92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012
The Offering of Prizes for Student Performance in a Weather Forecasting Activity in a Large Service Course: Does It Improve Student Performance ?
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Elizabeth J. Suess, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA; and W. A. Gallus Jr. and C. Cervato

Prior studies of the 200 or more students taking the Introduction to Meteorology course each spring at Iowa State University (e.g., Cervato et al., EOS, 90, 175-176, 2009) have shown that better performance in a required forecasting activity known as the Dynamic Weather Forecaster (DWF) is related to improved performance in the class as a whole. Students who begin forecasting early and submit more than the required 25 forecasts overall perform better in the class than students who start forecasting later in the semester or submit just the required number of forecasts. More recently, data from spring 2010 showed that forecasting skills only improve during the first few forecasts for these students, and plateau at a level roughly equal to persistence. Thus, these students do not show as much improvement as those studied in prior works that examined upper-level meteorology majors (e.g., Bond and Mass, Wea. and Forecasting, 24, 1141-1148, 2009). New data has been collected from spring 2011 to determine if the same trends existed with a different class, and to study whether the awarding of a prize, in this case bonus points, to the best forecasters altered the trends found in the 2010 sample. Psychological studies have shown that people tend to respond well to contests, and our study will examine if the contest aspects added to the activity resulted in more improvement in student forecasting skill.

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