Thursday, July 14, 2005

Their Grades Are Higher, but Are They Learning?

Their Grades Are Higher, but Are They Learning?: Examining the Impact of Cooperative Testing on Individual Learning by Theresa R. Castor.

In this paper, the author describes an experiment where she examines "how does cooperation translate into individual learning".

The students were asked to do the quiz individually first. Then the students went into groups and each group was to do the same quiz again with discussion among the group members. Then students may choose to "re-do" a subset of the quiz and asked to explain the result for the change of answer for these questions. The design objective was to look at the explanation provided by the students in order to gain an insight into the how the cooperation translate into individual learning.

In the conclusion, there are some of the benefits pointed out by the author:
the student responses show some of the different ways that group interaction benefited the understanding of various students. For example, the discussions helped in triggering other students' memories by reminding them of specific examples and explanations for concepts provided from classroom lessons. Also, the cooperative testing situation helped students to view questions and answers from different perspectives through the discussion with their peers. The discussions and opportunity for re-doing responses helped students to define concepts more precisely.

The structure proposed here has merit when used as a learning process. Given sufficient time in the second phrase (while students were attempting quiz in group), discussion among the group member will foster significant learning outcome. The pre-test serves a way to minimize time during the group process because obviously, there will be little discussion among the group members if everyone agrees on the same answer. This can serve to filter out the common understood part of the curriculum.