NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ797248
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-0021-3667
Brief Daily Writing Activities and Performance on Major Multiple-Choice Exams
Turner, Haley C.; Bliss, Stacy L.; Hautau, Briana; Carroll, Erin; Jaspers, Kathryn E.; Williams, Robert L.
Journal of General Education, v55 n3-4 p221-246 2006
Although past research indicates that giving brief quizzes, administered either regularly or randomly, may lead to improvement in students' performance on major exams, negligible research has targeted daily writing activities that require the processing of course information at a deeper level than might result from simply reading course materials and answering factual questions about those materials. The treatment strategy in the current study involved the administration of brief daily writing activities based on critical concepts previously announced for discussion in class. The targeted daily writing activities were designed to encourage students to think critically about pairs of concepts embedded in the instructor notes available to them. Requiring more complex learning approaches in preparing for the daily writing activities was expected to promote student use of similar approaches on course exams. Although students constructed written products at the beginning of five class sessions in each of the five units of the course, only one of these products was randomly selected for grading per unit. Thus, the study attempted to determine if an arrangement that required students to engage in daily writing tasks could meet the criteria for both effectiveness (improve deep thinking on multiple-choice exams) and efficiency (not require an inordinate amount of instructor time in and out of class). The overall research question in the current study was whether frequent and high-quality engagement in the writing activities helped students prepare for major exams different in format (multiple choice) from the writing activities. The predictive potential of the daily writing activities was compared to that of other known predictors of exam performance in the target course (e.g., critical thinking, generic vocabulary, and attendance), all of which have previously correlated with exam performance at a moderate level. The study addressed the following primary questions regarding the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the daily writing activities: (1) Did engaging in daily writing activities improve student performance on targeted multiple-choice exam items (items related to concepts addressed in the writing activities)?; (2) How well did the frequency versus the quality of students' daily writing predict performance on targeted exam items?; and (3) How well did student performance on the writing activities, compared with other established exam performance predictors, predict performance on targeted exam items? Compared with other established predictors of exam performance, scores on the writing activities proved to be the strongest predictor. (Contains 7 tables and 2 figures.)
Pennsylvania State University Press. 820 North University Drive, USB 1 Suite C, University Park, PA 16802. Tel: 800-326-9180; Tel: 814-865-1327; Fax: 814-863-1408; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A