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ERIC Number: EJ923406
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-1931-7913
Student Use of Out-of-Class Study Groups in an Introductory Undergraduate Biology Course
Rybczynski, Stephen M.; Schussler, Elisabeth E.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v10 n1 p74-82 Mar 2011
Self-formed out-of-class study groups may benefit student learning; however, few researchers have quantified the relationship between study group use and achievement or described changes in study group usage patterns over a semester. We related study group use to performance on content exams, explored patterns of study group use, and qualitatively described student perceptions of study groups. A pre- and posttest were used to measure student content knowledge. Internet-based surveys were used to collect quantitative data on exam performance and qualitative data on study group usage trends and student perceptions of study groups. No relationship was found between gains in content knowledge and study group use. Students who participated in study groups did, however, believe they were beneficial. Four patterns of study group use were identified: students either always (14%) or never (55%) used study groups, tried but quit using them (22%), or utilized study groups only late in the semester (9%). Thematic analysis revealed preconceptions and in-class experiences influence student decisions to utilize study groups. We conclude that students require guidance in the successful use of study groups. Instructors can help students maximize study group success by making students aware of potential group composition problems, helping students choose group members who are compatible, and providing students materials on which to focus their study efforts. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A