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  • Writer's pictureSarah Hoyt

Formative Feedback in STEM Boosts Student Performance

Updated: Nov 8, 2018

Formative Feedback in STEM Boosts Student Performance

One of the main goals of JTFD was to investigate the impact of integrating active learning strategies into STEM classrooms. Dr. Stephen Krause reflected on his own undergraduate learning experience and realized that the lecture-based coursework in which he had participated had done little to motivate him in the classroom. This reflection led to 2 essential inquiries that became keystones of the JTFD project: "How am I preparing my students for life outside of the classroom? How do I know if they are learning anything?"

After engaging in extensive research in engineering education and implementing strategies into his own curriculum, Dr. Krause discovered that using formative feedback through the integration of Muddiest Points not only improved his persistence rates in his Materials classes, but it also reduced the number of Muddiest Points he encountered in the classroom. Muddiest Points were designed by Professor Frederick Mostellar as a way to identify concepts that students felt lacked clarity (hence the name). Once Dr. Krause began asking students which concepts were difficult, he began to address those concepts in video tutorials he designed and uploaded for student view. Asking students to identify gaps in their learning not only allowed students to form metacognitive ideas about their learning process, but it also gave Dr. Krause an opportunity to scaffold some of the more fundamental concepts outside of the class so they could focus on the course learning outcomes.

Since Dr. Krause implemented Muddiest Points videos into his curriculum in 2012, his videos have been viewed more than 1.4 million times. The takeaway here is that STEM faculty can relatively easily identify pain points for students through formative feedback and provide clarification for them using sound pedagogical methods that engage students and create a more student-centered learning environment.

For more information on formative feedback, please visit our publication and workshop resources pages.

#activelearning #formativefeedback #muddiestpoints #JTFD #studentcentered #pedagogy #STEM #highered #ASU #FSE

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