ERIC Number: EJ1038726
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Getting under the Hood: How and for Whom Does Increasing Course Structurework?
Eddy, Sarah L.; Hogan, Kelly A.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v13 n3 p453-468 Sep 2014
At the college level, the effectiveness of active-learning interventions is typically measured at the broadest scales: the achievement or retention of all students in a course. Coarse-grained measures like these cannot inform instructors about an intervention's relative effectiveness for the different student populations in their classrooms or about the proximate factors responsible for the observed changes in student achievement. In this study, we disaggregate student data by racial/ethnic groups and first-generation status to identify whether a particular intervention--increased course structure--works better for particular populations of students. We also explore possible factors that may mediate the observed changes in student achievement. We found that a "moderate-structure" intervention increased course performance for all student populations, but worked disproportionately well for black students--halving the black-white achievement gap--and first-generation students--closing the achievement gap with continuing-generation students. We also found that students consistently reported completing the assigned readings more frequently, spending more time studying for class, and feeling an increased sense of community in the moderate-structure course. These changes imply that increased course structure improves student achievement at least partially through increasing student use of distributed learning and creating a more interdependent classroom community.
Descriptors: College Students, Active Learning, Intervention, Academic Achievement, Achievement Gap, Academic Persistence, Course Organization, First Generation College Students, African American Students, White Students, Correlation, Student Attitudes, Student Behavior, Biology, Science Instruction, College Science, Introductory Courses, Homework, Class Activities, Reading Assignments, Regression (Statistics), Transfer of Training, Statistical Analysis, Tests, Racial Differences, Academic Failure, Time Factors (Learning)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: NSF DUE 1118890|DUE 0942215
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Does Not Meet Evidence Standards
WWC Study Page: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/study/79038