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Research Design

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INTERVENTION: Frequent "low stress" assessments

(enforced writing practice in the form of short answer quizzes)


* make students aware of what they know (or don't)

* give students practice in answering short-essay thought questions (higher order Bloom's Q's)


DESIGN: (Formative assessment)

 Short answer writing assignment (quiz) given during class time

application/analysis type questions, including concept maps, problem-solving, case-study, "thought question" Give 5-10 minutes to complete the quiz, then have students exchange papers.

Present the question and ask for student answers. Discuss the possible answers and the reasoning behind the answers.  Explain point assignment and have students grade the papers.  Collect the papers and record scores.

These "quizzes" will make up less than 10% of the final grade.


*Surveys also given at the beginning and end of the semester to assess students' perceptions of "in-class writing" and study habits. 



*Student performance on the essay portion of the exams--over the course of the semester (4 exams)

*Compare exam1 + exam2  vs exam 3 + exam 4 avg. (essay score only)

*Sort the class into fourths based on total points

*Examine student responses about study habits

*Examine student responses about attitudes towards the in-class assignments (effects on learning and/or study habits)

*Make a rubric to analyze the reflective essays in order to group their comments (positive and negative) into categories.  Put these responses alongside the test score data and see if there are any patterns.

*Student self-evaluation/attitudes about study habits/course format


Future data analysis (?)

*quiz scores vs exam scores (essay portion)

*does intervention have greater impact on low-performing students? (demographic, GPA, SAT data?)