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Rewarding Levels of Knowledge in Graduate Student Exams

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Mentoring Graduate Students, Diversity, and Assessment

Tagged Divisions

Minorities in Engineering and Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1258.1 - 22.1258.15



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Paper Authors


Robert M. Brooks Temple University

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Dr. Robert M. Brooks is an associate professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Temple University. He is a registered professional engineer in PA and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. His research interests are Civil Engineering Materials, Transportation Engineering, and Engineering Education.

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Amithraj Amavasai

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Jyothsna Kavuturu

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Rewarding Partial Scholarly Work of the Graduate StudentsEventhough the rewards of becoming a graduate scholar are excellent, Graduate School requires asignificant amount of hard work especially scholarly work. There are several choices available toinformed graduate students. These include, but is not limited to, seeking the highest grades, seekingeffective research and internship programs, developing time management skills, seeking mentors,developing communication and writing (especially proposal writing) skills, discussing expectation offaculty, and involving in study groups. However, the number of specific programs from facultyencouraging the graduate scholarly work is small. The number of specific programs from facultyencouraging partial scholarly work is nonexistent.This paper focuses on development of an innovative method for rewarding the partial scholarly work ofgraduate students. The scope of this paper is limited to academic scholarly work. In the spring semesterof 2003 a graduate course in Transportation was offered. This was taught in the traditional lectureformant for eleven students. The average grade for this class was sixty seven out of one hundred.Some times students know an overwhelming majority of the answer which still amounts to partialscholarly work. They may need only a small bit of knowledge to score full credit. The students mayobtain the knowledge in the form of a clue from the instructor at a cost. No direct answer is provided atany time. The cost of the grade exponentially increases as the number of clues increases. This is todiscourage unworthy students from obtaining higher grades. In Fall 2009 a control group was taughtusing the innovative method for rewarding partial scholarly work. In the final exam a reward system ofproviding the needy students with clues to solve the problems and answer the questions was utilized.Except this there is no difference between the control group and innovative group.Performance of the control group was compared with that of the innovative group. The average gradeof the control group was 68%, where the innovative group scored 77%. The innovative group showed13.2% improvement over the control group. The t-test confirmed statistical improvement at significantconfidence level with an alpha value of 0.05.The authors plan to extend this strategy to three other courses over the next three years. The methodpresented in this study may be used at other institutions with appropriate modifications in order toencourage students by rewarding their scholarly work.

Brooks, R. M., & Amavasai, A., & Kavuturu, J. (2011, June), Rewarding Levels of Knowledge in Graduate Student Exams Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18721

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