J: Understanding Transformation through Assessment


TITLE: Closing the Loop! Linking Formative and Summative Assessment to Promote Self-regulated Learning

PRESENTERS: Gwen A. Lawrie, The University of Queensland

Large, first year general chemistry courses represent a diverse cohort of students in terms of their engagement and assessment for learning. Instructors aim to encourage student to become more self-aware of their own thinking and to develop their independence through self-regulated study strategies. While potentially achievable delivering a combination of formative assessment with individual, personalized feedback, this represents a challenge for instructors on such a large scale.

As part of a two-year nationally funded project, 11 academics who lead first-year chemistry programs in five Australian institutions across three states have collaborated to develop a combination of diagnostic tools, formative feedback options and a range of strategies for delivering face-to-face or self-regulated online study modules. The aim was to transform instructional and assessment practices for these diverse STEM cohorts. Insights into the nature of alternate or missing conceptions, timing and delivery of formative feedback and engagement with online resources have been collected through an extensive evaluation process. Evaluation strategies included development of a validated concept inventory instrument, application of analytics to explore engagement in online learning activities and student perception data (both quantitative scales and qualitative student interview data). In this presentation, a case study from one institution will be presented to illustrate the combined elements that have been successful in engaging students in self-regulated, independent study across several institutions.


TITLE: Clickers in the Wild: A Campus-Wide Study of Student Response Systems and their Impact

PRESENTERS: Lynn C. Reimer, University of California - Irvine; Thurston Domina Ph.D., University of California - Irvine; Mark Warschauer Ph.D., University of California - Irvine; Katerina Schenke, University of California - Irvine; and Tutrang Nguyen, University of California - Irvine

Student response systems (e.g., clickers) are a tool for making lectures more interactive. Several studies indicate that SRSs have positive effects on student achievement and course attendance in college and university lecture courses. However, these studies generally involve small-scale experiments between a few classes in one discipline.

In contrast, our study takes a broad naturalistic, population approach to examine the use of SRSs in all STEM disciplines in a major university. Over the course of a year, we observed and videotaped 95% of large introductory STEM courses across seven departments near the beginning and end of each course. Using a carefully designed and validated observation protocol, we took detailed notes on whether SRSs were used, the frequency and types of uses, the relationship of SRS use to other teaching practices, and, at defined intervals, the behavior of individual students. We also surveyed students during the first and last week of the course to measure attitudes toward the course and STEM careers, as well as to gather information about weekly study habits and practices. Institutional data were collected on all students as well, including high school GPA, SAT scores, financial aid eligibility, gender, ethnicity, university GPA, grade in course, enrollment and grades in subsequent STEM courses. Our study uses these data to analyze the broad patterns of SRS usage on campus and the impact of use on student attitudes, academic performance and persistence in STEM.


TITLE: Social Constructivism in Cyberspace

PRESENTERS: Sarah B. Wilson, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Pratibha Varma-Nelson, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

As the proportion of online education options grows, both students and faculty need guidance on ways to assess the academic rigor of online classes as well as systematic comparisons of online or hybrid courses to the face-to-face versions of classes. This presentation will share the findings of one such study: the transition of Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL), an educational intervention in which students work collaboratively in small groups to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills under the guidance of undergraduate peer facilitators, at a large Midwestern U.S. research university to a synchronous online version, dubbed cyber Peer-Led Team Learning (cPLTL).

In this study, discourse analysis of general chemistry students’ interactions and dialogue from both online and face-to-face PLTL workshop sections were systematically evaluated to determine (1) if this social constructivist pedagogy was viable in a synchronous online setting and (2) compare and contrast the students’ interactions in the two settings. The findings of this study inform curriculum changes for institutions both nationally as well as internationally. Frequencies of deep student learning and conclusions from the analysis will be shared, in addition to implications for faculty and students.