ERIC Number: EJ1027870
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
Enhancing Student Preparedness for Class through Course Preparation Assignments: Preliminary Evidence from the Classroom
Ewell, William Henry; Rodgers, Robert R.
Journal of Political Science Education, v10 n2 p204-221 2014
Student preparation for class is an integral part of the college learning experience. In order to incentivize student preparation outside class, professors have employed such techniques as reflection papers, quizzes, and group discussion, to name but a few. This article explores the benefits of using a technique known as "course preparation assignments" (CPAs; Yamane 2006). We argue that this instructional tool provides opportunities for significant guided learning beyond the classroom through low-stakes writing assignments that emphasize critical thinking and analysis of assigned primary or secondary source materials. We theorize the three causal mechanisms for CPA success are (1) forced engagement with the material, (2) guidance to engage with difficult texts, and (3) practice using higher order cognitive skills. Based upon multiple student surveys, we find strong evidence that CPAs foster active learning in discussion-based courses by increasing the time students spend preparing for class and by providing students with a heightened sense of preparedness for classroom discussion and activities.
Descriptors: Homework, Writing Assignments, Active Learning, College Students, College Instruction, Instructional Effectiveness, Critical Thinking, Learner Engagement, Thinking Skills, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Student Surveys, Student Attitudes, Student Motivation, Political Science, Comparative Analysis, Courses, Multiple Regression Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A