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Teaching students how to study: a workshop on information processing and self-testing helps students learn.

Stanger-Hall KF, Shockley FW, Wilson RE - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Bottom Line: Students rated the workshop activities highly and performed significantly better on workshop-related final exam questions than the control groups.Student achievement (i.e., grade point average) was significantly correlated with overall final exam performance but not with workshop outcomes.This long-term (10 wk) retention of a self-testing effect across question levels and student achievement is a promising endorsement for future large-scale implementation and further evaluation of this "how to study" workshop as a study support for introductory biology (and other science) students.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. ksh@uga.edu

ABSTRACT
We implemented a "how to study" workshop for small groups of students (6-12) for N = 93 consenting students, randomly assigned from a large introductory biology class. The goal of this workshop was to teach students self-regulating techniques with visualization-based exercises as a foundation for learning and critical thinking in two areas: information processing and self-testing. During the workshop, students worked individually or in groups and received immediate feedback on their progress. Here, we describe two individual workshop exercises, report their immediate results, describe students' reactions (based on the workshop instructors' experience and student feedback), and report student performance on workshop-related questions on the final exam. Students rated the workshop activities highly and performed significantly better on workshop-related final exam questions than the control groups. This was the case for both lower- and higher-order thinking questions. Student achievement (i.e., grade point average) was significantly correlated with overall final exam performance but not with workshop outcomes. This long-term (10 wk) retention of a self-testing effect across question levels and student achievement is a promising endorsement for future large-scale implementation and further evaluation of this "how to study" workshop as a study support for introductory biology (and other science) students.

Show MeSH
Pre- and postreview self-testing scores. Student performance (N = 93) is shown as mean (%) possible score (possible process score: 5 points; possible structure score: 15 points). Students performed significantly better in the postreview self-test than in the prereview self-test for both processes and structures (Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired samples (combined): Z < −2.58; P < 0.01; for processes only: Z = −2.585; P = 0.01; for structures only: Z = −7.152, P < 0.001).
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Figure 3: Pre- and postreview self-testing scores. Student performance (N = 93) is shown as mean (%) possible score (possible process score: 5 points; possible structure score: 15 points). Students performed significantly better in the postreview self-test than in the prereview self-test for both processes and structures (Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired samples (combined): Z < −2.58; P < 0.01; for processes only: Z = −2.585; P = 0.01; for structures only: Z = −7.152, P < 0.001).

Mentions: The life cycles produced during the first (prereview) self-test were largely incomplete, and students were better able to recall processes (mean ± SD = 1.978 ± 1.56 of 5) than structures and their characteristics (3.66 ± 3.63 of 15). In contrast, during their second (postreview) attempt, students were able to produce a much more complete and accurate diagram of the plant life cycle (2.43 ± 1.57 of 5 processes and 7.47 ± 4.21 of 15 characteristics; Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired samples: Z < −2.58; P < 0.01). Between the first and second attempt, the correct placement of structure names and their characteristics improved by 56% and 47%, respectively, whereas correct placement of processes only improved by 17% (Figure 3). This result is partly due to the fact that students struggled more to name the correct structures and their characteristics (of 15, 24% correct) on their first attempt, than they did in naming the processes (of 5, 40% correct). In their second attempt, students scored on average ∼50% correct for both structures (associating names with the correct cellularity and ploidy state) and processes (making sure that the process matched the change in structural characteristics). This represents a significant improvement for both categories (Figure 3) without looking up the complete life cycle.


Teaching students how to study: a workshop on information processing and self-testing helps students learn.

Stanger-Hall KF, Shockley FW, Wilson RE - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Pre- and postreview self-testing scores. Student performance (N = 93) is shown as mean (%) possible score (possible process score: 5 points; possible structure score: 15 points). Students performed significantly better in the postreview self-test than in the prereview self-test for both processes and structures (Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired samples (combined): Z < −2.58; P < 0.01; for processes only: Z = −2.585; P = 0.01; for structures only: Z = −7.152, P < 0.001).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Figure 3: Pre- and postreview self-testing scores. Student performance (N = 93) is shown as mean (%) possible score (possible process score: 5 points; possible structure score: 15 points). Students performed significantly better in the postreview self-test than in the prereview self-test for both processes and structures (Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired samples (combined): Z < −2.58; P < 0.01; for processes only: Z = −2.585; P = 0.01; for structures only: Z = −7.152, P < 0.001).
Mentions: The life cycles produced during the first (prereview) self-test were largely incomplete, and students were better able to recall processes (mean ± SD = 1.978 ± 1.56 of 5) than structures and their characteristics (3.66 ± 3.63 of 15). In contrast, during their second (postreview) attempt, students were able to produce a much more complete and accurate diagram of the plant life cycle (2.43 ± 1.57 of 5 processes and 7.47 ± 4.21 of 15 characteristics; Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired samples: Z < −2.58; P < 0.01). Between the first and second attempt, the correct placement of structure names and their characteristics improved by 56% and 47%, respectively, whereas correct placement of processes only improved by 17% (Figure 3). This result is partly due to the fact that students struggled more to name the correct structures and their characteristics (of 15, 24% correct) on their first attempt, than they did in naming the processes (of 5, 40% correct). In their second attempt, students scored on average ∼50% correct for both structures (associating names with the correct cellularity and ploidy state) and processes (making sure that the process matched the change in structural characteristics). This represents a significant improvement for both categories (Figure 3) without looking up the complete life cycle.

Bottom Line: Students rated the workshop activities highly and performed significantly better on workshop-related final exam questions than the control groups.Student achievement (i.e., grade point average) was significantly correlated with overall final exam performance but not with workshop outcomes.This long-term (10 wk) retention of a self-testing effect across question levels and student achievement is a promising endorsement for future large-scale implementation and further evaluation of this "how to study" workshop as a study support for introductory biology (and other science) students.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. ksh@uga.edu

ABSTRACT
We implemented a "how to study" workshop for small groups of students (6-12) for N = 93 consenting students, randomly assigned from a large introductory biology class. The goal of this workshop was to teach students self-regulating techniques with visualization-based exercises as a foundation for learning and critical thinking in two areas: information processing and self-testing. During the workshop, students worked individually or in groups and received immediate feedback on their progress. Here, we describe two individual workshop exercises, report their immediate results, describe students' reactions (based on the workshop instructors' experience and student feedback), and report student performance on workshop-related questions on the final exam. Students rated the workshop activities highly and performed significantly better on workshop-related final exam questions than the control groups. This was the case for both lower- and higher-order thinking questions. Student achievement (i.e., grade point average) was significantly correlated with overall final exam performance but not with workshop outcomes. This long-term (10 wk) retention of a self-testing effect across question levels and student achievement is a promising endorsement for future large-scale implementation and further evaluation of this "how to study" workshop as a study support for introductory biology (and other science) students.

Show MeSH