Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Choice engages students

From a new study at the University of Texas, students who have a say on what assignment to complete are more engaged. I think that is something that many teachers know, but don't realize how valuable it can be for student engagement.

Giving Students a Say May Spur Engagement and Achievement:

"Call it DIY differentiated learning: A new study at the University of Texas at Austin suggests students are more invested and learn more when they get a say in class assignments.

In one group, students were assigned one of two homework assignments that were in different modes but covered 'essentially identical content,' Ms. Patall said. In the other group, students were allowed to choose which of the two assignments to complete. For each homework option chosen, a similar student in the 'no-choice' group would be assigned the same homework to create matched pairs.

Two weeks later, in the following unit, the two groups were switched, with students who chose being assigned homework and the assigned students getting a choice of the next two homework options.

'When students were given choices, they reported feeling more interested in their homework, felt more confident about their homework and they scored higher on their unit tests,' Ms. Patall told me. Students who chose their assignments also turned them in more often, but this finding was not significant."

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