Can Students Learn to Use Textbooks Effectively?
Can a class assignment covering the reading help students do better in an introductory chemistry class for nonmajors? Two sections of the same course have been compared where one section had a reading assignment that "forced" the students to interact with the text while the other class had the typical homework, quiz assignments, and discussion posts. Both groups took 3 exams and the final exam. A t-test compared the means for each exam, the final exam, and the overall class average. The mean was higher for the group that had the reading assignment in each case. The mean for the class was 71.3% versus 66.7% (p value = 0.050). The mean for exam 1 was 73.0% versus 60.5% (p = 0.052). The mean for exam 2 was 73.3% versus 67.5% (p = 0.225). The mean for exam 3 was 76.9% versus 62.4% (p = 0.044). The final exam was 56.6% versus 55.3% (p = 0.445). The implication may be that students do not understand how to study or what is involved in effective studying. When reading the text is incentivized as an assignment, more students seemed to interact with the text, and more were likely to succeed in the class. This paper examines how interacting with the text for a class supports comprehension.