NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ765245
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Nov
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
An Investigation of the Effects of Exam Essay Questions on Student Learning in United States History Survey Classes
Sundberg, Sara Brooks
History Teacher, v40 n1 p59-68 Nov 2006
This paper explores whether or not the simple addition of essay questions in examinations increased the learning of the sort normally tested by objective questions alone. Thirteen sections of a "United States History to 1877" class comprised the study group. The experimental group, consisting of nine sections, wrote essay questions on all the exams in the course. The control group, made up of five sections, did not write any essay answers. All of their exams consisted of objective questions only. To investigate the influence of essay writing on learning historical material, the study administered the same pre- and post-tests to the students of both groups and compared the scores of students on these two tests. Pre-test scores were generally consistent between sections, with students scoring between thirty and forty percent. Post-test scores ranged from five to thirty-three percent higher than pretest scores. This paper suggests that essay writing on exams made a difference in students' scores, and potentially their understanding, as reflected in the greater net gain of the post-test over pre-test scores for the nine sections in the first three semesters when essay questions were part of the exams. (Contains 3 figures and 17 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States