|Abstract||Approximately 3000 students enroll in CEM141 each school year and attend weekly 50 minute sessions. These teaching assistant (TA) run sessions are an opportunity to ask questions and discuss course material. The recitation is structured around a worksheet; to ensure each recitation covers the same material and hopefully provides the students with equal opportunity to learn material. Student feedback and observations of recitations exposed differences in structure of these recitations; group work, interaction with each other and the TA varied. Literature suggests that a more interactive environment and the use of effective group work enhance learning. It was hypothesized that more interactive recitations would enhance learning and performance in the course.
An analysis of Fall 2011 CEM141 grades and recitations attended revealed grades of students attending specific recitations, 7 of the 18 different TA lead recitations, had significantly higher or lower grades than the overall class average. Recitation structure analysis and controls for other factors contributing to performance in the class were employed for the more intensive analysis in the Spring. Two independent observers attended recitations and analyzed the structure of each TA’s recitation. Spring 2012 students were surveyed and controls included homework, math-pretest & ACT scores, recitation attendance, gender and tutoring; among many others.
Average percent on three exams were compared only for those students that completed more than 80% of the homework, recitations and did not have a tutor. The most apparent difference between the recitations with the highest and lowest averages was group-work. If it not used effectively, averages were lower than those who did not employ group-work. The difference between Fall and Spring could be contributed to the different student body and TA experience. The study will continue and an additional session during TA training hopefully include a “how to” session on effective group work. |