Presentation: "Formative, Summative, and Cooperative Clicker Instruction in Astronomy" (research results)

Further discussion on the "Formative, Summative, and Cooperative Clicker Instruction in Astronomy" workshop presented at the Astronomy Society of the Pacific Cosmos in the Classroom National Symposium on Teaching Astronomy for Non-Science Majors, August 5, 2007, 2:00-3:00 PM, Session H3 in Hahn 108, Pomona College, Claremont, CA.

These slides discuss in more detail research supported by an @ONE Scholar Fellowship, and published in the Astronomy Education Review vol. 5, no. 2, p. 5, and are from an earlier presentation at the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges Fall 2006 Meeting (October 12, 2006), Los Angeles, CA.

The presentation for this workshop is in a previous post: Formative, Summative, and Cooperative Clicker Instruction in Astronomy (Cosmos in the Classroom 2007).

For fall semester 2005, there were a total of 111 formative/summative clicker questions, and 100 collaborative clicker questions. "Clickthroughs" measure the average student response rate, which was essentially statistically identical for either type of question. "Success" measures the average student rate of correct responses, which was statistically significantly higher for the collaborative questions (82 +/- 17%) than for the formative/summative questions (45 +/- 7%).

Students were asked to categorize whether they answered clicker questions without listening to, or telling others how they would respond ("self-testers"), or if they listened, to, or told others how they would respond before clicking in ("collaborators"). For the formative/summative clicker questions, nearly a third of the class preferred to answer independently as self-testers, but a near-unanimity of the class became collaborators during the collaborative review sessions. Understandably the doubling success bonus for attaining a cumulative class score above 80% for a review session strongly motivated nearly all of the students to become collaborators. However, further research was done to try to determine the motivation students to collaborators or self-testers for the formative/summative questions.

Students in this study were administered the Survey of Attitudes Towards Astronomy (Zeilik and Morris, Astronomy Education Review, vol. 2, no. 1, p. 101). Of the four SATA subscales (affect, cognitive competence, difficulty, and value) of student attitudes, there were marked differences between self-testers and collaborators as measured by their cognitive competence. For both pre-test and post-test cognitive competence scores, self-testers scored higher than collaborators. A more striking result was that collaborators had a statistically significant downward shift in cognitive competence compared to the self-testers, whose scores remained essentially static.

A possible hypothesis for the negative shift in cognitive competence for collaborators is currently being investigated at Cuesta College. It is possible that students who prefer to collaborate when responding to clicker questions, even when there is no explicit incentive to do so are taking introductory astronomy as their first and only science course to satisfy their general education requirement, and thus have relatively unformed or negative preconceptions towards science that are self-fulfilling.

The presentation for this workshop is in the previous post: Formative, Summative, and Cooperative Clicker Instruction in Astronomy (Cosmos in the Classroom 2007).

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