Asee peer logo

Extended Exam Wrappers: A Comparison of Approaches in a Learning Strategies Course

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Assessment in the First Year

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Abigail T. Stephan Clemson University

visit author page

Abby is a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences program at Clemson University. Broadly, her research interests include intergenerational learning in informal settings, self-directed learning, and cultural influences on the learning process. Abby currently works as a graduate assistant for the General Engineering Learning Community (GELC), a program that supports first-year engineering students in their development of self-regulation and time management skills, effective learning strategies, and positive habits of mind.

visit author page


Elizabeth Anne Stephan Clemson University

visit author page

Dr. Elizabeth Stephan is the Director of Academics for the General Engineering Program at Clemson University. She holds a B.S. and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron. Since 2002, she has taught, developed, and and now coordinates the first-year curriculum. As the lead author of the "Thinking Like an Engineer" textbook, currently in its 4th edition, she has been the primary author team–member in charge of the development of the MyEngineeringLab system.

visit author page


Matthew K. Miller Clemson University

visit author page

Matt Miller is a Senior Lecturer in the General Engineering Program at Clemson University. His background in industrial engineering and engineering education have helped him develop innovative ways to deliver engineering curriculum for freshman engineers and talented high school students interested in engineering.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This Complete Evidence-Based Practice paper explores the use of exam wrappers in a learning strategies course designed for first-year engineering students in PROGRAM at INSTITUTION. Exam wrappers are most commonly used as tools to facilitate the process of self-evaluation as students reflect on their preparation and performance on a formal assessment, such as a quiz or exam [1]. The learning strategies course accompanying PROGRAM at INSTITUTION includes an innovative, extended use of exam wrappers. Currently in its second iteration, the exam wrapper activity is well-integrated into the course and emphasizes the professional significance of self-evaluation and critical reflection in the learning process. Slight modifications to the exam wrapper activity were made between its first [2] and second implementations, and the similarities and differences in outcomes as a result of these modifications will be the focus of the current paper.

In the series of exam wrapper assignments, students are asked to complete (1) a reflection detailing what they wanted to happen on their first round of exams, (2) a traditional exam wrapper activity recounting their preparatory behaviors and learning strategies and the results of their exams, and (3) a reflection on what was learned from the experience, and (4) a plan for improvement for each of their STEM courses. This process is repeated following the second round of exams.

One modification of the exam wrapper between its first and second implementation was the introduction of the after-action review terminology. In order to emphasize the students’ professional development as engineers, the experience with exam wrappers was framed as a four-stage after-action review. After-action reviews are used to debrief the process and performance on a training event and include four phases: planning, preparation, execution, and follow-up [3]. The exam wrapper activity was intentionally created to model the structure and process of the after-action reviews utilized in industry with the goal of engaging students with the value of gaining real-world skills.

The current study investigates two primary research questions utilizing a qualitative methodological approach. First, it seeks to determine the impact of the exam wrapper activity on subsequent exam scores for students in the second cohort. Second, it aims to understand how the experience with exam wrappers varied between students in the first cohort and the second cohort. The results of the analysis suggest that qualitative themes related to students’ experiences differed as a result of the structure and framing of the activity from one iteration to the next. A discussion of the results and implications for educators are provided.

Stephan, A. T., & Stephan, E. A., & Miller, M. K. (2020, June), Extended Exam Wrappers: A Comparison of Approaches in a Learning Strategies Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34654

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015