Proposal Title

Measuring students’ approach to learning and the development of higher order thinking skills in a large university class

Session Type

Presentation

Room

P&A 148

Start Date

5-7-2017 2:25 PM

Keywords

learning approach, learning strategy, teaching and assessment methods, Bloom’s Taxonomy, large classes, study process questionnaire

Primary Threads

Evaluation of Learning

Abstract

The Canadian higher education system is currently structured such that class sizes are large4 with limited resources, which have imposed constraints on teaching and assessment methods3. Traditional lecture delivery and multiple choice exams are common in large classes, despite evidence to suggest that these methods display a negative relationship with students’ development of higher order thinking skills (HOTS), such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking4. Furthermore, such traditional teaching and assessment methods typically reward memorization and recall, consistent with a surface approach to learning5, rather than encouraging students to deeply process the learning material.

Cognizant of the constraints imposed on teaching and assessment methods by large class sizes, an upper year physiology course has recently been redeveloped. Briefly, this course now takes place over two 12-week semesters, where students are taught with instructional scaffolded lecture methods. Assessments consist of short and long answer midterms/final exam, and a large scale (~400 students) weekly tutorial where students work in groups on problem solving assignments.

In this presentation, we will share how we evaluated students’ approaches to learning within a large, upper year physiology class, using the Revised Two Factor Study Process Questionnaire1, coupled with students’ academic performance on lower order and higher order assessment questions, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy2. Interesting data points from this study will be shared.

By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:
1. Identify teaching and assessment methods to promote HOTS and a deep approach to learning;
2. Implement a tool in their classes to evaluate students’ approaches to learning.


References

1 Biggs, J.B., Kember, D., & Leung, D.Y.P. (2001). The Revised Two Factor Study Process Questionnaire: R-SPQ-2F. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 133-149.
2 Bloom, B. S., Krathwohl, D. R., and Masia, B. B. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals, New York, NY: D. McKay.
3 Kerr, A. (2011). Teaching and Learning in large Classes at Ontario Universities: An Exploratory Study. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
4Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. (2014). Data check: Class sizes continue to grow at Ontario's universities. Retreived from http://ocufa.on.ca/blog-posts/data-check-class-sizes-continue-to-grow-at-ontarios-universities/
5Trigwell, K., & Prosser, M. (1991). Relating approaches to study and the quality of learning outcomes at the course level. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 61(3), 265-275.

Elements of Engagement

Participants can expect to be prompted with questions for small group discussion during the session, and will be provided with the tools to assess student approaches to learning in their own classrooms.

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Jul 5th, 2:25 PM

Measuring students’ approach to learning and the development of higher order thinking skills in a large university class

P&A 148

The Canadian higher education system is currently structured such that class sizes are large4 with limited resources, which have imposed constraints on teaching and assessment methods3. Traditional lecture delivery and multiple choice exams are common in large classes, despite evidence to suggest that these methods display a negative relationship with students’ development of higher order thinking skills (HOTS), such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking4. Furthermore, such traditional teaching and assessment methods typically reward memorization and recall, consistent with a surface approach to learning5, rather than encouraging students to deeply process the learning material.

Cognizant of the constraints imposed on teaching and assessment methods by large class sizes, an upper year physiology course has recently been redeveloped. Briefly, this course now takes place over two 12-week semesters, where students are taught with instructional scaffolded lecture methods. Assessments consist of short and long answer midterms/final exam, and a large scale (~400 students) weekly tutorial where students work in groups on problem solving assignments.

In this presentation, we will share how we evaluated students’ approaches to learning within a large, upper year physiology class, using the Revised Two Factor Study Process Questionnaire1, coupled with students’ academic performance on lower order and higher order assessment questions, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy2. Interesting data points from this study will be shared.

By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:
1. Identify teaching and assessment methods to promote HOTS and a deep approach to learning;
2. Implement a tool in their classes to evaluate students’ approaches to learning.


References

1 Biggs, J.B., Kember, D., & Leung, D.Y.P. (2001). The Revised Two Factor Study Process Questionnaire: R-SPQ-2F. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 133-149.
2 Bloom, B. S., Krathwohl, D. R., and Masia, B. B. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals, New York, NY: D. McKay.
3 Kerr, A. (2011). Teaching and Learning in large Classes at Ontario Universities: An Exploratory Study. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
4Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. (2014). Data check: Class sizes continue to grow at Ontario's universities. Retreived from http://ocufa.on.ca/blog-posts/data-check-class-sizes-continue-to-grow-at-ontarios-universities/
5Trigwell, K., & Prosser, M. (1991). Relating approaches to study and the quality of learning outcomes at the course level. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 61(3), 265-275.