198855 Random group- versus student choice group-assignment in a collaborative testing environment

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:15 AM

Christopher A. Meseke, PhD , Academic Affairs, Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida, Port Orange, FL
Jamie K. Meseke, MSM , Graduate Studies, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN
Rita Nafziger, MBA , Center for teaching and learning, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, IA
Introduction: With the increased focus on student preparation for high stakes licensure exams, there has been an increased interest in the use of alternate forms of content delivery and assessment. This interest has focused on those factors within the learning environment which may impact a student's course performance and program progress. This project investigated the effect group determination on student performance in a neuroanatomy course within a collaborative testing environment.

Methods: Using a quasi-experimental design, course performance of two cohorts (cohort one: random grouping=77, cohort two: student choice grouping=39) were compared. All students completed weekly quizzes (90 points total) within collaborative groups, while completing unit exams (120 points) and the final exam (60 points) individually. During the last week of the quarter, students completed an attitude survey regarding the collaborative testing paradigm.

Results: Overall, the two groups differed on the assessments (Wilk's Lambda=0.169; F=51.249; df=10,104; p<0.001), with the random groups scoring significantly greater on all assessments than the student-choice group (p<0.05, with the exception of unit examination 1). The groups did not significantly differ on the attitude survey (Wilk's Lambda=0.890; F=0.745; df=9,54; p>0.05).

Conclusions: While both groups of students opined the collaborative testing paradigm was a valuable learning tool, students in the random groups scored higher than those in the student-choice group. We believe that the very nature of random groups forced the students to be proficient in whole of the material while students allowed to choose their groups may divide the material amongst themselves and not become individually proficient.

Learning Objectives:
Compare and contrast methods of group assignments for assessments in the basic science classroom.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Several years and published manuscripts on the topic of collaborative testing
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.