Stories: Take-Home Quizzes: Learning to Learn in Introductory Chemistry



Take-Home Quizzes: Learning to Learn in
 Introductory Chemistry
- by Holly Walter Kerby and
 Karen Anderson

Holly Walter Kerby Picture     Karen Anderson Picture

      "We developed Take-Home Quizzes (THQs) to help our students learn how to learn while working to master basic chemical concepts and computations. Our students learned more and were more invested in their learning when they worked on THQs in small groups."

Karen Anderson (pictured above on the right) and I teach a number of introductory chemistry courses at Madison Area Technical College, a two-year college that offers college transfer courses as well as degrees in over 100 vocational programs. Some of these chemistry courses are designed for students in specific allied health or technology programs; others provide a solid foundation for students who wish to transfer to a 4-year institution. All have small class sizes (25 to 50 students per lecture) and integrated laboratories.

Approximately 400 students enroll in introductory chemistry courses per semester. Many are capable and motivated, but lack the academic experience, confidence, and savvy to learn a technical subject like chemistry. We developed Take-Home Quizzes to give these students the structure and support they need to succeed in these courses.

Take-Home Quizzes (THQs) are based on the tenets of the Treisman-model workshop - that students learn best when working on challenging problems in small, supervised groups. We encouraged our students to work on THQ problems in small groups outside of class by offering 3 or 4 study sessions per week. These sessions were facilitated by an instructor or student tutor.

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