July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
NSF Grantees Poster Session
The ability to identify one’s own confusion and to ask a question that resolves it is an essential metacognitive skill that supports self-regulation (Winne, 2005). Yet, while students receive substantial training in how to answer questions, little classroom time is spent training students how to ask good questions. Past research has shown that students are able to pose more high-quality questions after being instructed in a taxonomy for classifying the quality of their questions (Marbach‐Ad & Sokolove, 2000). As pilot data collection in preparation for a larger study funded through NSF-DUE, we provided engineering statics students training in writing high-quality questions to address their own confusions. The training emphasized the value of question-asking in learning and how to categorize questions using a simple taxonomy based on prior work (Harper et al., 2003). The taxonomy specifies five question levels: 1) an unspecific question, 2) a definition question, 3) a question about how to do something, 4) a why question, and 5) a question that extends knowledge to a new circumstance. At the end of each class period during a semester-long statics course, students were prompted to write and categorize a question that they believed would help them clarify their current point of greatest confusion. Through regular practice writing and categorizing such questions, we hoped to improve students' abilities to ask questions that require higher-level thinking. We collected data from 35 students in courses at two institutions. Over the course of the semester, students had the opportunity to write and categorize twenty of their own questions. After the semester, the faculty member categorized student questions using the taxonomy to assess the appropriateness of the taxonomy and whether students used it accurately. Analysis of the pilot data indicates three issues to be addressed: 1) Student compliance in writing and categorizing their questions varied. 2) Some students had difficulty correctly coding their questions using the taxonomy. 3) Some student questions could not be clearly characterized using the taxonomy, even for faculty raters. We will address each of these issues with appropriate refinements in our next round of data collection: 1) Students may have been overwhelmed with the request to write a question after each class period. In the future, we will require students to write and categorize at least one question per week, with more frequent questions encouraged. 2) To improve student use of the taxonomy in future data collection, students will receive more practice with the taxonomy when it is introduced and more feedback on their categorization of questions during the semester. 3) We are reformulating our taxonomy to accommodate questions that may straddle more than one category, such as a question about how to extend a mathematical operation to a new situation (which could be categorized as either a level 3 or 5). We are hopeful that these changes will improve accuracy and compliance, enabling us to use the intervention as a means to promote metacognitive regulation and measure changes as a result, which is the intent of the larger scope of the project.
Goldberg, S. R., & Venters, C., & Masnick, A. (2021, July), Refining a Taxonomy for Categorizing the Quality of Engineering Student Questions Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37649
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