ERIC Number: ED334601
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Using Inquiry To Improve Students' Critical Thinking and Writing Skills on Essay Exams.
Friend, Christina M.
A study compared the effectiveness of 2 approaches for teaching students exam-writing skills. One approach--the study tips/models approach typical of existing textbook materials and study guides--used written study tips, along with sample exam questions and responses, to give students knowledge about what to do, and provide a model they could imitate in preparing for and taking exams. The other approach used inquiry activities to present data, designate a task to be performed using that data, and provide guidance in performing that task, thus giving students practice in how to do it. Inquiry activities focused on four skills: coping with the logistical constraints of the exam situation; preparing and recalling content material, analyzing the exam question; and writing a coherent essay with minimal revision. An example of one such activity describes how it was developed. Subjects, 13 classes of freshman composition at the University of Oklahoma, received 4 days of instruction using one of the 2 approaches. Comparing students' performances on essay exams before and following instruction, results showed that both kinds of instruction had a significant positive effect on students' exam scores, with average gains nearly twice as high as the study tips/models group. Findings suggest that the inquiry activities are more successful than the typical materials contained in textbooks. (SR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: University of Oklahoma; Writing Contexts; Writing Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the South Central Modern Language Association (San Antonio, TX, October 25-27, 1990).