Patterns and Effects of Notetaking by Learning Disabled and Nondisabled Adolescents: A Comparative Study

Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Exceptional Student Education

First Advisor's Name

Donald Smith

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Steven S. Strichart

Third Advisor's Name

Barry Greenberg

Fourth Advisor's Name

Marisal R. Gavilan

Date of Defense



This study analyzes the qualitative and quantitative patterns of notetaking by learning disabled (LD) and nondisabled (ND) adolescents and the effectiveness of notetaking and review as measured by the subjects' ability to recall information presented during a lecture. The study also examines relationships between certain learner characteristics and notetaking. The following notetaking variables were investigated: note completeness, number of critical ideas recorded, levels of processing information, organizational strategies, fluency of notes, and legibility of notes. The learner characteristics examined pertained to measures on achievement, short-term memory, listening comprehension, and verbal ability.

Students from the 11th and 12th grades were randomly selected from four senior high schools in Dade County, Florida. Seventy learning disabled and 79 nondisabled subjects were shown a video tape lecture and required to take notes. The lecture conditions controlled for presentation rate, prior knowledge, information density, and difficulty level. After 8 weeks, their notes were returned to the subjects for a review period, and a posttest was administered.

Results of this study suggest significant differences (p<.01) in the patterns of notetaking between LD and ND groups not due to differences in the learner characteristics listed above. In addition, certain notetaking variables such as process levels, number of critical ideas, and note completeness were found to be significantly correlated to learning outcome. Further, deficiencies in the spontaneous use of organizational strategies and abbreviations adversely affected the notetaking effectiveness of learning disabled students.

Both LD and ND subjects recalled more information recorded in their notes than not recorded. This difference was significant only for the ND group. By contrast, LD subjects compensated for their poor notetaking skills and recalled significantly more information not recorded on their notes than did ND subjects. The major implications of these findings suggest that LD and ND subjects exhibit very different entry behaviors when asked to perform a notetaking task; hence, teaching approaches to notetaking must differ as well.



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