Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Inside the Teaching Professor - Collaborative Testing

by guest blogger Tim Deines

A recent article in The Teaching Professor suggests that collaborative learning can be an effective pedagogical strategy. Drawing on the work of Giuliodori, et al, the article, “Getting to the Right Answer in Collaborative Testing,” affirms that collaborative learning has always been at the heart of scientific advancement. “Why then,” ask researchers, “do we discourage collaboration by telling our students to ‘keep your eyes on your own paper’” (qtd. in “Getting to the Right Answer” 2)?

Still, faculty worry about how collaborative testing and learning affect student testing performance. What is the relative impact of well-performing and poorly-performing students on the collaborating group, for example? Faculty may ask, “Are the smart students making the decision for the rest of the group” (“Getting to the Right Answer” 2)?

Giuliodori’s research, which sampled the individual and group testing behavior of 65 vet students, found that having the right answer was more important than being a “high-performing” student. Students of all performance levels were usually able to convince fellow students through discussion that their answers were the correct ones.

This data challenges the assumption that we learn best on our own. Giuliodori’s findings suggest that there may be a need for a pedagogical paradigm shift in how we teach and test.

Stop by the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) to read the entire article!

Reference: “Getting to the Right Answer in Collaborative Testing” (2015) The Teaching Professor, 29.8 (October), 2-5.