The first test in General Chemistry has been graded. The test assessed similar topics to the first test from the Spring 2014 semester except for the addition of naming. The overall average from the Spring 2014 class was a 60%. The Fall 2014 class average on Test 1 is a 76%. Unbelievable! However, I prefer not to look at overall class averages because the student population changes each semester. Examining the student average in terms of High School Class rank (top 1/3, middle 1/3, and bottom 1/3) gives a better indication of achievement/success in different learning environments.
Here’s a look at the data:
|Class Rank||Fall 2014 Test 1 Average||Spring 2014 Test 1 Average|
The highest achieving students (top 1/3 of their graduating high school class) in the Fall 2014 class were almost 20% more successful on Test 1 than in the Spring 2014 class. The middle achievers (middle 1/3 of their graduating HS class) were 23% in the Fall 2014 class more successful on Test 1 than in the Spring 2014 class. Students whose class rank were not given (mostly non-traditional students) were 15% more successful this semester. Interestingly, those students graduating in the bottom 1/3 of their high school class were not more or less successful this semester versus in the Spring 2014 semester.
What is different?
I believe asking students to take notes using the Cornell Note-taking method is the main reason students are much more successful in this semester’s flipped class. From past observations and student comments, many students did not take notes, or did not know how to take good notes, or simply did not watch the vodcasts.
Another difference is that students are working in groups of four in class with tables in a square arrangement. In past iterations of the flipped class, the learning space was in rows. This group arrangement is conducive to peer instruction. I am also encouraging them to teach each other by showing data that indicates deeper learning when students explain concepts and help each other with problem solving. Many of my students are making a conscientious effort to teach each other. As a result, the students have formed a learning community with me as the facilitator. The learning community is positive because there are mature students in this class who take responsibility for their learning.
What to do with the lowest achieving student?
Students graduating in the bottom third of their high school class show no difference in achievement in a flipped class with implemented self-regulation tools. Ironically, these students have not submitted their Cornell notes. Even with the self-regulation tools as a requirement, positive classroom environment, and peer instruction, students with little motivation in high school are not likely to change their habits or self-efficacy in college. Not surprising.
The flipped classroom with Cornell Notes promotes a significantly higher level of success amongst higher achievers (students graduating in the top and middle third of their high school class). Overall, the implementation of Cornell notes and group learning space has increased the Test 1 average by 16%. I deem this a success!!