AR Focus Statement
The problem is the current state of knowledge assessment encourages students to study for the test and then discard the information as soon as the test is over. My proposed solution is to increase retention through reflection.
Once the students have completed the 20-slide Keynote presentation using relevant media examples, will they retain the information more effectively so that they can improve on their original test score?
The target audience for Cycle 2 was made up of 16 college-aged students, 13 male and 3 female. The range of age was from 18 to 35. A mix of ethnicities was represented as well: 4 African-American, 10 Caucasian, 1 half Caucasian, half Indian, 1 Hispanic and 1 Asian.
Summary of Cycle 2
Cycle 2 took place 1 month after Cycle 1 ended with an entirely new group of students. This cycle began after students completed their midterm exam. The first thing they were required to do is come to the office the next day to see what they missed on the Midterm. Although 44 students made an appointment to see me, only 29 came to see what they missed. There were a series of questionnaires that were sent to them from freeonlinesurveys.com. The first questionnaire they filled out was a Learning questionnaire that was designed to interpret whether their motivation to take part in the cycle was intrinsic or extrinsic. There were also questions about age, hometown and ethnicity, which helped me gather demographic information. The second questionnaire they filled out was a pre-questionnaire that showed how comfortable each student felt about the material they were tested on.
After the 2nd questionnaire, they completed a project that involved doing research about the subject they struggled with the most on their test. They compiled 18 media examples into a Keynote document with a brief explanation of each. They could use any asset they found on the Internet, provided they properly cite the source. The project had to include a title slide as well as a conclusion that could be written or recorded. The conclusion was intended as a reflection tool to help them compare their present comprehension to their competency before the project. Once the project was turned in, they had to retake the section of the midterm they struggled the most with. Lastly, the post survey was sent to them, which included the exact same questions as the pre survey they completed at the beginning of the cycle.
The type of data that was collected included both quantitative and qualitative information that determined how comfortable they felt about the material, how important they believed the material was to their career, how hard they studied for the midterm and whether they thought the materials they had to study were adequate. These came in the form of questionnaires, surveys and test scores.
The pre/post survey provided valuable data about how the students felt about the material they were tested on. Once again, 16 students completed the 2nd Cycle and I discovered that, before the cycle started, 50% of the students felt uncomfortable with the material, 36% felt somewhat comfortable and 14% that felt good about the material. This seemed to stem from the fact that before they took the midterm for the first time, 95% thought they had not studied hard enough for it. After they had completed the cycle, 100% of them stated that they felt more comfortable with the material, although 82% still believed they needed more studying. One cause for their discomfort could be ruled out and that related to the study materials they were given. This is because 95% of the students surveyed believed that the study guides they received initially were sufficient.
The learning questionnaire was sent out after the pre survey and provided quantitative data to help determine whether the motivation the students had to complete the cycle were autonomous or controlled. Students that were autonomously motivated took part in the cycle because they found the material interesting, personally satisfying and important. Students that had controlled motivation completed the cycle because of external pressures and rewards. Each question had either an autonomous or controlled bias. The scale of each answer was either 1, 4 or 7, 1 being Don’t Agree, 4 being Somewhat Agree and 7 being Agree. The students showed their motivation to be intrinsic by agreeing with all of the autonomous questions. Of the 7 controlled questions, 57% were answered with Don’t Agree, 29% were answered somewhat Agree and 14% were Agree.
The test scores were evaluated after they retook their Midterm section and 71% of the students had their grade go up, although only 25% of that group improved their grade significantly. In addition, 12% of the student’s grade stayed the same and 17% of them had their grade go down. Please refer to the Insight section for some insight into why this may have happened.
One month after the cycle ended, I sent out a separate questionnaire to all of the students to gauge their reaction to the cycle process.There were 8 question under the topics of “The Midterm”, “The Cycle” and “The Project”. Every question on this additional questionnaire related to whether they would change any aspect of the cycle. I wanted to get a better sense of how the surveys, project and test results related to the inquiry question. I received 4 total responses and 2 of the students that responded had their scores lowered when they took the midterm the second time. The responses from the students that improved their grade stated that they found the project to be fair, the cycle time just right and thought the questions were not too hard. The two students who saw a drop in their grade found the project to be fair, the cycle time just right but found the wording on the questions to be confusing.
The data that was collected seems to answer the Inquiry Question sufficiently. The question was “Once the students have completed the 20-slide Keynote presentation using relevant media examples, will they retain the information more effectively so that they can improve on their original test score?”. The data report confirms that the students retained information more effectively because 71% of the students that participated in Cycle 2 saw their grade increase after they completed the Keynote presentation and re-took the midterm. Based upon student feedback, I believe that I can improve upon this percentage by re-wording the questions on the Midterm so that they are more straightforward.
The biggest surprise that came out of Cycle 2 was that both cycles remained quite consistent from Cycle 1 to Cycle 2. Because both cycles finished with a majority of students increasing their midterm grade, this confirms that the process works. I was pleasantly surprised to get responses to my follow-up survey from 2 students that had their score go down on the second attempt at the Midterm. Those responses gave me some valuable insight on why they did not do well on either tries as they both stated that the wording of the test questions were confusing.
This cycle was relevant to the goal of my Action Plan and the positive outcomes from both cycles confirms that the process I developed does increase overall retention. There will be certain improvements that have to be made going forward. Based upon the responses I received from the two students that saw a decrease in their grade, I will be changing the wording of our Midterm questions so that they are simpler to understand. We are testing them on their knowledge of our material, not how well they can interpret the question.
The following presentation was turned in by one of the students in Cycle 2.