Comparing the effect of cooperative exams on student learning between an interactive lecture and a student-centered class

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Halligan, Theresa
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Cinzia Cervato
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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

The Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences offers majors in three areas: Geology (traditional, environmental, or hydrogeology, for work as a surveyor or in mineral exploration), Meteorology (studies in global atmosphere, weather technology, and modeling for work as a meteorologist), and Earth Sciences (interdisciplinary mixture of geology, meteorology, and other natural sciences, with option of teacher-licensure).

The Department of Geology and Mining was founded in 1898. In 1902 its name changed to the Department of Geology. In 1965 its name changed to the Department of Earth Science. In 1977 its name changed to the Department of Earth Sciences. In 1989 its name changed to the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences.

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  • Department of Geology and Mining (1898-1902)
  • Department of Geology (1902-1965)
  • Department of Earth Science (1965-1977)
  • Department of Earth Sciences (1977-1989)

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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

In the 1960’s education research began to shift from behavioral learning theories to cognitive learning theories. This shift was driven by psychologists like Dewey, Piaget, and Vygotsky. Students were viewed as active participants in the learning process rather than passive learners. Research switched to how cognitive learning theories could be applied to education of students. This was the birth of active pedagogy. Current research is focused on comparing different active pedagogies. Recent research on student-centered classes and two-stage cooperative exams have shown positive effects in many fields. However, there is limited research on the effect in large (>100), introductory geology courses. This study is focused on the effect of changing from an interactive to a student-centered class with two-stage cooperative exams used in both settings. Students in consecutive fall semesters taught by the same professor were taught in an interactive pedagogy and then a student-centered pedagogy. Four exams were administered in each semester and kept the same between semesters for comparison. The student-centered class had significantly higher final grades compared to the interactive class. Within the student-centered class, male and STEM majors had significantly higher grades compared with female and non-STEM majors. Both classes show an increase in the retention of material from the first exam to the final exam. The student-centered class had significant improvement in normalized change scores from the beginning to the end of the semester and compared with the interactive class.

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Wed May 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019