Impact on Students
Tallahassee Community College
In the redesign, did students learn more, less or the same compared to the traditional format?
Five final out-of-class essays were selected randomly from each section giving a sample of 70 essays (80 were planned but 10 were not turned in by the grading session). The 70 scored essays represented 22% of the students who finished the pilot. The essays were graded by an independent group of faculty using the established holistic scoring rubric. This rubric, which uses two graders each scoring on a six-point scale, was developed for the College Level Academic Skills Test (CLAST) and has been in use at TCC for many years. Students in the redesigned composition course scored significantly higher (p=0.03) on the final essay during the pilot study. The students in the redesigned course had an average score of 8.35 compared to 7.32 for the students in the traditional course. Similar results were obtained during the summer 2002 semester immediately following the pilot (8.34, 7.33, p= 0.04).
Success rates of students in the second level English course increased (79.3% success for redesigned compared to 76.1% for traditional) indicating that these students may be better prepared.
In the fully implemented redesigned sections, both retention and student success increased. Redesigned sections were those sections that implemented all components of the redesign and were taught by experienced redesign faculty.
During the 2002-2003 academic year, the students in the fully redesigned sections had a 68.4% (N=768) success rate compared to 60.7% (N = 2164, p = 0.002) for the “traditional” sections. Success rates were higher for all groups of students regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability, or original placement. The overall success rate for all composition students, excluding dual enrolled students at high schools, was 62% for the 2002-2003 year compared to 56% for the 1999-2000 year reported in the initial proposal. This 6% increase in success represented a 13.6% decrease in the DWF rate.
Other Impacts on Students
Faculty members and administrators observed that students in the redesigned sections were more actively engaged in the learning process. They assumed a greater share of the responsibility for their learning, were engaged in a multiplicity of tasks, were more independent and self-sufficient as learners, and were more adept at collaborative processes.
The use of the discussion board to express ideas and opinions as well as provide exposure to other students’ writing provided several important opportunities for students. These included opportunities to develop critical thinking skills and opportunities to experience and evaluate a wide range of writing samples, which helped them to assess their own progress.
Writing Center staff reported that when students came for help, they were better able to articulate their needs and showed greater depth of understanding in relation to the writing process.
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