June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.849.1 - 26.849.6
Homework Methods in Engineering MechanicsThis study observes the efficacy of a new system for assessing homework in an engineeringmechanics (Statics & Dynamics) course. In the new system, short in class quizzes are being usedto assess students’ understanding of homework assignments rather than directly grading assignedproblems. Previously, students submitted scans of completed homework assignments via Canvas(course management software) and homework was graded directly. Quizzes typically consist ofone of the assigned homework problems that has been re-phrased and/or had numbers changed.Quizzes are administered at the start of class and student are given 15 minutes to complete them.Motivation for this research was generated by negative feedback from students in respect to thedifficulty and time spent on homework and a lack of correlation between homework and otherassessments of performance (quizzes and exams) in the class. We believe that this new methodwill put a focus on students understanding the problem rather than simply trying to get thecorrect answer, and will lead to better performance in class and on course exams.Studies have shown that homework is an important part of improving academic achievement(Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006). However, research has not fully clarified this relationshipbetween time spent on homework and academic achievement, especially at the student level(Dettmers, Trautwein, & Ludtke, 2009). The quality and quantity of homework have both showncorrelation with achievement (Kitsantas & Zimmerman, 2009), and quality of homework isaffected by many factors. Direct assessment of homework assignments is limited by a lack ofknowledge of the conditions under which the assignment was completed. Availability andutilization of assistance from peers, problem solutions, and even the instructors may lead to thestudent being able to submit correct solutions without understanding the material. The use ofquizzes has been established as an effective tool for assessment and encouragement of self-directed learning. A study conducted in the chemical engineering program at California StateUniversity found significant increases in grades, time spent on homework, and studentperceptions of learning when switching from traditional homework assignments to weeklyquizzes (Faraji, 2012). An evaluation of quizzes in physiology has shown that quizzes led toincreased performance on advanced examination questions (Berg, Plovsing, & Damgaard, 2012).Assessment of this transition will be based on observation of students’ performance on exams,and a survey of students’ perceptions relative to historical norms. Institutional review of researchprotocol determined that full board review of the study and informed consent was not required.Results are pending the completion of the fall 2014 semester. However distribution of quizscores to date is closer to the typical distribution seen in exam scores. Quizzes are given out atthe start of class so students who miss class or show up late have low quiz averages, however thequizzes themselves have eliminated the necessity to have a separate attendance / tardiness policy. ReferencesBerg, R. M. G., Plovsing, R. R., & Damgaard, M. (2012). Teaching Baroreflex Physiology to Medical Students: A Comparison of Quiz-Based and Conventional Teaching Strategies in a Laboratory Exercise. Advances in Physiology Education, 36(2), 147-153.Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003. Review of educational research, 76(1), 1-62.Dettmers, S., Trautwein, U., & Ludtke, O. (2009). The Relationship between Homework Time and Achievement Is Not Universal: Evidence from Multilevel Analyses in 40 Countries. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 20(4), 375-405.Faraji, S. (2012). The Enhancement of Student's Learning in Both Lower-Division and Upper- Division Classes by a Quiz-Based Approach. Chemical Engineering Education, 46(3), 213-217.Kitsantas, A., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2009). College students’ homework and academic achievement: The mediating role of self-regulatory beliefs. Metacognition and Learning, 4(2), 97-110.
Lura, D. J., & O'Neill, R. J., & Badir, A. (2015, June), Homework Methods in Engineering Mechanics Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24186
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