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International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, v28 n2 p168-175 2016

This article provides an evaluation of the redesign of a research methods course intended to enhance students' learning for understanding and transfer. Drawing on principles of formative assessment from the existing academic literature, the instructor introduced a number of increasingly complex low-stakes assignments for students to complete prior to submitting their final project. Concrete, constructive feedback from either the instructor or peers or both was offered at each stage of the project so that students could have the opportunity to review their work and improve particular aspects prior to moving on to the next assignment. Student performance on each subsequent submission was assessed through the use of a scoring rubric. Although there was significant improvement from one draft of a given assignment (T1) to the next (T2), the instructor's decision not to require a preliminary draft of the final project ultimately yielded mixed results at the end of the course (T3); this serves to highlight the importance of providing multiple active learning opportunities for students by using a progressive scaffolding approach.

Descriptors: Feedback (Response), Formative Evaluation, Academic Achievement, Research Methodology, Methods Courses, Assignments, Student Projects, Student Evaluation, Scoring Rubrics, Active Learning, Scaffolding (Teaching Technique), Instructional Design, College Students

International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning. Web site:

Autor: Owen, Leanne


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