STUDY.......................... 57

Descriptive Statistics....................... 58
Effects of Instructional Strategies........... 60
Summary .................................... 71



Summary ....................................... 73
Conclusions................................... 77
Limitations ................................... 78
Recommendations .............. ................ 79
Implications for Reasearch and Practice....... 82

AGING................................. 84


QUESTIONNAIRE........................ 101

APPENDIX D. KNOWLEDGE SURVEY....................... 108

REFERENCES ......................................... 112

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH................................ 126



3-1 Number Of Students In Each Class And
Treatment Condition........................... 46

4-1 Pre- And Posttest Means And Standard
Deviations By Treatment Group and Test
Administered .................................. 59

4-2 Reliability Estimates Computed By The
Kuder-Richardson Formula 21................... 61

4-3 Adjusted Posttest Means And Standard
Error Of The Mean By Treatment Group And
Instrument Administered....................... 62

4-4 Results For Modified Tuckman-Lorge Old
People Questionnaire (TL)..................... 64

4-5 LS Means And Differences* Between Pairs Of
LS Means For The Groups....................... 66

4-6 Results For The Knowledge Survey (KS).......... 67

4-7 Results For The Attitude Test (AT)............ 69

4-8 Slopes And Intercepts For Regression Of
Posttest on Pretest Score For Each
Class-Within-Treatment...................... 72

Abstract Of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
School of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor
of Philosophy



Betty J. Towry

December 1986

Chairperson: Dr. Hannelore Wass
Major Department: Foundations of Education

Literature review indicates that programs involving

intergenerational contact or prepared materials on aging

can increase young persons' knowledge and positive

attitudes regarding aging and the elderly. Comparison of

these approaches are lacking. Combining academic skills

and aging facts would enhance schools adoption of such

curricula. A curriculum unit on aging combined with

academic skills was developed expressly for this study.

Twelve fourth grade classrooms were randomly

assigned to one of the following conditions: instruction

on aging from an older volunteer; instruction on spelling

from an older volunteer; instruction on aging from the

regular classroom teacher; no special treatment for a

control condition. Three classrooms were nested in each

condition. All students were pre- and posttested, using

a modified version of the Tuckman-Lorge Old People

Questionnaire, a knowledge survey, and an attitude test

designed by the experimenter.

Test data were collected for 381 students with

increases in pre- and posttest raw scores observed on all

three tests for treatment groups. A separate analysis of

covariance (ANCOVA) was used to test for significance.

Pretest scores were covariates with independent variables

being treatment and classroom nested within treatment.

A significant difference (p < .05) among treatments

and the control group on the modified Tuckman-Lorge Old

Person Questionnaire was found. Post-hoc comparisons

indicated that an older person teaching spelling was

significantly different than the control group in

attitude gain.

No significant differences among the four groups

were found on the locally developed knowledge survey.

A significant interaction occurred between pretest level

and treatment effect on the locally developed attitude

test. Pretest and posttest regression lines for the

groups indicated that the control group and the treatment

with the classroom teacher teaching about aging scored

lower on the posttest than treatments utilizing the older

persons. Differential treatment effects were observed




person in


the older


upon students' initial attitudes toward older

Results indicated that the presence of an older

the classroom had a positive impact on student

toward the elderly. Further, the presence of

person was more important than what the person


Perpetuation of negative stereotypes related to

aging is a serious problem which faces older persons.

Some research findings notwithstanding, (Thomas &

Yamamoto, 1975), many studies have shown that old people

are perceived as past-bound and that old age is viewed

unpleasantly. These perceptions are particular evident

when considering children and youth (Ansello, 1978;

Arnoff & Lorge, 1960; Hickey & Kalish, 1968; McTavish,

1971; Seefeldt, Galper, & Serock, 1977). Further, a lack

of knowledge about and contact between older and younger

persons has been found to support the development of

prejudice and promote discrimination (Marks & Newman,

1985; Nusberg, 1980; Page, Olivas, Driver, & Driver,

1981) and children who are isolated from contact with

older people have less accurate perceptions of old age

(Long, 1982). Havighurst (1974) found that typically

children's first contact with older persons is through

their grandparents. Yet, many children live away from

their grandparents and older relatives with no chance for

a loving relationship to exist. Teachers and parents

have voiced concern that this life experience is

unavailable for many children in today's society (Atwood,

1975; Pribble & Trusty, 1981).

Attitudes which develop in childhood influence one's

life and can cause an individual to act in consistent

ways toward people, objects, situations, or ideas

(Brubaker & Powers, 1976; Green, 1981; Mussen, Conger,

& Kogan, 1969; Thomas, 1981). Furthermore, attitudes

formed early in life remain relatively stable as a person

grows older (Klausmeier & Ripple, 1971; Seltzer &

Atchley, 1971). Thus, Jantz, Seefeldt, Galper, and

Serock (1977) proposed that because attitudes are

developed during childhood and influence later behavior,

concern about aging education is all important for

today's children as their attitudes will affect us all.

With the increasing emphasis on accountability, the

attitudes that schools are promoting must be examined

(Moramarco, 1978). Education should not allow important

values to be unintended outcomes of school curriculum

(Khan & Weiss, 1973). The more positive children's

attitudes toward the elderly, the more completely they

will live their own lives. When people are able to

identify with older persons, stereotyping may be avoided.

However, the educational system isolates students from

the realities of human growth and maturation and

children do not really understand the normal aging

process or what older people are like (Harris, 1975;

Jantz et al., 1977).

The concept that children need to be made aware of

their own status in relation to the process of aging is

one which is found in several investigations (Bennett,

1976; Jacobs, 1969; Jantz et al., 1977; Looft, 1971;

Lorge, Tuckman, & Abrams, 1954; Seefeldt et al., 1977;

Serock et al., 1977; Sheehan, 1978). If children are to

recognize their own position in the aging process and

realize that old age can also be a fulfilling time of

life, they will need exposure to a range of elderly

persons. Several authors (Bailey, 1976; Kawabori, 1975;

Wass, Fillmer, & Ward, 1981) maintain that schools have a

responsibility to develop such age awareness in their

students, and Bennett (1976) and Marks & Newman (1985)

recommend that contacts between the young and the old

should be initiated early in the educational process.

Research literature provides many examples of how

intergenerational contact and related materials support

children's development of more accurate knowledge of and

positive attitudes toward aging and the elderly. There

is a lack, however, of evidence as to what method is most

effective with children in creating improved attitudes

and more accurate knowledge regarding old people.

Research is lacking on the manipulation of presentation

of information on aging in the elementary classroom in

relation to the development and improvement of attitudes

toward the elderly and aging. This is the purpose of the

present investigation.


It was the purpose of this study to compare the

effects of three different instructional approaches in

the classroom setting on students' attitudes toward old

people. Specifically, fourth grade students participated

in one of three treatment groups or one control group.

The classrooms were randomly assigned to the following

conditions: receiving instruction on aging from an older

volunteer; receiving instruction on spelling from an

older volunteer; receiving instruction on aging from the

regular classroom teacher; no special treatment for a

control condition. The relative effectiveness of these

treatments in achieving gains in attitudes and knowledge

were investigated through an analysis of covariance


The following research questions were posed:

1. Is there a significant difference among the

adjusted posttest means of the four groups on the

modified Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire?

2. Is there a significant difference among the

adjusted posttest means of the four groups on the

attitude test designed by the experimenter?

3. Is there a significant difference among the

adjusted posttest means of the four groups on the

knowledge survey?

If significant differences (p < .05) among the

groups were detected, post-hoc comparisons among each

possible pair of adjusted group means were conducted.

Need for the Study

Census projections have shown individuals age 65 and

older as doubling between 1976 and 2020, topping out at

approximately 45 million (Kart, Metress, & Metress,

1978). Educators must consider how to involve older

persons in the curriculum and related activities.

Providing today's young with healthy attitudes concerning

older persons is an important but often neglected goal

(Long, 1982). Educational efforts to prepare young

people for and/or familiarize them with the aging process

are lacking. Margaret Mead (1970, p. 19) stated, "A

concomitance to the fear of aging is a fear of the aged.

There are far too many children in American who are badly

afraid of older people because they never see any."

Utilizing the elderly (65 years and older) in the

classroom setting could provide potential advantages

while improving intergenerational relationships and

attitudes of students, teachers, and elderly involved.

According to Rosow (1967), the most important influence

in the aging process is found in the younger generations,

not the elderly. Rosow suggests that it is persons other

than the elderly who determine the role of the older

person in society. Tuckman and Lorge, who completed the

majority of early studies regarding attitudes toward

aging, found in a 1958 study that personal contact with a

variety of old persons can influence individuals'

attitudes more positively as compared to persons whose

acquaintances lack depth and are of a restricted nature.

Older persons can benefit from such involvement

through increased activity, stimulation, and enhanced

opportunities for personal growth (Hunter & Linn, 1981;

Linden, 1975; Monk & Cryns, 1974). In fact, Downey

(1974) found that self-esteem and self-worth of the older

person can be renewed by the elderly participating in

volunteer programs. Participating in school programs

could fulfill older persons' needs for social

interaction, problem solving, and decision making while

improving children's attitudes about aging and the aged

(Baggett, 1981; Baumhoner & Jones, 1977; Glass & Knott,

1982; Merrill, 1961). Blau (1956) and Leslie, Larson,

and Gorman (1973) proposed that the process of

assimilation is important in reducing differences between

groups of people. Using older volunteers is one method

by which negative attitudes and stereotypes could be

challenged. Merrill (1961) found that such assimilation

occurs more quickly when group contacts are face-to-face

and personal. Merrill recommends that increased success

can be achieved if opportunities begin early in life,

thereby decreasing the age segregation in society.

Baggett (1981) and Hauwiller and Jennings (1981) suggest,

however, that in providing only informal interactions,

the desired results of improved attitudes may not be


Glass and Knott (1982) and Triandis (1971) have

proposed that there are three basic strategies to change

attitudes. These include discussion with peers, direct

experience with attitude objects, and increased

information or knowledge. Schools, as transmitters of

culture, provide the ideal setting for confronting

stereotypes and myths regarding aging and the aged.

Seefeldt et al. (1981) suggest that schools be specific

concerning attitudes perpetuated by the institution and

develop strategies for teaching about aging.

In 1981, during the third White House Conference on

Aging, the United States Congress reaffirmed the Older

American Act which identifies several objectives related

to the aged and the American belief about the dignity of

the individual. The need for aging education was also

a concern of the two previous White House Conferences on

Aging in 1961 and 1971. These conferences developed

specific recommendations concerning education about aging

for children and youth in school. The problem remains

that attempts to develop such programs occur only if

there is interest and support in local school districts

(Johnson, 1982). Furthermore, those who undertake

development of such programs in the future need the

results of empirical studies to guide their decisions

about content, learning activities, and roles to assign

to older volunteers in classrooms.

Definitions of Terms

Terms used in this study are defined as follows:

Attitude Test (AT) Fourteen statements developed

by the experimenter and used to identify students'

perceptions about aging and the aged. This test was the

last section on the modified Tuckman-Lorge Old People

Questionnaire and was administered in a pre-posttest


Curriculum Unit on Aging Eight curriculum

exercises lasting 30 to 45 minutes in length which were

developed by the experimenter. The exercises incorporated

required state and county basic skills instruction into

information and activities about aging and older persons.

Knowledge Survey (KS) A test based on the

curriculum unit on aging, designed by the experimenter,

to determine what old age-related concepts students


Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire (TL) The

modified 36-item version of the Tuckman-Lorge Old People

Questionnaire (1954) was first used by Olejnik and LaRue

(1981) in assessing children's attitudes toward old

people. The TL was used in a pre-posttest design to

examine students' attitudes.

Marion County Basic Skills Continuum Based on

required skill instruction by the Florida Department of

Education, Marion County Public School System developed

an expanded skill program for all levels of the school

curriculum. The skill continuum for fourth grade was

used in developing the curriculum unit on aging.

Regular Classroom Teacher A reference to the

regularly assigned teacher for each classroom. In three

classrooms or treatments, the regular classroom teacher

taught the curriculum unit on aging.

Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) A

volunteer program for any person 60 years of age and over

who wants to be involved in various types of community

service. This agency assisted in the recruitment of

volunteers for this study.

Spelling Activities Eight different activities

based on the spelling words required for study in three

different classrooms (treatment group 2) were designed by

the experimenter. The exercises were the same for all

three classrooms, but the spelling words in each school's

spelling textbook varied.

Organization of the Report

The remainder of this dissertation is organized into

four chapters and appendices. Chapter II provides an

overview of the research related to attitudes toward

aging, instruments used in analyzing attitudes on aging,

and specific educational project results which have

involved children, aging education, and elderly

volunteers relevant to this study. Chapter III includes

the study design and methodology, the development of

instrumentation, and materials used. The data analyses

and results are presented in Chapter IV. In Chapter V, a

summary, study limitations, and recommendations for

further investigation are presented.


This chapter presents a review of the professional

literature relating to children's attitudes toward old

people and documented educational projects involving

children and the elderly. The initial section deals with

research findings concerning attitudes toward old people

with a focus on children's perceptions. The second

section identifies the various instruments that have been

used in analyzing attitudes toward the aged and those

assessing children's attitudes toward the elderly are

examined. The final section addresses specific

educational programs and projects which have involved

children and older persons.

Research Findings on Attitudes Toward Aging and the Aged

The important influence in the aging process is

found in younger generations, not in the elderly. It is

the youth who shape attitudes as they go through their

own aging process. As Borges & Dutton (1976), Cameron

(1971), and Rosow (1962) have proposed, it is persons

other than the elderly who determine the role of the

older person in society. Tuckman and Lorge (1953a),

found in an early sample that individuals had limited

experience and lacked accurate knowledge about aging.

What was known came from the subjects' observations of

others or through their own aging. Subjects in the study

characterized old age as a time of poor health, economic

insecurity, loneliness, and failing physical and mental

processes. In a later study, Tuckman and Lorge (1958)

discovered that interpersonal contacts with old persons

could influence individual's attitudes in a positive way.

This was found in comparison to persons whose contacts

lacked depth and were restricted.

Research has indicated that attitudes and

stereotypes develop early in life and remain fairly

stable (Carp, 1967; Havighurst, 1974; Klausmeier &

Ripple, 1971; Seltzer & Atchley, 1971; Thomas & Yamamoto,

1975). Attitudes and stereotypes that relate to aging

and the aged influence behaviors directed toward older

people and influence the development of an individual's

self concept (Hendricks & Hendricks, 1977). Because

growing older is irreversible and unavoidable negative

attitudes about aging and maturation can be very

damaging. Neugarten (1976) believes stereotypes about

aging create a fear of aging and this can lead to ageism

and hostile feelings between age groups. Research has

demonstrated that children's general attitudes toward the

elderly as a group are not positive and literature

reviewed reports a general rejection or prejudice against

old people.

McTavish (1971) noted that considerable diversity of

results and opinions on attitudes toward aging can be

identified through social gerontology literature.

General observations found in his evaluation of 300

research articles were that persons have different

opinions about old age; that perceptions of

younger persons are very important as they play a

significant role in determining the position and status

of older persons; that there is discrepancy between

traditional cultural ideas about aging and actual

behavior toward the aged, with research generally only

examining attitudes; and that there is an idea of

"usefulness" involved in perceived social roles which

relates to individuals having positive or negative

attitudes toward aging and older persons. McTavish,

concluding his review, stated that stereotyped views of

the elderly were prevalent and that perceptions included

old people as being generally ill, tired, not sexually

interested, mentally slower, forgetful, and less likely

to participate in activities (except for religion),

isolated during this period of life, and unproductive and

deficient (all with varying emphasis).

Gail Sheehy in Passages (1976), explained how people

are studied to understand human development. "It's far

easier to study adolescents and aging people. Both

groups are in institutions (schools or rest homes) where

they make captive subjects" (p. 10). This example of

stereotypic belief presented as fact is found in a

national best seller. Attitude research has been

encouraged by the belief that attitudes are an

influential aspect of the total social and cultural

environment (Bader, 1980; Hendricks & Hendricks, 1977).

This influence can be so pervasive that Neugarten (1970)

believes that policy issues concerning older Americans

have been influenced by underlying ageism. The

assignment of sameness in characteristics, status, and

consequences to a group which is actually very

heterogeneous causes the aged to be viewed as being

all the same, put into one group and seen as being one

type--old (Binstock, 1983).

Evaluating the effects of external factors, Butler

(1974) and Havighurst (1968) identified the importance of

a supportive environment in successful aging. Personal

concepts of achievement, productivity, and independence,

which are affected by age, were found to consistently

predict attitudes toward old age in studies completed by

Collette-Pratt (1976). Kuypers and Bengstrom (1973)

identified a social breakdown syndrome by which older

people are believed to become less competent in meeting

role expectations, ultimately creating a self-fulfilling

prophecy for the individuals themselves. Other factors

which can influence old age are education on aging

attitudes and the opportunities generally accompanying

educational activities (Thorson, 1975). Tuckman and

Lorge (1952) found that as individuals become less able

to function autonomously, there is a tendency to believe

and act out (to a greater degree) the misconceptions and

stereotypes of old age. Data suggest that individuals

who believe old people should be in old age homes, are

difficult to get along with, etc., may have these

attitudes due to their personal perceptions of themselves

or their acquaintances.

Additional external factors considered by Ivester

and King (1977) showed that a majority of rural

adolescents in their study had positive attitudes toward

the elderly. The authors concluded that rural children

may have more contact with the elderly than the urban

children used in the comparison group. This supports

the finding of Tuckman and Lorge in their 1958 study that

individuals with contacts among a variety of aged persons

will have more positive attitudes toward aging and the

aged. Butler and Lewis (1976) believe that a feeling of

kin relatedness may be necessary in one's personal

orientation as a significant human being. Adams (1971),

Sussman (1976), and Gordon and Hallauer (1976) focused on

the importance of family linkage for elderly persons.

Havighurst (1974) and Kivnick (1983) suggested that the

life-cycle value of a meaningful relationship between a

child and an elderly person is crucial in childhood and

without it, the individual might miss the value of such a

relationship two generations into the future.

Studies that include children and youth (Britton &

Britton, 1969; Cabot, 1961; Dodson & House, 1981;

Drevenstedt, 1976; Frost, 1981; Galper et al., 1981;

Kahana & Kahana, 1970; Lane, 1964; Lorge et al., 1954;

Hickey, Hickey, & Kalish, 1968; Hickey & Kalish, 1968;

Seefeldt et al., 1977) suggest that the concepts of old

age and old people are meaningful and ones about which

young respondents hold distinctive, identifiable

perceptions. Negatively stereotyped views found in this

research describe the elderly as tired, uninterested,

slower, ill, feeling sorry for themselves, and less happy.

Thomas and Yamamoto (1975) found that while children held

superficial attitudes about the elderly, the stories

written by the children showed that they understood the

life cycle. Even in Treybig's (1974) study of young

children aged 3, 4, and 5, there were identifiable

negative views expressed regarding the elderly. These

children also expressed great concern about not wanting

to grow old.

In 1986, Murphy-Russell, Die, and Walker used three

different instructional procedures with undergraduate

students in attempting to improve attitudes toward aging.

There were three workshop sessions in the series with

each single session lasting approximately one hour. The

first session consisted of discussion about the students'

results on Palmore's Facts on Aging Quiz (Palmore, 1977).

The second session involved an interview with an elderly

couple and the third session was an informational

filmstrip which debunked common myths about aging and the

aged. The three techniques were considered individually

with the total workshop series being as effective in

creating attitude change as the single treatment

sessions. With the short length of time involved in the

study, the authors' major recommendations focused on

utilizing the elderly in the classroom setting.

Porter and O'Connor (1978) taught a psychology of

aging course which gave factual information about aging

and gave college students the opportunity to have more

personal contact with an older class resource person.

The study reported more positive attitudes about the

elderly as a result of the course. In 1976, Gordon and

Hallauer had college students enrolled in an adult

development course to participate in a visitor program at

a health facility for older persons. The researchers

found that the course alone changed students' attitudes,

but those who participated in both the course and the

visitor program had a more significant attitude change.

In examining a sample of individuals who experienced only

the visitor program, no significant change was reported.

However, Olejnik and LaRue (1981) found that adolescents'

attitudes toward old persons became less negative after

two months of daily contact.

Glass and Trent (1980) and Trent, Glass, and

Crockett (1977) found a positive attitude change in

adolescents were exposed to the three basic strategies to

change attitudes (Glass & Knott, 1982; Triandis, 1971).

The adolescents were given the opportunity to discuss the

aged with their peers, have direct contact with elderly

persons, and increase their knowledge about older

persons. While attitude change was reported, neither

study evaluated the effectiveness of the individual


Assessment Procedures Examining Aging Attitudes

Techniques involved in developing measurement

devices to assess attitudes toward aging and the aged

vary greatly. Several Likert-type scales of attitudes

toward old people have been documented (Axelrod &

Eisdorfer, 1961; Eisdorfer, 1966; Hickey & Kalish, 1968;

Kirschner, Lindbom & Paterson, 1952; Kogan, 1961;

McTavish, 1970; Silverman, 1966; Tuckman & Lorge, 1952,

1953a, 1953b). The semantic differential approach has

been used in several other studies (Eisdorfer & Alrocchi,

1961; Knapp & Moss, 1963; Kogan & Wallach, 1961;

Rosenkranz & McNevin, 1969) and also content analyses

approaches (Britton & Britton, 1969; Coe, 1967; Golde &

Kogan, 1959; McTavish, 1970; Neugarten & Gutmann, 1958).

Numerous other procedures, such as the Q-sort (Newfield,

1970), the Gough Adjective Rating Scale (Aaronson, 1964),

and the Age-Appropriate Attitude Technique (Kastenbaum &

Durkee, 1964; Sadowski, 1978) have been documented.

Findings from these studies show a generally negative

tone regarding attitudes toward aging and old people.

The use of questionnaires to assess aging attitudes

includes the Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire

(1953a) which consists of 137 statements about old

people. The questionnaire is divided into 13

categories relating to various aspects about the aged.

This clustering of items in specific content areas can

create questions as to the meaningfulness of scores

computed for the clusters (due to response-set effects).

Subjects respond with "yes" or "no" as to whether they

agree with the statement or not. Tuckman and Lorge

attempted to correct possible respondent-set problems by

having subjects estimate the percentages of old people

possessing various characteristics. Subjects were asked

to estimate the percentage of old people whom they

thought possessed certain characteristics. Axelrod and

Eisdorfer (1961) found that 96 of the 137 items have

stimulus-group validity.

Following the work of Tuckman and Lorge, Golde and

Kogan (1959) attempted to test the hypothesis that

attitudes toward old people are measurably different from

those involving "people in general." Sentence completion

procedures were used so that paired experimental items

and control items could be constructed. A comparison of

the experimental and control forms yielded statistically

significant differences for the majority of items. There

was a large amount of ambivalence in the attitudes of

younger subjects. The young subjects viewed their own

aging negatively or could not conceive of it and did not

interact with old people. The researchers suggested that

if the younger subjects believe the older generation is

old fashioned and narrow-minded, their interpersonal

relationships with older persons probably reflect these

views (Golde & Kogan, 1959). Sadowski used the Age-

Appropriate Attitude Technique (AAAT) developed by

Kastenbaum and Durkee (1964) and found support for

conclusions drawn by Golde and Kogan (1959); that a

majority of subjects unfavorably evaluated the past-

boundness of the aged stimulus person presented in the


Palmore (1977) developed a questionnaire that was

short (25 items), using only factual statements

documented by empirical research. Designed to cover

basic physical, mental, and social facts about aging, it

included common misconceptions regarding the development

process. The quiz can be used to measure the amount of

accurate information and anti-age bias of subjects by

analyzing missed items which involve stereotypes. In

using the quiz, Palmore introduced the notion that

respondents have preconceived biases which influence how

they interpret statements about older people. Pilot

tests of an alternate form of Facts on Aging Quiz

(Palmore, 1981) indicate that FAQ can be used in

measuring bias and the effects of educational experiences

in gerontology. Findings with this instrument are

similar to the results on the original FAQ. Most

misconceptions involve negative views of old age

(Palmore, 1981). The data, which examine only adults,

confirm that the average person has more anti-aged than

pro-aged bias.

In 1978, the FAQ (Palmore, 1977) was used by Allen

in three grades in three Florida public schools and two

university classes (for a comparative college sample).

Using Palmore's procedure for determining positive and

negative bias demonstrated that all subject groups showed

a negative tendency with middle schoolers the least

biased and high schoolers the most. On some knowledge

dimensions, increased age and education level showed

higher error rates in information about the elderly.

Based on the data collected in Allen's study, it was

demonstrated that students lack accurate information

about older people. The findings associated with

youngsters who have contact with an older person living

in the same household are somewhat ambiguous. The data

that Allen gathered, suggests that direct contact with

dependent elderly living in the household may convey an

unrealistic depiction of the aged in general.

Hickey et al. (1968) studied the perceptions of

third graders in both private and public schools. The

young children produced stereotypic stories describing

old people as having ambulatory problems, being lonely,

bored, and inactive. The researchers also examined

perceptions of adult ages with third grade, junior high,

senior high, and college students by a 20-item

questionnaire of both evaluative and descriptive items.

It was found that the young people perceived differences

between adult age groups. Results demonstrated that the

older the adult, the less pleasant the image young

respondents held.

In order to better assess children's age-related

biases, the Children's Attitudes Toward the Elderly

(CATE) by Jantz et al. (1977) was developed to analyze

behavioral and knowledge components of attitudes. The

assessment items are based on four measurement

techniques, including a modified word association with

open-ended questions, a semantic differential format, a

picture series, and a final subtest based on Piagetian

concepts using three conservation tasks (designed to

determine the levels of cognitive development concerning

concepts of age). The individually administered CATE has

some limitations which may influence results. Although a

majority of the older population are women, the pictures

used in the CATE picture series are all men. A large

number of children could have a grandmother who is the

only older person that they know and with whom they have

interacted. If the picture series were more reflective

of older persons with whom children have experience, the

subjects might respond differently to questions that are

asked. The CATE also has limited scoring procedure for

some items. In response to the question asking children

to describe an old person, the tester is directed to code

responses such as grey hair, wrinkles, or walking with a

cane as negative responses. These characteristics are

not only apparent to everyone, but are real possibilities

in the aging process. This type of response is factual,

not necessarily negative and reflects the children's

knowledge of changes involved in aging (Baggett, 1981).

In using the CATE to study behavioral and knowledge

components of attitudes, Jantz et al. (1977) found that

children gave old persons negative qualities such as

sick, ugly and sad; with positive characteristics of

rich, friendly, wonderful, and good. As children grew

older, their knowledge increased, but children of all

ages had little general knowledge of the aged in

affective terms. When reporting physical descriptions or

behavioral reactions, students comments remained

generally negative (Jantz et al., 1977). The subjects

reported few contacts with the elderly outside of family

members. Jantz et al. concluded that the 180 children in

the initial sample (from nursery school age through sixth

grade) had minimal opportunity to interact with the

elderly and that because of this lack of contact,

children believed stereotypic characteristics of old

people and viewed their own aging as negative.

James (1980) followed up on the study by

Jantz et al. and examined the relationship between second

grade children's association with an older affiliated

family member, reading achievement, and attitudes toward

the elderly. Based on the Affiliated Family

Questionnaire (completed by the parents) and the student

response to the CATE, children's attitudes toward the

elderly showed that subjects with older affiliated

families had more accurate knowledge of the elderly and

described the older persons less often in physical terms.

When physical descriptions were used, they were less

negative (James, 1980).

Fillmer (1982) used pictures to elicit children's

attitudes toward old people. Children from selected

elementary classes from the various grade levels were

shown pictures of a young man (age 22-28) and an old man

(age range 60 years and older). Subjects were asked to

tell whether the person was sick or healthy, ugly or

pretty, rich or poor, happy or sad, friendly or

unfriendly (all six questions required only a yes or no

answer). More negative adjectives were used to describe

the older stimulus person. Fillmer believes that

children's stereotypes of the elderly should be

considered by educators and that the elderly hurt

themselves because their own attitudes toward aging

create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bossert (1980) also

used photographs and added a profile description. The

students evaluated the stimulus person in the picture and

Bossert measured social distance and personal attraction.

Students maintained different expectations for younger

and older stimulus persons (regardless of the same

profile information) concerning levels of activity and

similarity of beliefs.

Lang (1980) focused on interviews, word tests, and

teacher ratings of children's math and reading skills in

examining children's attitudes toward the aged. Lang

found that a grandparent is an important figure in the

child's life and that grandparents have a positive

influence on children. A relationship was found between

school performance and frequency of contact with

grandparents, suggesting that attention children receive

from their grandparents is related to school performance.

Fossbender (1980) attempted to determine if

attitudes and behavioral intentions were related by using

the Old People Scale (Kogan, 1961) and a behavioral

intention scale. Students' attitudes were found to be

related to student sex, location of residence, self-

reported average, and how many old persons the student

knew. The students' behavioral intentions toward old

people were found to be related to student sex, frequency

and nature of interaction with old people, self-reported

grade average, and number of aged persons known

(Fossbender, 1980). Supporting the findings of

Fossbender's research, Leslie, Larson, and Gorman (1973)

proposed that the process of assimilation is influential

in reducing perceived differences between age groups.

Utilizing school volunteers was a recommended method for

effectively challenging negative stereotypes.

Merrill (1961) also reported that assimilation occurs

more readily if group contacts are face-to-face and

personal as this provides for better communication and

allows individuals to more easily share beliefs and

ideas. Merrill suggested that if these opportunities

occur early in life, age segregation could be decreased,

supporting the involvement of older persons in elementary


In a study addressing the extent of age-based

attitudes of children from 8- through 10-years old, Marks

and Newman (1985) utilized the Chidren's View on Aging

Questionnaire (COVA). The COVA was designed by

researchers and consists of open-ended and close-ended

questions and semantic differential scales. The COVA

measures the cognitive, affective, and conative (intended

actions based on attitudes) aspects of children's

attitudes. The researchers suggest that children's

attitudes do not represent a single unidimensional

concept which is either good or bad in regards to aging.

Children were found to have positive general perceptions

of old people, but negative perceptions of the aging

process. Based on the results of the study, however, the

researchers could not prove that having old persons in

the schools would improve students' attitudes toward

aging and/or learning. The study did suggest that

constructive interactions between older people and

children in schools would reduce the children's knowledge

deficits about aging and contribute to the development of

more positive attitudes.

Education Projects on Aging

Projects have been attempted within school systems

to examine and modify students' attitudes toward aging.

To assess the extent to which aging education was

included in the Ohio public schools, Russell (1979)

surveyed a sample of school personnel. The data

indicated that aging, when taught, was more often part of

the secondary school program. Respondents believed aging

to be a nontraditional subject with inadequate materials

or resources and little teacher training. Based on the

information collected, Russell found that the limited

efforts to teach about aging were not systematic or

supported by school administrators.

Conversly, Hoot (1981) found that Texas elementary

teachers were more likely to teach about aging, but that

the instruction on aging lacked effectiveness due not

being systematically implemented in the curriculum

program. Speulda (1973) addressed the problem of

restricted resources in public schools in Dallas and

Oregon where children's attitudes changed in a positive

direction as a result of organized instruction. Speulda

recommended that appropriate instructional units need to

be developed as materials in this field have very limited

availability and are not generally useful at the

elementary or secondary school levels. Zigmarmi, Trusty,

and Wood (1978) point out the importance of teacher

inservice prior to any curricular implementation. Saxe

(1977) designed a manual to help teachers create programs

to teach about aging. The manual contains rationale for

aging education, recommendations for curriculum planning,

and sample teaching units.

Havighurst (1974) felt that children's first contact

with the aged is generally pleasant but a negative image

emerges as the child grows older and has less consistent

interaction with older persons. As the interaction

becomes more impersonal, elderly persons are stereotyped

as a group, becoming a social burden opposing change.

Ramoth (1975); Holtzman, Beck, and Coggan (1978); and

Immorlica (1980) identified an increasing need for

factual information about the aging process and that the

omission of this content area would allow erroneous myths

about the aged to continue.

Olejnik and LaRue (1981) found that adolescents'

attitudes toward persons over the age of 60 were improved

by two months of daily intergenerational contact. Sixth

through eighth graders expressed more positive

perceptions of the aged and fewer negative stereotypes

after the researchers set up unstructured daily contact

between the two age groups during the social setting of

lunchtime. To measure perceptions of the aged, items

from the Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire (Tuckman

& Lorge, 1953a) were adapted for the study.

Comparing pre- and posttest results, both males and

females showed less negative and fewer stereotypic

perceptions about the elderly after the treatment

program. There was a significant change in the

percentage of affirmative responses, especially regarding

physical characteristics and reported feelings of

insecurity of older persons. Younger students changed

more following the contact period than did older students

in the study (Olejnik & LaRue, 1981).

Britton and Britton (1969) and Kastenbaum and Durkee

(1964) found that respondents were able to assess

chronological ages of adults based on physical

characteristics. Other research indicates that

chronological age is frequently associated with

stereotypic behavior expectations (Aaronson, 1966;

Altrocchi & Eisdorfer, 1962; Neugarten, Moore, & Lowe,

1965; Silverman, 1966; Traxler, 1971; Tuckman & Lorge,

1953b). Since physical age cues are consistently and

immediately on display, a stranger's perceived age may

affect any subsequent interaction, with possibly a

significant influence on the formation of personal


Baggett (1981) considered the effect of interaction

in overcoming stereotypes. The importance of the

relationship between children and elderly was found to be

a factor in determining satisfaction of elderly

volunteers working with adolescents. The foster

grandparent program encourages such interaction as it is

basically a one child to one elderly person activity. It

involves children who are mentally retarded, multi-

handicapped, or institutionalized. Several studies have

cited the importance of the child-to-older person

relationship which challenges age related stereotypes

(Cardwell, 1972; Gray & Kasteller, 1970; Hoyer &

Kasteller, 1973; Saltz, 1971).

The Generational Dialogues Program film series was

used in a study by Davis (1981). The films involve

arousal of curiosity and the development of commonalities

between the generations, the exploration of the old age

experience, and the students' personal identification

with the process of aging. Using the CATE Semantic

Differential Test (Jantz et al., 1977), Davis had four

fifth grade classes as treatment subjects with film/tape

dialogues and one fifth grade class served as the control

group (having on the test). The children experiencing

the treatment (i.e., the films and intergenerational

dialogues) were reported to be more comfortable,

familiar, and curious about the elderly. These students

also increased in the reported percentages of old people

with whom they spoke and interacted.

A major study by Seefeldt et al. (1981) examined

the effectiveness of an aging curriculum in encouraging

positive attitudes toward the elderly and the aging

process. Two teachers at each grade level from

kindergarten through sixth grade were selected, with one

class randomly assigned to the control group and the

other to the treatment group. The program was

implemented over a period of six weeks and involved

direct lessons on the aging process and several lessons

which involved activities. Children's attitudes were

pre- and posttested using the CATE. Indication was that

positive attitudes were encouraged through the

curriculum, but it did not, however, significantly alter

children's negative attitudes about their own aging. The

authors suggest that the curriculum be redesigned and

implemented over a longer period of time to change these

negative perceptions.

The Counteracting Age Stereotyping with Young

Children Project attempted to intervene in the early

development of negative stereotypes toward aging

(Hauwiller & Jennings, 1981). This project took place in

selected sites across Montana. It allowed teachers

working with children in second, third and fourth grades

to develop methods of instruction integrating concepts of

aging into classroom materials. Another effort at

developing an aging curriculum was a structured program

called Children Learning About Aging. Project CLASP is

funded by ESEA Title IV and is committed to aging

education for fourth through eighth grades; based on the

need for all persons to know and understand aging and

better prepare for its arrival (Pini, 1981).

The Gerontology Research Institution Program (GRIP)

was developed and implemented in the Dallas Public School

System in 1970. Its goals included determining the

concepts held by elementary and secondary students about

aging, the effectiveness of instructional activities, and

the age/grade level significant to later attitudes

concerning aging (Speudla, 1973). Research on the GRIP

project indicates that children know very little

regarding the process and problems associated with aging.

Through learning activities, students' attitudes improved

in both acceptance of and interest in older persons.

Older citizens who served as resource persons also

reported their involvement in the project was enriching.

Winnetka Public Schools in Illinois developed the

Project for Academic Motivation: Older Adult Volunteers

in Schools (1968). The program was funded by a grant

which established school volunteer programs with

individuals over 60 years of age. The project began

as a research inquiry on academic underachievers and

extended beyond the original referral for motivating

underachievers because of the involvement of older


The Intergenerational Dialogues Project incorporates

a film series, Growing Up--Growing Older. This series

was developed through a grant from the Sears-Roebuck

Foundation. Fifteen-minute films are suggested to be

shown at the beginning of discussion periods. Aimed at

developing positive attitudes, this project was initially

part of research completed by Ethel Percy Andrus

Gerontology Center at the University of Southern

California (in cooperation with AARP). This was the

first in age-related projects developed for national use

(Briley & Jones, 1982).

"The best way to avoid senile dementia is to find

regular intellectual stimulation in the later years,"

stated Pfeiffer (in Downey, 1974, p. 36). Volunteering

offers older persons increased involvement, stimulation,

and enhanced opportunities for personal growth. Dewey

(1971) found that self-esteem and self-worth are

by-products of seniors being involved in volunteer

programs. In addition, studies involving the School

Volunteer program in Miami (Dade County Public Schools),

the Foster Grandparents Project, and Project SERVE, have

found that older volunteers gained by improved self-

concepts and increased life satisfaction (Edna McConnell

Clark Foundation, 1975; Gray & Kasteller, 1970; Sainer &

Zander, 1971).

Sainer and Zander (1971) determined that certain

conditions were important to seniors who volunteer.

Their work in the Older Volunteers Community Service

Project (SERVE: Serve and Enrich Retirement by Volunteer

Service) indicated that older persons are willing to

volunteer if the need was real and observable,

appropriate volunteer assignments were made,

transportation needs were met, and there was consistent

leadership available. Program reports indicated that in

working with the elderly, brief, one-time contacts do not

yield results in recruiting older volunteers.

Freund (1971) believes that school volunteer

projects help the young and old to close the generation

gap between the two age groups. The Dade County Schools

study (1975) found that both senior citizens' and

children's perceptions of each other changed through the

volunteer experience. Older volunteers reported that

they understood students much better as a result of their

volunteering and the students felt they understood the

old people through working with them in their roles as

senior school volunteers.

The work of volunteers is becoming established due

to the increasing number of healthy retired persons (Cull

& Hardy, 1974). Many volunteers are becoming involved

in school-related activities. "Because of the early

retirement, better health care, and education, the senior

citizen population is increasing yearly, and is a potent

resource with the capacity to meet the needs of our

schools" (Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, School

Volunteer Program, 1975, p. 26). Older citizens want to

share their talents if they are needed and valued.

Senior volunteers can provide vital tasks toward the

schools'effectiveness and add an extra dimension to

children's lives by sharing knowledge, experience, and

talents. "Through the senior citizens' interaction with

the youth a greater understanding and respect

between generations will evolve" (Edna McConnell Clark

Foundation, School Volunteer Program, 1975 p. 28).

Freund (1971) stated that, "one major change taking place

in education is the increasing use of supportive

personnel in schools" (p.205).

Seltzer and Atchley (1971) felt stereotypes

concerning old people are learned early in life, are

relatively enduring, and have consequences for both

behaviors toward old people and the development of one's

self-concept as an old person. Stereotyping of senior

citizens has been shown to exist among young children and

contact with senior volunteers may be a way of lessening

the stereotyping. Lane (1964) has suggested that contact

between senior citizens and school students is important,

in fact, "contact with well-adjusted oldsters who view

their later years as positive will aid the learner in

modifying his concept of older persons as cranky, ill-

tempered, and 'sour on life'" (p. 230).

Given the chance to interact with older persons in an

educational setting, children will have better

information to deal with the stereotypes society projects

toward aging and the elderly (Seefeldt et al., 1977).

Off Our Rocker (an intergenerational volunteer

program) is a project which gives older individuals the

opportunity to be a "special friend" to elementary school

children. The project strives to utilize older persons

as an intergenerational volunteer; to challenge

stereotypes about older persons and fulfill older

persons' needs for stimulation. Baggett (1981)

considered kindergarten through third grade students who

were selected on the basis of their need for special one-

to-one adult attention given through the Off Our Rocker

project. The CATE was used to measure attitude change

(only the first three sections were administered). There

was a significant decrease found in negative responses to

active things done with older people and a significant

increase in positive attitudes toward the concept of


The authors found an unexpected change in increased

positive attitudes toward the aged shown by the control

group and suggested it was due to the situation, the

project's design, and the implementation of the CATE

(creating study limitations). Further, Baggett (1981)

believes that informal interactions alone may not

contribute to desired results in attitude change. The

volunteers ended up being tutors in the class and the

program had aimed for a broader concept with the older

persons being active in the classroom rather than the

traditional passive assistant. Baggett found that

teachers were fearful that the elderly might become ill

or possibly die in the classroom. He believed a program

for sensitizing teachers to the potential value of older

volunteers would reduce their fears.

A study by Lambert, Guberman, & Morris (1964) and

data collected by Worthington (1973) found that

community service agencies were reluctant to use aged

persons as volunteers. Lambert et al. found that there

are specific obstacles in using seniors as volunteers.

One major difficulty is the cultural stereotype of the

older person. Worthington (1973) suggested that an

orientation or training program be completed for the

older volunteers with additional efforts directed toward

educating agencies on using the potential of older

adults. Sainer and Zander (1971), in employing senior

citizens as volunteers for Project SERVE, used

Worthington's recommendations for orientation sessions

and overcame the hesitation in community agencies' use of

senior volunteers.

The studies of Rosenblatt (1966), Lambert et al.

(1964), and Worthington (1973), support the finding that

older persons are willing to volunteer, but they are

selective in the work they do. Older persons do not

volunteer just to keep busy. Lambert et al. identified

the factors of transportation, payment, times, job

preferences, and emotional support as being influential

for older persons volunteering in the community. All

three studies stress the older persons' desires to

volunteer if the jobs made them feel useful. Rosenblatt

(1966) found that the older individual does not find just

any job worthwhile.


The literature reviewed has shown that educational

programs featuring intergenerational contact and programs

using prepared materials on aging can increase young

people's knowledge and positive attitudes regarding aging

and the elderly. There has been a lack of research,

however, which provides a direct comparison of these two

approaches or a comparison of either of these approaches

with a combination of intergenerational contact and a

curriculum on aging in relation to children. Furthermore,

there have been few documented efforts to combine

learning about aging with specific academic skills. This

combination could enhance the adoption of curricula on

aging by schools. The present study was designed to

develop and test the effectiveness of such an integrated


This study was designed to determine whether greater

change in attitudes toward the elderly would be effected

by (1) a curriculum on aging taught by an older

volunteer, (2) an older volunteer teaching a classroom

subject such as spelling, or (3) a curriculum on aging

taught by a classroom teacher. A control group with no

special instruction was also used.

Several instruments assessing attitudes toward old

people were also reviewed here. A modified version of

the Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire (Tuckman &

Lorge, 1953a) developed in a study by Olejnik and LaRue

(1981) was utilized. This questionnaire was chosen

because it had been widely used in previous research.

The study by Olejnik and LaRue (1981) simplified the

wording to facilitate comprehension by young subjects. A

locally developed knowledge survey and attitude test was

also utilized.


The perpetuation of negative attitudes toward old

people is a serious problem that affects aged persons and

the young. This study attempted to assess the

effectiveness of involving an old person in a teaching

capacity in the elementary classroom to improve

children's attitudes toward aging and the aged. Two

experimental conditions were considered which involved

older persons teaching either a curriculum unit on aging

or teaching spelling. In a third treatment condition,

instruction on the aging unit was provided by the regular

classroom teacher. A fourth group of students was used

for comparison as the control group.

The methodology for the study is presented in

this chapter. It includes a description of the

curriculum unit on aging and spelling lesson activities

that were used. In addition, the subjects are described,

as well as the hypotheses, research design, instruments,

procedures, and analyses of data.

The Curriculum Unit on Aging

The curriculum unit on aging consisted of eight

lessons, each lasting approximately 30 to 45 minutes

each was developed for this study. After reviewing

several educational programs on aging, the experimenter

selected several topics upon which to build the unit on

aging for this study. Each lesson also involved

developing student skills as required for fourth grade

students according to the 1983 Marion County Basic Skills

Continuum and the Florida State Student Assessment

testing program. Included were two activities in

language arts, two in mathematics/computations, two in

social science-related activities, one in health/science,

and one involving a film which focused on relationships

between children and older persons (of an affective


Each lesson consisted of teacher directions, student

worksheet answer key, and student worksheets (see

Appendix A for each lesson). Students received copies of

the worksheets during class sessions under the direction

of either the RSVP volunteer teacher or the regular

classroom teacher and discussions focused on the assigned

topic. The lessons were conducted twice weekly at

regularly scheduled times. Completed materials were

collected from the students at the end of each class

session. During the final session, "To Find a Friend" (a

film provided through the Growing Up-Growing Older

program) was shown and students were allowed free

discussion as well as completing a worksheet.

Spelling Lesson Activities

Eight spelling lesson activities, which involved the

regularly assigned spelling words for the four weeks of

the project, were designed by the experimenter (see

Appendix B for sample lessons). Three separate sets of

spelling activities were developed for the three

classrooms assigned to this treatment condition. The

activities used were the same, but spelling words had to

be adjusted within each to make it appropriate for the

particular classroom. Each spelling activity lasted

approximately 30 to 45 minutes and was conducted by the

RSVP volunteer teacher. Each student received a

worksheet for each of the eight lessons which was

completed during the class periods.

Design of Study

A total of 381 fourth grade students from 12

fourth grade classrooms at three elementary schools in

Marion County, Florida, were included in this study. The

three elementary schools were selected on the basis of

the similarities in school populations, the willingness

of school personnel to assist in the study, and the

availability of four fourth grade class groups. Each

classroom group was heterogeneous with respect to the

variables of sex, race, and achievement level. The three

schools had similar student populations in regard to size

of school, racial make-up, socioeconomic status of

students, and comparable state and national test scores.

From each of the three schools, three classes were

selected for participation in the treatment conditions.

Intact classes were randomly assigned to treatments.

There were three schools with four classrooms in each.

The assignment of classrooms to treatments was balanced

so that each treatment group contained three classrooms,

one from each school as shown in Table 3-1.

Table 3-1

Number Of Students In Each Class And Treatment Condition

Trt Level 1 2 3 4 (Ctrl)

Class C C C C C C0 C3 C7 C7 C C C12

n 30 33 29 29 33 32 30 36 30 33 34 32

Test data were available on 381 students with attrition

of 21 subjects due to insufficient subject identification

on materials, absences (three or more) during treatment

activities and/or testing procedures, and withdrawal from

the school center. The fourth grade level was selected

due to its relationship to the third and fifth grade

Florida State Student Assessment Tests (having specific

skills sequenced into the fourth grade program) and the

Marion County Basic Skills Continuum (which identifies

basic skills taught in the fourth grade). These two

skill programs were combined in the aging curriculum unit

so students would review and/or be exposed to skills

which fourth grade classroom teachers are responsible to

teach. The experimenter also had teaching experience at

this grade level and was familiar with student needs and

learning levels. The effort to combine academic skill

work with aging information was to encourage the adoption

of aging education as an integral part of the curriculum.

The sample of 381 fourth graders serving as subjects

consisted of 52% female, 48% male, 92% white, 6% black,

1% Hispanic, and 1% Asian. Students in the sample ranged

from 9 to 11 years of age with the mean age of 9.6 years.

The class groups were randomly assigned to one of

three treatment and one control groups in each of the

three schools.

Treatment Group 1 The students received direct

instruction on aging through the prepared curriculum unit

on aging taught by an RSVP volunteer teacher.

Treatment Group 2 The students received

instruction on spelling through prepared spelling lesson

activities by a RSVP volunteer teacher.

Treatment Group 3 The students received direct

instruction on aging through the prepared curriculum unit

on aging taught by the regular classroom teacher.

Control Group 4 The students served as the control

group and received only the pre- and posttesting.


The following null hypotheses were tested to address

the research questions listed in Chapter 1. The .05

level of significance was used as the minimum for

rejection of each null hypothesis.

HO 1 : There will be no significant difference

among the adjusted posttest means of the four

groups on the Tuckman-Lorge Old People


HO2 : There will be no significant difference

among the adjusted posttest means of the four

groups on the knowledge survey.

HO 3 : There will be no significant difference

among the adjusted posttest means of the four

groups on the locally developed attitude


In using the analysis of covariance, the assumption

is made that there is no interaction between covariate

and treatment (i.e., between pretest and treatment).

Therefore in each analysis, an additional hypothesis

(homogeneity of regression line slopes) was tested for

the four groups.

Research Design

The research design used in this study was a quasi-

experimental-control group pretest-posttest design (Ary,

Jacobs, & Razavieh, 1979). The experimenter worked with

intact classes as it was not possible to use

randomization procedures with individual students. Of

those classes used in the study, each was randomly

assigned to experimental and control conditions through

the use of a table of random numbers.


Three separate measures were used in this study. All

pre- and posttesting was done in the classrooms by the

regular classroom teachers. The three instruments in the

pre-test condition were administered one week prior to

the initiation of treatments and one week following the

treatment condition the postesting was completed. Each

assessment measure was read by the teacher using specific

instructions and reading each item aloud.

A modified version of the Tuckman-Lorge Old People

Questionnaire (Tuckman & Lorge, 1953a) developed through

a study by Olejnik and LaRue (1981) was utilized. To

measure perceptions of the aged, a list of 36 statements

were read to the students. Subjects were asked to

respond to items as "true" or "false" according to

whether they agreed with the statement (or not) as

related to old people. This questionnaire was chosen

because it has been widely used in previous research and

because the stimulus-group validity of the instrument had

been previously established (Axelrod & Eisodrofer, 1961).

In the study by Olejnik and LaRue (1981), the wording of

several items was simplified to facilitate comprehension

by young subjects (see Appendix C). The measure, referred

to as the TL, was administered as a pre- and posttest

for all experimental and control groups.

A knowledge survey was developed by the experimenter

for use in this study. The survey consists of 22

multiple choice items and is based on concepts presented

in the curriculum unit. The knowledge survey examines

what aging information the students' understood following

the curriculum unit on aging (see Appendix D). The

measure, referred to as KS, was administered as a pre-

and posttest to all experimental and control groups.

The third measure was a 14 item list of

statements concerning attitudes toward old people and

aging which was added to the modified Tuckman-Lorge Old

People Questionnaire. These statements were developed by

the experimenter to assess students' endorsement of

personal interactions with people over 60 years old and

to further examine the students' attitudes toward old

people (see Appendix C, items 37-50). The statements,

being part of the TL, were administered to all

experimental and control groups as a pre- and posttest

measure and is referred to as the AT.

Experimental Procedures

This study began in February of 1984. It encompassed

10 weeks and ended in April of 1984. After identifying

the four classes in each of the three schools, classes

were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups

and pretested, using the modified Old People

Questionnaire, the knowledge survey, and the second

attitude test.

A pilot study had been conducted in September of

1983. The pilot study allowed the experimenter to

administer all tests and curriculum unit on aging

activities to determine the appropriateness of materials,

timing of activities, effectiveness of instructions, and

to work with fourth grade students directly. Data from

this pilot study were used to identify areas needing

minor modifications of directions and/or specific

activities within the aging curriculum unit. It was also

used in refining teacher instructions.

In January of 1984, school administrators were

contacted by mail requesting permission to meet with them

concerning the project. Once administrative approval was

obtained, fourth grade teachers whose classrooms were

involved in the study met with the experimenter to

explain the study's general activities. In assigning

classrooms for specific treatment groups, school

administrative personnel were given the opportunity to

make recommendations as to the appropriateness of the

random selection of treatment groups. Upon assignment of

a particular treatment, each teacher was given materials

to review. The teachers teaching the unit on aging

met weekly to make recommendations concerning completed

activities and to prepare for the next sessions. Out of

the 12 fourth grade teachers involved in the study,

two were male. One male was assigned to treatment two

and one to the control group.

Each teacher who participated in the study received

"county inservice points" which accumulate toward teacher

certificate renewal. Point accumulation depended on

attendance at all training sessions, the completion of

study questionnaires and activities (such as assisting

volunteers, written evaluations of study units and total

study, and collection of data concerning student comments

and responses). Teachers were awarded varying point

totals (based on the extent of their participation) in

the Marion County Schools inservice component for use of


Volunteers were recruited through the Ocala, Florida

office of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Upon

contacting the RSVP office and making a request for six

volunteers, a mailout asking for interested persons was

issued. There were no stipulations as to sex, age, race,

or experience. Of the 12 indiviudals who responded,

telephone contact was made to answer general questions

regarding the study. Six female volunteers from (60 to

78 years of age) were invited to participate in the study

after interviewing those individuals who responded to the

announcement for service openings. The six selected for

the study were chosen based on interest, availability at

specific times during the day and week, and available

transportation. All six had grandchildren, were at least

high school graduates, had been previously employed (two

were still employed part-time), and four had been

involved in education during their employment


The volunteers had three group sessions (involving

all six volunteers), the first of which was a general

information session, the second a training meeting

concerning actual classroom activities, and the third an

evaluation session after the classroom sessions were

completed. During the first meeting, the overall study

was reviewed and specific assignments were given as to

school and treatment group. As much as possible,

assignments were made to match the volunteers' schedules,

transportation needs, and instructional interests.

Questionnaires concerning background information were

also completed during this first session. The second

meeting related to specific duties with their assigned

experimental group. Volunteers also met with the

experimenter before each classroom presentation to review

the class lesson (spelling and aging) to be sure that

materials were understood and all questions regarding the

presentation were answered. The final meeting reviewed

the project and discussion was held on the volunteers'

reactions to assignments, lessons, students, and the

overall study.

Each of the three schools in the project had school

volunteer programs in operation and were organized to

accept the RSVP volunteers on campus. The state of

Florida encourages public schools to utilize volunteers

and gives statewide recognition to those schools having

exemplary volunteer activities. The volunteers who

participated in this study were counted as part of the

elementary schools' volunteer programs (one of the

elementary schools received a state award for the program

and the study volunteers were part of the individual

school's project). All volunteers reported being well

received and treated with courtesy and respect by

students and staff alike.

One week prior to the beginning of the treatment

sessions, the three test measures were administered by

the classroom teachers to all groups. The treatment

condition lasted for the next four weeks, and one week

following the end of the treatments, the three test

measures were again administered by the regular classroom

teachers to all groups.


Based on its usefulness for controlling initial

random differences between levels of experimental groups,

the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was selected to

analyze the data collected. The analysis of covariance

controls for initial random differences among groups on

the pretest and also reduces within-group variance on the

posttest due to pretest differences. In this way it

provides for a more powerful analysis of treatment


Before applying ANCOVA, the homogeneity of

regression slopes (no interaction between pretest and

treatment) was tested. Other conditions of normality,

independence, and equality of error variance were also

assumed, but ANCOVA is considered to be fairly robust

against slight violation of the latter three assumptions.


This study was an attempt to identify the

effectiveness of intervention strategies in changing

fourth grade elementary students' attitudes toward old

people. The three strategies investigated include an old

person teaching a curriculum unit on aging, an old person

teaching a regular spelling lesson, and the regular

classroom teacher teaching a curriculum unit on aging.

Two attitude tests were used to examine students'

attitudes and one knowledge test was used to identify

concepts students learned through the curriculum unit on


Students in the three experimental and one control

groups were pre- and posttested using the modified

version of the 1953 Tuckman-Lorge Old People

Questionnaire (Olenjik & LaRue, 1981) and the two locally

developed instruments, the 14-item attitude test and the

knowledge survey. The knowledge survey was based on the

concepts presented in the aging curriculum unit.

Students in the four fourth grades at the three

elementary schools were randomly assigned to the

experimental treatments. Students assigned to Group 1

received instruction from an RSVP volunteer teacher in

the curriculum unit on aging; students in Group 2

received instruction on regularly assigned spelling

lessons from an RSVP volunteer teacher; students in Group

3 received instruction in the curriculum unit on aging by

the regular classroom teacher; and students in Group 4

served as the control group and received only pre- and


Pre- and posttest data from the three measures used

in the study were collected for 381 students. An

analysis of covariance was used to test each of the null

hypotheses at the .05 level. Pretest scores were used as

covariates. Independent variables were treatment and

classroom nested within treatment. Post hoc pairwise

comparisons of groups means were completed where a

significant treatment effect was found.

Descriptive Statistics

Table 4-1 presents the means and standard

deviations for the three experimental and single control

groups on the pre- and posttest measures. Specifically,

the modified Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire (TL)

and the two locally developed tests, the knowledge survey

(KS) and the 14-item test on attitudes toward aging and

the aged (AT). The Kuder-Richardson formula 21 was used

as the reliability estimation procedure for each of the

Table 4-1

Pre- And Posttest Means And Standard Deviations
By Treatment Group And Test Administered

Treatments Control

1 2 3 4
(n=92) (n=94) (n=96) (n=99)

Test Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post

TL X 13.44 16.26 10.57 15.74 14.16 14.11 14.06 13.21
sd 6.59 7.62 7.09 7.70 6.50 8.93 6.18 7.07

KS X 14.94 16.24 13.76 15.09 14.16 15.07 14.06 14.01
sd 4.20 5.97 6.20 5.03 5.05 7.03 5.90 5.83

AT X 11.45 12.25 9.68 11.36 11.09 10.95 11.34 11.09
sd 4.48 5.42 5.01 4.52 4.29 5.79 4.46 4.86

three test measures. The reliability coefficients, which

were considered adequate for this study, are provided in

Table 4-2.

Table 4-3 presents the adjusted means and standard

error of the mean for the three experimental and single

control groups on the posttest measures. These scores

are for the modified Tuckman-Lorge Old People

Questionnaire (TL), the knowledge survey (KS) and the

attitude test (AT).

Effects of Instructional Strategies

Three separate analyses of covariance were performed

using the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) general

linear models procedure on the Northeast Regional Data

Center computer system at the University of Florida. One

model was completed for the modified 1953 Tuckman-Lorge

Old People Questionnaire (TL), the second for the

knowledge survey (KS), and the third for the experimenter

designed attitude test (AT).

The first analysis was for the modified version of

the Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire (TL). The TL

was administered to classrooms in the experimental groups

and the control group. For the analysis of covariance,

pretest scores on the TL were used as the covariate and

Table 4-2

Reliability Estimates Computed By
The Kuder-Richardson Formula 21

Treatments Control

1 2 3 4

Test Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post

TL .82 .86 .87 .81 .81 .91 .77 .89

KS .76 .92 .93 .84 .83 .94 .88 .88

AT .96 .99 .94 .96 .93 .99 .95 .96

Table 4-3

Adjusted Posttest Means And Standard Error Of
The Mean By Treatment Group And Instrument

Treatments Control
1 2 3 4
Tests (n=92) (n=94) (n=96) (n=99)

TL X 15.83 17.03 13.79 12.83
sem .78 .74 .79 .84

KS X 15.95 14.95 15.03 13.97
sem .64 .64 .59 .58

AT X 12.06 12.18 10.78 10.98
sem .53 .52 .49 .49

posttest scores were used as the dependent variable. The

first hypothesis was of main interest.

HO 1 : There will be no significant difference among

the adjusted posttest means of the four

groups on the modified Tuckman-Lorge Old

People Questionnaire (TL).

As shown in the upper panel of Table 4-4, the

interaction between subjects' initial attitudes toward

old people determined by pretest scores, and the

treatment had no significant effect on posttest scores

(F=.48 with p > .70 at 3 and 8 degrees of freedom).

Because of the nesting of classes within treatments, the

mean square (MS) for the interaction of pretest with

classes within treatments, TC*CL(TRT), was used as the

error term in constructing the F statistic. This result

indicates that the assumption of homogeneity in slopes,

required for the use of ANCOVA, was met.

The ANCOVA for the reduced model was utilized for

further analysis. As shown in the lower panel of

Table 4-4, the F test for the covariate remained

significant at p > .0001 and a significant treatment

effect was found at p > .03. The mean square for the

nested class-within-treatment factor served as the error

Table 4-4

Results For Modified Tuckman-Lorge Old People
Questionnaire (TL)

Source DF SS F PR > F

TLPRE 1 5302.95 119.44 .0001
TRT 3 199.90 1.50 .2126
CS(TRT) 8 253.59 .71 .6793
TLPRE*TRT 3 103.21 .48 .7045
TL*CS(TRT) 8 572.12 1.61 .1202
ERROR 357 15850.71

TLPRE 1 5736.75 127.61 .0001
TRT 3 903.61 4.52 .0390
CS(TRT) 8 532.74 1.48 .1623
ERROR 368 16544.07

term in testing for a treatment effect. There was no

significant effect due to classes within treatments.

The post hoc follow up of pairwise comparisons of

adjusted posttest means (LS means) is displayed in

Table 4-5. There was a significant difference found

between treatment group 2 and control group 4 with

F(1,2)= 14.12, p > .01.

HO 2: There will be no significant difference among

the adjusted posttest means of the four

groups on the Knowledge Survey (KS).

The second model included the knowledge survey

pretest scores as the covariate and the knowledge survey

posttest scores as the dependent variable. The upper

panel of Table 4-6 displays the results of testing for

the effect of interaction between student knowledge about

aging, as determined by pretest scores, and treatment on

posttest scores. The KS pretest treatment interaction

was not significant (F = 1.07 with p > .41 at 3 and 8

degrees of freedom) supporting the assumption of

homogeneity of slopes.

The ANCOVA for the reduced model revealed no

significant effect of the treatment on posttest scores.

There remained a significant covariate effect, but again

the class-within treatment effect was not significant.

Table 4-5
LS Means And Differences* Between Pairs Of
LS Means For The Groups

Treatments Control
Treatment LS Means 1 2 3 4

1 15.68 -1.13 1.67 2.91

2 16.81 2.80 4.04**

3 14.01 1.24

4 12.77

** Significant at .05 level

* Difference was computed by row columns

Table 4-6

Results For The Knowledge Survey (KS)

Source DF SS F PR > F

KSPRE 1 781.21 23.48 .0001
TRT 3 77.15 .77 .5129
CS(TRT) 8 355.92 1.34 .2238
KSPRE*TRT 3 140.27 1.07 .4162
KSPRE*CS(TRT) 8 351.04 1.32 .2327
ERROR 357 11880.07

KSPRE 1 848.53 25.19 .0001
TRT 3 188.99 1.95 .1999
CS(TRT) 8 258.20 .96 .4686
ERROR 368 12396.10

HO 3 : There will be no significant difference among

the adjusted posttest means of the four

groups on the locally developed Attitude Test


The third model of analysis was for the locally

developed attitude test (AT). The AT was administered to

classrooms in the three treatment groups and the single

control group. Pretest scores on the AT were used as the

covariate, AT posttest scores were used as the dependent

variable. As displayed in the upper panel of Table 4-7,

a significant interaction between pretest level and

treatment was found with F = 5.38, p > .02 with 3 and 8

degrees of freedom, indicating that the assumption of

homogeneity of slopes was violated. Therefore, a

standard analysis for ANCOVA on AT scores could not be

done, and HO 3 could not be tested.

To illustrate the nature of the significant

interaction of treatment and pretest, Figure 4-1 displays

four lines depicting the general relationship between

pretest and posttest for each of the four treatment

groups. Strictly speaking, these are only approximations

of the regression lines, as the slope for each line was

calulated by averaging the slopes of the three separate

class-within-treatment regression lines and the

Table 4-7

Results For The Attitude Test (AT)

Source DF SS F PR > F

ATPRE 1 1369.61 59.56 .0001
TRT 3 185.89 2.69 .0451
CS(TRT) 8 120.65 .66 .7303
ATPRE*TRT 3 162.70 5.38 .0254
ATPRE*CS(TRT) 8 80.66 .44 .8976
ERROR 357 8209.58



I 12

W 11



8 9 10 11 12 13 14

AT Pretest

Figure 4- 1. Effect Of Treatment On Fourth Grade
Examinees At Different Levels Of
Pretest Scores

intercepts were calculated in similar fashion (see

Table 4-8). This approach was chosen for clarity after

examining the 12 individual regression lines.


The effectiveness of three different teaching

strategies, two of which involved older persons in

teaching about aging or teaching spelling and one which

involved the regular classroom teacher teaching about

aging, in fourth grade classrooms to improve children's

attitudes toward old people was investigated. Three

separate treatment conditions were examined through the

use of three testing instruments. Test scores were

analyzed using the analysis of covariance. According to

this analysis, there were significant differences among

the adjusted posttest means of the four groups on the

modified Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire. Post hoc

analyses indicated a significant difference between

attitudes of the control group and the group taught

spelling by the older volunteer. There was no

significant difference among adjusted posttest means on

the locally developed knowledge survey. A pretest by

treatment interaction occurred for the locally developed

attitude test measure.

Table 4-8

Slopes And Intercepts For Regression Of Posttest
On Prestest Score For Each Class-Within-Treatment

Treatment Group Class Slope Intercept



























This study examined the effectiveness of

intervention strategies in changing fourth grade

elementary students' attitudes toward old people. The

three strategies investigated included an old person

teaching a curriculum unit on aging, an old person

teaching a regular spelling lesson, and the regular

classroom teacher teaching a curriculum unit on aging.

The three schools involved in the study were part of the

Marion County Public School System in Ocala, Florida. Of

the 12 classrooms participating in the study, one class

from each school was randomly assigned to one of the

three treatment groups or to the control group.

The total study lasted for eight weeks. During the

first week, the students in the experimental and control

groups were pretested using a modified version of the

1953 Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire (first used

by Olejnik and LaRue in 1981) and a locally developed

knowledge survey and attitude test. During weeks three

through six, students in the experimental groups

participated in one of the three treatment sessions.

Treatment 1 consisted of an RSVP volunteer teacher

teaching a curriculum unit on aging which lasted for four

weeks. Treatment 2 involved an RSVP volunteer teacher

teaching the regular spelling lessons for a period of

four weeks. Treatment 3 consisted of the regular

classroom teacher teaching a curriculum unit on aging

during the four week period. During week eight, students

assigned to both the experimental and control groups were

posttested utilizing the three test measures (the same as


The data collected through the three instruments

were examined using an analysis of covariance to analyze

the results of each test. Pretest scores served as

covariates, with independent variables being treatment

and classroom nested within treatment.

Three null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level

of significance. The first null hypothesis to be

examined focused on the determining if there were

differences among the adjusted postest means of the four

groups on the modified Tuckman-Lorge Old People

Questionnaire. The ANCOVA revealed a significant

treatment effect. Post hoc pairwise comparisons of the

adjusted posttest means showed a significant difference

between treatment group 2 and control group 4. Overall,

the pairwise comparisons indicated that there were no

significant differences due to what the older persons

taught (i.e., the unit on aging or spelling) or between

the older persons and the regular teacher. There was a

significant difference between the older person teaching

spelling (treatment 2) and the control group. Based on

the ANCOVA, the null hypothesis related to the Tuckman-

Lorge Old People Questionnaire was rejected.

The second null hypothesis concerned whether there

were significant differences among the adjusted posttest

means of the four groups on the locally developed

knowledge test. The ANCOVA did not show a significant

treatment effect, therefore the null hypothesis was


The third null hypothesis was that there would be no

significant difference among the adjusted posttest means

of the four groups on the locally developed Attitude

Test. The ANCOVA procedure showed a significant

interaction between pretest level and treatment. Because

of the violation of homogeneity-of-slopes assumption, the

standard ANCOVA could not be used, and the hypothesis

could not be tested.

Regression lines for the treatment groups were

examined to clarify the interaction effects between

treatments and pretest scores. While interpretations are

based on visual inspection of data and not on tests of

statistical significance, the lines in Figure 4-1 show

that the posttest scores were generally higher for

treatment groups 1 and 2 (both taught by older persons)

than for groups 3 and 4 (taught by the regular teacher

and the control group). Moreover, differential effects

were observed depending on the student's initial attitude

twoard old people. Considering those students who

initially had low atttiudes, the order of predicted

posttest scores was Y > Y > Y > Y' where Y
1 2 4 3
indicates the predicted posttest score and the subscript

indicates the treatment group. If an individual

initially had positive attitudes as measured by a high

attitude pre-test score, the order of predicted posttest

scores was Y' > Y > Y > Y'
2 1 3 4
It is interesting to note that for treatment

groups 1 and 2, students with lower pretest scores

(e.g., pretest scores less than 10) had higher posttest

scores if taught about aging by an older person than if

taught spelling by an old person. In contrast, students

with higher pretest scores (e.g., above 11) had more

positive posttest scores if taught spelling by older

person than when taught about aging by an old person.


Based on examining the pre- and posttest mean

scores, one general conclusion from this study is that

the experimental treatments have a positive effect on

students' attitudes toward aging as measured by the

modified version of the 1953 Tuckman-Lorge Old People

Questionnaire. A similar trend was observed on the

locally developed attitude test, but interpretation of

this effect was complicated by the presence of an

interaction between students' initial attitudes and


In considering pairwise comparisons related to the

first null hypothesis, the students receiving spelling

instruction by an older person had significantly higher

attitude scores on the modified Tuckman-Lorge Old People

Questionnaire than the control group. There was an

observed difference, though not at the level of

significance, between treatments utilizing the older

person teaching the unit on aging as compared to the

control group. Another observed difference was between

the older person teaching spelling as compared to the

regular classroom teacher teaching the unit on aging.

The one significant contrast and the consistent trend in

the other comparisons of means may indicate that what the

older person taught is not as important as having an

older person in the classroom to positively influence

students' attitudes.


The following limitations of this research study

were recognized:

1. The population included in this study could have

been affected by the schools having an on-going volunteer

program in which individual volunteers serve as "teacher

helpers." Students being exposed to older people who were

working in this role may have affected treatment results.

2. The control group could have been affected by

the pre- and posttesting as well as sharing information

with other students about other treatment group

activities that were occurring in their school. Further,

the protesting could have sensitized students to the

content of the treatment. The results might not be found

had the students not been pretested.

3. The experimental results may have been

influenced by the treatment activities being unusual as

compared to the regularly scheduled classroom routines.

Positive attitudes might have been found due to the

students' reactions to activities involved in the

treatments being more interesting that the usual

classroom schedule.

4. The 1953 Tuckman-Lorge Old People Questionnaire

is not a strictly standardized measure and a modified

version of the questionnaire was used for this study.

However, it was felt that the previous efforts to insure

its validity were sufficient for the purposes of this


5. The two instruments, the knowledge survey and

the attitude test, which were designed by the

experimenter, are not standardized measures and were

developed solely for this study.


The following recommendations are made based on the

results of this investigation:

1. Many students in elementary school could benefit

from learning about aging while reinforcing academic

skills simultaneously. With materials on aging which

identify what academic skills are being taught, more

schools and teachers could be motivated to incorporate

curriculum on aging into their scheduled class time.

Students could benefit by learning through application on

age-related topics and enhance their academic skill


2. In teaching on aging, the curriculum program

should be extended in length. The brievity involved in

presenting the curriculum unit in this study should not

be applied to a fully implemented program to teach about

aging and the aged.

3. Implementing instruction on aging and involving

older persons should occur at primary grade levels,

beginning in kindergarten. In this way, attitudes toward

aging and the aged would be more accurate, flexible, and


4. Continued research is needed to develop tests

to assess children's attitudes toward aging and old

people. Finely calibrated instruments which measure

changes in attitudes, are specifically for use with

children, and provide ease in test administration will

be important for future study.

5. Future research should consider including

qualitative information with the quantitative analysis to

enhance the analyses used and supplement data


6. Longitudinal studies are needed in order to

assess lasting changes in attitudes. Strategies for

improving children's attitudes toward aging and old

people should be studied in relation to their

effectiveness over time.

7. A more diverse group of students might yield

different results in incorporating other recommendations.

The students in the three schools were not representative

of the total population and by extending the number and

types of students involved in the program, there might

have been variation in the results obtained.

8. Older persons are stimulated by the use of their

skills and experience. The RSVP volunteers were very

dependable and involved in their responsibilities. Each

enjoyed working with the children and reported favorable

responses. Teachers were given some time to observe

students during the time the older volunteers were

working with the classroom groups. Through the use of

older volunteers in the school setting, students,

teachers, and older persons receive benefits from

interacting with one another. The volunteers give of

their time freely and have many talents to offer the


9. Involving older persons in the schools will

increase the possibilities of intergenerational contact

and communication while extending the number of old

persons to whom the children are exposed.

10. When using older volunteers, in-service programs

are vital to the success of the project. The older

volunteers in this study were anxious to know their exact

responsibilities and what was expected. The follow up

activities and regular support was very important to each


11. Older persons should be utilized in a variety

of levels within the schools. This could include in

classrooms, the school office, the library, and other

appropriate facilities or programs at schools. To have the

older volunteers working only as a teacher's helper

restricts their role and the perceptions of both students

and school staff regarding the elderly.

Implications for Research and Practice

Longitudinal studies would be important and an

appropriate next step in examining children's attitudes

about aging and old people. With the appropriate

instrumentation, classroom cohorts within schools could

be followed in order to identify developmental patterns

of aging attitudes and to determine effective strategies

which influence children's attitude development regarding

aging and the aged.

Study findings and the curriculum and instruments

developed for this study have useful implications for

educational practice. The curriculum and instruments,

which appear reliable, should be used in other settings

and may have usefulness for other research efforts. The

findings indicate that older persons may make a positive

contribution to the elementary school curriculum when the

goal is to affect attitudes toward aging. Furthermore,

it does not seem especially beneficial to restrict the

older volunteer to only teaching about aging. Schools

should encourage interaction between older persons and

children through involving old people in school volunteer

programs, special projects such as this study, and as

informational resources to teach on particular topics,

including academic subjects.

The pretest treatment interactions detected for the

third instrument in this study is a phenomenon that would

also merit future investigation. It would be interesting

to determine if this pattern of interactions occurs in

future studies using other samples of students, teachers,

and older volunteers.



(A complete curriculum unit on aging is available for a
nominal charge through the researcher. Write Post Office
Box 373 Ocala, FL 32678 to order a copy of the




South Ocala Wards Highlands Wyomina Park

Elementary Schools


We all know something about aging, but often what we
"know" is based on myths and stereotypes. These myths
that concern aging are pervasive throughout our culture
and are reinforced through our language, humor, and the
media. Because of this, our society looks upon aging
from a very negative view and expects those who are aged
to behave according to stereotypes that we hold as
truths. In our society, we also tend to separate people
by age groups, particularly the young from the old, in
housing, work, recreation, and other areas. The lack of
contact between young and old strengthens and perpetuates
these misrepresentations of aging. As a result of the
socialization process, most Americans, especially the
young, have false information and negative attitudes
concerning older persons.

Because the children now being educated in our
schools will be the most longevous generation of
Americans so far, it would be an injustice to let these
attitudes go unchallenged. Individuals can influence how
they will grow older and to let students continue with
the perception that it is inevitably bad to grow old is
to write off their futures for both themselves and our

This experimental project is designed to dispute
some of the prevailing myths about growing old, to
provide students with more complete information and to
assist in the development of more positive attitudes
about aging and older persons. The unit will investigate
the students' attitudes about aging by questionnaires and
activities which assess their knowledge on particular
topics relating to aging. The effect of using older
volunteers and classroom teachers in teaching about aging
will also be explored. A curriculum package has been
formulated for this project and will be used for
instructional purposes in the designated classrooms.
Ultimately, it is hoped that students will begin to
recognize older people as individuals who have their own
ideas, values, and attitudes, many of which are similar
to those of the students themselves.


Prior to beginning the program utilizing the
volunteers and the aging curriculum package, the
knowledge test and the attitude questionnaire will be
administered in each fourth grade classroom (including
the control group). Instructions for using these
materials are included in the teacher's guide. It will
also be necessary to have the students complete the
student information sheet. These activities will involve
the regular classroom teacher through reading the
directions accompanying each assessment and answering
questions the students may have.

The attitude questionnaire, knowledge test and
student information sheet must be administered the week
before the older volunteers begin working in the
classroom. (Estimated time for all preliminary
activities: 25 to 30 minutes.) These activities will
probably best fit into one's regular schedule by handling
each separately, rather than during one time period.

There will be four conditions utilized in this
program. The materials have been developed based on
fourth grade skill requirements and involve eight
lessons. The specific conditions include the following:

Classroom 1 RSVP VOLUNTEER teaching the aging
curriculum package

Classroom 2 RSVP VOLUNTEER teaching the weekly
spelling lesson

Classroom 3 REGULAR TEACHER teaching the aging
curriculum package

Classroom 4 CONTROL GROUP with no special activities
other than pre- and post-
testing and student
information sheet.

Classes will meet twice a week for at least thirty
minutes each lesson. The eight topics will be covered in
four weeks. After the completion of the lessons, the
regular classroom teachers will administer the knowledge
test and attitude questionnaire to the students in the
week following the last session.

Each lesson in the curriculum package on aging
addresses the fourth grade skills list that is part of
the Marion County Basic Skills Continuum. The teacher's
guide includes information pertaining to the specific
skills that are included in the activities. Although
these materials do not provide documentation of these
skills, it may prove helpful in providing students
practice on those identified.

After the project has been completed, teachers that
are involved with the volunteers in the classroom and/or
preparation will be awarded inservice points for the time
spent in these activities. This will be given through
component number 1-86-0147 of Marion County's inservice


Objective: To study the effects of aging education
curriculum and utilization of older persons
in the classroom setting on the attitudes and
knowledge of elementary school children
toward the elderly.

Design: Three elementary schools will be involved,
with the focus being on fourth grade
classrooms, there will be 3 "treatment"
groups and one control group. The specific
activities will be as following:

1. RSVP volunteer teaching aging pre- and post-
curriculum package testing

2. RSVP volunteer teaching regular pre- and post-
spelling program testing

3. Classroom teacher teaching aging pre- and post-
curriculum package testing

4. Control group no special pre- and post-
activities-only testing

The volunteers and teachers will be involved in short
weekly preparations on the lessons to be presented.
Volunteers will also be in training specifically designed
to enable them to work effectively with students.

*Teachers who are involved in this project will receive
INSERVICE POINTS for working with the project

*The schools utilizing this project may count the
volunteers' service hours as part of their current
school volunteer program.

The Curriculum Unit on Aging consists of eight 30 to 45
minute lessons. These lessons will be taught twice a
week, lasting four weeks in the school.

The eight lessons include:

2 topics in the language arts/reading area
2 topics in the mathematics/computations area
2 topics in social studies related activities
1 topic in health/science area
1 topic involving a film focusing on the
relationships between children and old persons

*Each lesson has been tied to the fourth grade skills
list that is part of the Marion County Basic Skills
Continuum. Additional skills from other grade levels
are also included.

The class involving spelling instruction being taught by
an RSVP volunteer will also meet twice a week for the
same time period. The instruction will focus on the
spelling words for each week and presented through
dictionary use, word meanings, sentence construction
and/or completion, word searches, and crossword puzzles.

The pre- and posttest will have two components. The
first being a knowledge test which is part of the aging
curriculum's focus and the second involving the students'
attitudes toward elderly persons. All of the classrooms
will have this test administered before the volunteers
begin teaching and after the volunteers complete their
instructional activities.

The RSVP program of Marion County has offered its
services through the Ocala Vision Office. Several
individuals have volunteered and every attempt will be
made to find individuals who will be able to adjust to
the school program.


(These are listed in the order of presentation.)

AN EARLY AGE! Student Worksheet

YOUR LIFE! Student Worksheet

LESSON THREE AT A GOOD AGE! Teacher Directions
Student Worksheet

Student Worksheet

SECURITY Student Worksheet

Student Worksheet

Student Worksheet

Student Worksheet

Index of Skills

This listing of skills is taken from the Marion County
communication and mathematics skills continuum for fourth
grade. Although this aging curriculum does not contain
sufficient numbers of items to document mastery, the
practice involved in each activity supports the
development of required specific skills.


Area Skill

Being Wise at an Early Age!

Living Each Day of Your Life




At a Good Age!

Life at its Best!

Looking at Social Security

(Exposure to
higher level
of diffi-


A 5
A 5