85th AMS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 11 January 2005: 12:00 PM
An assessment of the added value of a written course project in a general meteorology course
Kenneth E. Parsons, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ; and A. Beck and P. McElwain
Poster PDF (80.4 kB)
In this paper, two nearly identical general meteorology courses are evaluated. One course is taught in the traditional fashion with lectures and multiple choice progress and final exams. The second course is taught in somewhat the same fashion with the exception that a course project is added to the mix of teaching/learning approaches. This project requires the student to collect weather data, and then in a written document, the student must summarize, present, analyze, and evaluate the coherency, interrelationship, and accuracy of the data and data sources.

To evaluate the contribution of the course project to student learning, test scores from before (pre-test) and after (post-test) the project assignment were compared using a t test statistical analysis. The course without the written project assignment showed significant improvement in student scores from the pre-test to post-test. The course with the written project assignment showed no significant improvement in student test scores. Contrary to other similar studies, the written assignment apparently did not aid student learning. The conclusions presented in this paper suggest the hypothesis that learning was occurring that was not documented in the test scores and proposes areas where that learning may have occurred. Further research focusing on improving the course project as well as formally quantifying its contribution to student learning will serve to validate or invalidate these hypotheses.

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