Student Achievement in an Introductory Biology Course: Assessing Grade Motivation and Study Log Metacognition

  • Gail P. Hollowell Department of Biology, North Carolina Central University, 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707, USA
  • Dwayne T. Brandon Department of Psychology, North Carolina Central University, 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707, USA
  • Wendy H. Grillo Department of Biology, North Carolina Central University, 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707, USA
Keywords: Biology, metacognition, student achievement, study log

Abstract

As college educators, our main teaching goals are to increase student learning and improve student retention.  This study describes how 54 science majors at a public, minority serv- ing institution reflected on their study time, study activities, and overall grade motivation in a core-curriculum introduc- tory biology course.  Since 2005, less than 50% of students enrolled in this course at our university earned a final grade of “C” or better.  In the Fall semester of 2009, we adminis- tered a pre and post assessment using the Science Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ) a 30-item Likert-type instrument devel- oped by Glynn and Koballa (2006) to better understand and address the student attrition from the introductory biology course.  All 30 items from the SMQ were analyzed, but only

5 items relevant to grade motivation are presented in this paper.  We also designed and implemented a weekly study log assessment tool for students to document their study time and study activities, wherein students submitted their study logs on a weekly basis during the course of this research study.   Based on the number of study logs submitted and study time by each student, students were classified into ei- ther a high-metacognition or low-metacognition group.  For our purposes, we defined metacognition as the awareness of one’s own thinking process (Merriam-Webster, 2012). The high-metacognition group submitted 75% of their study logs and earned a grade in the top 25% of the class.   The low- metacognition group submitted only 25% of their study logs and earned a grade in the bottom 25% of the class.   Thus both groups formed reasonable expectations for their overall class performance.

Published
2017-06-12
Section
ARTICLES