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This study expands previous research on the effectiveness of team-based learning (TBL) in large enrollment (200 students) introductory biology classes.  Two sections of introductory biology were taught during the fall semester, 2008.  One section was taught via the standard lecture format while the other incorporated a major TBL approach.  Grades in the lecture section were based solely on four multiple-choice exams (one of which was a comprehensive final).  Students in the TBL section were allowed to self-sort into teams of about five students each and were given learning assignments for every chapter (developed by the instructor).  These learning assignments served as the basis of weekly readiness assessment tests (RAT’s).  On RAT days, students were given at least ten minutes to discuss the learning assignments with their teammates and the instructor.  RAT’s were administered individually and as a team (with IF-AT scratch-off forms).  Student in the TBL section also took the same four multiple-choice exams given to students in the lecture section.  The learning assignments and RAT’s were provided to students in the lecture section.  Average exam scores for each of the four exams were significantly higher in the TBL section than in the lecture section (p<0.05).  Surveys reveal that students in the lecture section were more confident in their understanding of the scientific method than were students in the TBL section.  Over 79% of students in the TBL section agreed that TBL helped them learn concepts more effectively than lecture alone would have and over 87% agreed that TBL should continue to be used.  Nearly 84% of the TBL students agreed that it is fair for all team members to receive the same score on the RAT’s but only 77% agreed that they completed the learning assignments to the best of their ability.  Proportionately fewer students dropped the TBL section (7.8%) than did the lecture section (12.4%). These results support the use of TBL as an effective way to enhance student performance, retention, and interactions with classmates.   

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Hey Jeff, nice work. A few minor comments: I think the abbreviation RATs should be without an apostrophe. How many RAT days were there? Once a week? Could add that. The sentence: "surveys reveal that students in the lecture section..." needs a little more context. Did you specifically ask about scientific method in the RATs, and if so, why (was it a major learning goal for the course?). Also, I think you want to say in the first sentence that the two courses were taught by the same professor (you). This is a pretty unusually well controlled study--same class, same professor, two different approaches--so highlighting that set up is worth it!
Posted 23:32, 16 Feb 2009
Hi Jeff,
Enjoyed reading about your work. I found the following "Average exam scores for each of the four exams were significantly higher in the TBL section than in the lecture section (p<0.05). Surveys reveal that students in the lecture section were more confident in their understanding of the scientific method than were students in the TBL section. " a little contradictory. Perhaps the latter sentence might be better left to the discussion because it seems to contradict the former and needs more explanation. Second comment- the exams were significantly higher- how many points? Great job. I look forward to seeing it in May.
Posted 10:33, 17 Feb 2009
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