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Question-to-Learn Science in Higher Education: A Quantitative Study

Journal article
Authors Lars Bengtsson
Published in Higher Education Research
Volume 5
Issue 3
Pages 83-93
ISSN 2578-9341
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages 83-93
Language en
Keywords Writing-Across-the-Curriculum; Writing-to-Learn; Question-to-Learn; Higher Order Thinking Skills;
Subject categories Pedagogy, Learning


This work reports the results of a case study where traditional activities in an engineering/science classroom, such as demonstrations and self-paced activities, were compared with ‘writing across the curriculum” (WAC) activities. One group did writing-to-learn assignments and one group did our seminal construct ‘question-to-learn’ where they designed exam problems for their peers. A model is presented which describes the parameters that influence the exam score outcome. Some of these variables were carefully controlled during the project (labs, textbook, lecturer) and some other parameters were measured (lecture attendance, time-on-task and previous knowledge) in order to minimize data corruption due to confounding variables. The main parameter of interest, the ‘predictor’ of the exam score was the extra-curricular activity. A pre-test and a post-test were also conducted in order to establish the students relative gain. We also tested the hypothesis of using the quality of the students’ WAC outputs as a predictor of academic achievements. Data is analyzed both with parametric and non-parametric methods and results show that there was no significant difference between the groups on exam scores and that the relationship between WAC quality and exam scores is not significant. The main reason for the non-significant results is concluded to be due to low participation rates and too low “dosage”.

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