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The effect of the use of expected time-on-task indicators on the behaviour of high school physics students with respect to homework assignments

Mulder, Harmen (2014) The effect of the use of expected time-on-task indicators on the behaviour of high school physics students with respect to homework assignments.

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Abstract:A lot of students do not make their homework. The hypothesis is that this can be caused by the fact that students do not know how much time is required for making the homework assignments. To answer this hypothesis, the following question was addressed: what is the effect of the use of expected time-on-task indicators (ETI‟s) on the performance p and time-on-task tt of students with respect to homework assignments in the context of high school physics classes? This study is meant as an investigation of how to set up a proper research that can answer the question above. For that reason, this report will not answer the question above, but can be seen as a basis for follow-up research, which should be performed on a larger number of students. First experiments were performed and analysed to test the working of the chosen method and materials. Furthermore, a student survey was taken and teachers were asked for their opinion to provide input and recommendations for follow-up research. A qualitative analysis of the different measurements approaches based on several criteria showed that using computer exercises was the best measurement approach. Furthermore, analysis of different computer programs resulted in using the computer program ProProfs during this study. Two classes, one 4 havo (higher general secondary education) class and one 5 vwo (pre-university education) class, were given homework sessions with these computer program during a period of 8 weeks. Sometimes unrealistically high values of tt were measured with ProProfs. This might be caused by the fact that students started a homework sessions and continued and finished it later on without closing the program in between. Therefore, the time perception was also measured. If the difference between time perception and tt was too high, these measurement values could be excluded from the analysis. The influence of ETI‟s on tt an p were measured using two different methods. Because of the analysis time, Method 2, in which students were ascribed to two fixed groups (experimental and control group), was preferred above Method 1, in which the ascription of the students to one of the two groups was done randomly every week, resulting in different students in the two groups every week. However, from experiments with both Method 1 and 2 it was found that only a small amount of students made the homework via the computer. Therefore, it is important to let students also make homework without ETI for multiple times before the experiment, such that it can be used as a reliable reference for tt. Moreover, the students have to see the homework as a habit and therefore make it. This is very important for follow-up research which should be performed to obtain a larger amount of data, because the data obtained in this research is not enough to draw any conclusions on the effect of ETI‟s on the p and tt of students with respect to homework assignments in the context of high school physics classes. The homework sessions that were made, were not always made very seriously by the students. Therefore, it is important that teachers check the student answers. Homework sessions that were made by for example only filling in question marks, should be excluded from analysis. To prevent that students will do this again, the teacher should talk to the student about this and possibly give the student an alternative and similar homework session. Furthermore, the given ETI was not always corresponding to the tt of the students, also because of the large spread in tt of the students. This arises the question if it would not be good to use ETI‟s dependent per student. However, ETI‟s per student would in practice hardly feasible, unless smart software is used for it. On the other hand, the general ETI‟s can still be used by the student as an estimate, when students perceive that the ETI‟s of previous homework sessions are not realistic for them. To minimize the error, at least short homework sessions of maximum 30 minutes should be made with an ETI based on teacher experience. From the student survey, it was concluded that providing the homework via the student email was not the best way, because students were hardly using it. Furthermore, 62% of the students did not notice the ETI in the homework. Therefore, the notification of the ETI should be improved, by for example providing the ETI in the message to the students and not in the homework itself. Consequently, the students can see the ETI before they decide to make the homework or not and therefore can result in bigger differences between the control and experimental group. Alternatively, an ETI in the form of a progress bar can be used to increase that change of students noticing the ETI. The most important result from the student survey was that 79% of the students indicate that having an ETI on their homework is pleasant. Additionally, 34% of the students indicate that they would make the homework sooner if it was provide with an ETI. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to further investigate the effect of the use of ETI‟s on the behaviour of students with respect to homework assignments in the context of high school physics classes.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Science Education and Communication MSc (60708)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/66490
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