Encouraging Self-study Outside Class by Incorporating High-stakes Writing

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2022)
Title: Encouraging Self-study Outside Class by Incorporating High-stakes Writing
Stream: Assessment Theories & Methodologies
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Usman Khalid, United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates


Self-study and completing assigned readings are critical components of independent learning. However, at almost all levels of higher education, students often fail to complete their assigned readings mainly due to lack of time and motivation because they think that it probably does not affect their grades. I observed such behavior in an optional course taught to final-year students. After teaching the course for two years, I found that students fail to complete required readings as they are too busy working on their dissertation, and consequently, learning outcomes are not achieved. To this end, I introduced a teaching activity that linked reading with a high-stakes writing assignment. The students were required to write an essay based on the readings and then present it to the class in groups of two, coupled with the group critically analyzing the work of another group. This activity aimed to motivate students to read more, increase their class participation and enable them to be independent learners. Overall, the implementation of the teaching activity was satisfactory as it managed to achieve the intended outcome, although there was a large variation in the quality of essays and presentations. The average mark for presentation was 66.5, with a standard deviation of 9.6, and the average mark on the essay was 65.75, with a large standard deviation of 11.8 marks. Student feedback on the activity indicated that it motivated students to learn and improve their grades. The activity can be further enhanced based on students' feedback and my own observation.

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