Targeting Conceptual Understanding: How to Improve Learning and Course Retention in Research Methods Courses
Journal of Political Science Education
clickers, course retention, Research methods
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. In the summer of 2015, I conducted a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) experiment in my quantitative methods for political science class. The experiment tested if, during instruction, asking conceptual questions improved student learning more than asking recall questions. This article provides evidence that instruction with conceptual questions leads to better performance on daily quizzes, but not better performance on the course final. The teaching methods of this course led to an improved retention rate, where zero students dropped the course (in a course that historically has the highest drop rate in the major). I argue that the mechanisms that lead to these successes are higher student metacognition, an enhanced ability for the instructor to identify student misconceptions, improved class discussion, and an improved growth mindset for all students.
Combes, Nathan J., "Targeting Conceptual Understanding: How to Improve Learning and Course Retention in Research Methods Courses" (2019). Faculty Bibliography. 2759.