ERIC Number: ED318025
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Mar
Research on Essay Exams: Using Inquiry To Enhance Students' Learning and Performance.
Friend, Christy M.
A study focused on teaching students to write effectively in time-pressure situations, particularly on essay exams. Thirteen sections of freshman composition (205 students) were divided into two treatment groups. Half of the classes completed the exam-taking unit in a standard freshman text. The other half of the classes worked through an inquiry unit devised by the researcher which breaks exam writing into several specific skills: identifying logistical difficulties involved in the writing situation, reading critically and preparing effectively for the exam, analyzing exam questions, and organizing a coherent essay answer. The unit contained activities which allow students to practice each skill in small groups. Students' pretest and posttest scores were compared and the difference used as a measure of improvement level. Results indicated a significant positive effect for both groups. The inquiry group improved significantly more than the textbook group overall with average gains nearly twice as large as the textbook group. Future studies might focus on which parts of an inquiry unit are most helpful to students and which kinds of students benefit the most. (MG)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference on College Composition and Communication (41st, Chicago, IL, March 22-24, 1990).