Analysis of this Semester’s Meta Activities

Here is my analysis of the meta activities for my experimental intro course this semester. You can compare this with last semester’s results. The results remain depressing.

Abstract Metas:
* Nearly 60% failed to participate (59% submitted 0-1 of 8 assignments; indeed, 43% submitted none). This is roughly the same as during the Fall semester
* About a fifth participated moderately (21% submitted 2-5/8 times). This is a reduction relative to the Fall semester.
* Only 15% participated regularly (6-7/8 times). This is an increase.

Of the forty per cent who participated in the abstract meta activities, somewhat fewer participated moderately, while somewhat more participated regularly.

On-line Quizzes:
* Nearly 60% failed to participate (58% submitted 0-3 of 14 quizzes). This in an increase relative to the Fall semester.
* About 26% participated moderately (submitting 4-9/14 quizzes). This is a reduction.
* Only 14% participated regularly (11+/14 quizzes). This is another reduction.

Many more students chose not to do the on-line quizzes this term, making the participation comparable to that of the abstract metas.

To investigate why so few participated during the Spring semester I surveyed those who didn’t. The response rate was about 50%. (Some students gave more than one reason.)

4 responses: I didn’t do them because they weren’t required.
3 responses: I didn’t have enough time to do them, given my workload.
3 responses: I felt I could learn the material better by studying in other ways.

3 responses: The metas were difficult/I didn’t understand how to do them.
2 responses: The interactive quizzes were confusing since they contained material not used in the course and it was hard to identify that material.

< The complete responses are available here.>

This entry was posted in Teaching and Learning, The Experiment. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Analysis of this Semester’s Meta Activities

  1. Gardner says:

    Utterly fascinating.

    It occurs to me that these accounts are narratives. They tell the story of how these students think of themselves in this (or possibly any) educational environment. The challenge, I think, is to change the narrative.

    Mischievous comment: where do students learn these narratives about school, if not from teachers and the institution itself?

  2. Steve says:

    Gardner remarked, “The challenge, I think, is to change the narrative.” Isn’t that the truth?

    I think that if it’s possible, it will have to start with the freshman year. As I’ve observed before, first year students appear to expect something different than high school. So why don’t we give it to them?

  3. Steve, I agree. My own experience is that many students appear reluctant to engage in any reflective activity unless it’s mandatory/grade-bearing, even though it may be good for them and their future performance (and we tell them so!). The real value of metacognition depends first on recognising the need for, and value of, such processes, and I think it’s here that we need to win over our students…

    PS See you at DEE in a couple of weeks (where my paper has a sub-title along the lines of “you can lead a horse to water…”)!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *