P938: Understanding student responses on surveys

Author: Maria Schroeder, U.S. Naval Academy, USA

Co-Author: Shirley Lin,Debra Dillner and Judith Ann Hartman, U.S. Naval Academy, USA; Diane M. Bunce, Catholic University, USA

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 5:15 PM6:30 PM

Room: LIB

Related Symposium: S33

Written surveys are often a convenient and efficient way of gathering data on student perceptions or choices. Although surveys seem straightforward and objective, interpretation of what is meant by survey questions can differ between the survey writer and the survey taker. Even when interpretation is consistent across these two entities, much richer information is often supplied by the survey taker in a one-on-one interview situation. During the Fall 2012 semester, a subset of freshmen enrolled in the first semester of general chemistry at the US Naval Academy were interviewed regarding their answers on a written survey asking them about the resources they used to study for both instructor-written and multiple choice common exams. Student responses were audio taped and analyzed using NVIVO software to search for insights in what students chose and why they chose it. This qualitative data was analyzed according to whether the resource chosen led to deeper understanding of the topic or provided a quick answer to a question. Differences in study methods chosen for instructor-written exams vs. multiple-choice common exams were investigated. This poster will provide an analysis of the study methods chosen and why they were chosen by a subset of students enrolled in a large general chemistry course where success is expected and study time is limited.

P384: Do students retain knowledge when taking large scale multiple choice common exams?

Author: Shirley Lin, U. S. Naval Academy, USA

Co-Author: Maria Schroeder, Debra Dillner, Judith Ann Hartman, U.S. Naval Academy, USA; Diane M. Bunce, Catholic University, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 6:00 PM7:15 PM

Room: KC

Related Symposium: S33

All plebes (first-year students) take the same general chemistry course at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. The course taught by 29 different instructors uses the same textbook, follows a common daily syllabus and includes two multiple choice common exams at 6 weeks and 12 weeks during the semester in addition to a multiple choice common final exam. Instructors are encouraged to develop and administer their own instructor-written tests and quizzes in-between the common exams. These instructor-written tests and quizzes can take any format (open-ended or multiple choice) and can be administered on a schedule determined by the instructor. A discussion regarding whether the multiple-choice common exams measure memorization or knowledge is common. Research suggests that learning which is memorized often decays within 2 days if it is not deemed by the learner to be important. This poster will report on an experiment where students were administered a subset of questions from the common exams within 48 to 72 hours after completing the common exam. An analysis was performed to investigate whether students who answered the question correctly on the initial common exam could still answer it correctly 2-3 days later indicating that they learned the material beyond simple memorization. This trend was also investigated for highly successful (A and B), average (C), and unsuccessful (D and F) students.