Using Writing in Science Class to Understand and Activate Student Engagement and Self-Efficacy
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Contribution to Book
Active Learning in College Science
Joel J. Mintzes & Emily M. Walter
Writing is an active learning strategy strongly linked to student engagement. Student-authored learning narratives can reveal powerful self-beliefs that can either activate or inhibit success. In this targeted study of the aspect of student engagement most associated with self-beliefs (i.e., self-efficacy), students in separate sections of an introductory college biology course taught by the same professor were divided into experimental and control groups. The experimental group participated in an additional 1-unit required study skills component featuring writing-to-learn and self-efficacy development strategies. One hundred forty “pre” and “post” student self-efficacy narratives written in both cohorts were scored and also thematically coded. Scoring revealed a Cohen’s effect size d = 0.63 for the experimental group, but only d = 0.28 for control. Thus, writing appears to activate student self-efficacy most if it is part of a deliberate and sustained campaign. Gains seemed particularly impactful for struggling students, as the experimental group also saw significantly fewer students, with unmet fundamental skills, earning Ds and Fs in the course than those in the control group. Subsequent student interviews were also analyzed and informed recommendations for future research and pedagogical practice.
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Springer International Publishing
Biology | Education | Life Sciences | Science and Mathematics Education
Camfield, E. K.,
Miller, A. D.,
Land, K. M.
Using Writing in Science Class to Understand and Activate Student Engagement and Self-Efficacy.
In Joel J. Mintzes & Emily M. Walter (Eds.), Active Learning in College Science (89–105). Cham: Springer International Publishing