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Decrease Failure Rates in
Dabareh Vowellon 8 October 2013
Transcript of Decrease Failure Rates in
So, What Are The Problems?
Introductory courses are often larger
Students don't have foundational knowledge and do have misconceptions about content
Students predict they will do much better in the course than they actually do
Students don't follow through on goals
Inexperience leads to common mistakes
So, What is Proven to Help?
There are some best practices that could help students succeed in introductory courses.
What Does All That Mean to Me?
There are some things you can do that are proven to give students higher levels of learning and to "unlock" success in your courses!
Good Practice Contributes to Success!
So, if you incorporate a few of these best practices, what should students gain to help them succeed?
5 Biggest Mistakes College Students Make
1. Cutting classes
3. Over media-ing
5. Going it alone
5 Common Problems Facing Students Today
1. Lack of motivation
2. Lack of note-taking skills
3. Failure to proofread
4. Failure to seek help
5. Lack of confidence
Best Practices in College Teaching
Active Learning and Student-centered Pedagogy Improve Student Attitudes and Performance in Introductory Biology
Rethinking the Way College Students Are Taught
Reorder Course Content
Teach content in the context of broad, conceptual themes
Incorporate Active Learning
Regular group problem-solving, clickers, conceptual dilemmas
Specific learning goals for each class
Frequent formative (low-stakes) assessment
Group Discussion Triggers
Responses to Learner Contributions
Rewarding Learner Participation
Active Learning Strategies
Goals to Grades Connections
Fostering Student Responsibility
Reduce lecture to 5-7 minute "chunks,"
followed by an activity that forces students to clarify, explain, and interact with the content.
Use "active learning" techniques.
Incorporate frequent questions into class and require participation.
Do an "exit" question
Do short, "low-stakes" quizzing
Use small group and answer reporting
Be sure and give enough generalizations to make new concepts applicable and use real-life problems when possible.
Why Don't They Apply What They've Learned?
Make students accountable for reading.
Don't lecture on what they were supposed to have read. This reinforces the idea that they don't need to read for themselves; they will be given the main points, anyway.
Have a low-stakes activity or quiz at the beginning of class based on reading. Take up the results or give points.
Involve students in presenting information based on reading. Putting a few each week "on the spot" will quickly communicate that they need to read and be ready in class.
Make the class period more about applying what was read, clearing up confusion, or sharing perspectives with others than about passive reception of information.
"If you look at what's happening in the introductory classes, even at the best schools, the classes only seem to be really working for about 10 percent of the students, and I think all the evidence indicates that these 10 percent are the 10 percent of students that would learn it even without the instructor. They essentially learn it on their own."
David Hestenes, The Problem With Lecturing
Employ instruction and assessment that engages different ways of thinking and learning.
Avoid using all text-based resources
Allow movement (moving to group activities, turning to talk to neighbor)
Encourage interaction periodically to support social learners
Let students know what is expected of them
Use rubrics for assignment evaluation
Provide examples of exemplary work
Provide checklists of steps and requirements
Allow major work to be done in parts and give feedback on each part
Incorporate self-assessments of skills and learning
Get acquainted with and use Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Skills
Think about your instruction practices
Foster a learning community
Encourage formation of learning/study groups
Provide ways for students to share and discuss for understanding
Reward thoughtful participation
Reinforce cooperative instead of competitive questioning and response
Chickering, A.W., and Gamson, Z.F. (1991). Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Number 47, Fall 1991. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.
Good Practice Encourages Student-Faculty Contact
Good Practice Encourages
Cooperation Among Students
Good Practice Encourages Active Learning
Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback
Good Practice Emphasizes Time on Task
Good Practice Communicates High Expectations
Good Practice Respects Diverse
Talents and Ways of Learning
Study: What Uncouples Students’ Goals from Students’ Outcomes in Introductory Biology Courses?
According to Chickering...
Is it all up to professors?
It can be all too true that students:
come to college with less foundational knowledge and the baggage of socio-economic discrepancies
devote less time to academic pursuits
tend to enroll in classes that will require less writing and commitment
may demonstrate no significant learning after taking general education courses (45% in this study)
may demonstrate no significant learning after taking all courses to graduate (36% in this study)
Are Undergraduates Actually Learning Anything?
When is what you do as professors enough?
Only you can answer for yourself!
And, we know that today's students are not the students coming to college 20 years ago!