Paper No. 25
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


GILLEY, Brett Hollis, Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia, Room 2020, Earth Sciences Building, 2207 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada and CLARKSTON, Bridgette, Life Sciences, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada,

A collaborative exam (a.k.a. two stage exam, group exam, or team-based testing), is a format where students complete the same exam, or a portion of it, twice, first individually then in a small group of 3-5 students. Learning through collaboration, even in a testing situation, has many benefits involving peer-to-peer interactions. Empirically, collaborative exams are reported to improve student learning as indicated by increased test scores compared to tests written individually. However, to the best of our knowledge, no study to date comparing collaborative testing with traditional individual testing has adequately controlled for the additional “time on task” in collaborative testing where the students are exposed to the same questions twice. In this study, our goal was to determine if collaborative testing increased students’ retention of course material during a three-week accelerated undergraduate Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences course for non-majors at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Collaborative testing was done as two separate midterms at the end of week 1 and week 2, with post-test retention assessed individually with pop-quizzes three days following each midterm (before students had a chance to restudy the material). Our experimental design took care to compensate for “time on task” criticisms of earlier studies and will be discussed. Our results from the post-tests indicate student retention was increased significantly when tested collaboratively (Midterm 1: ”no collaboration” mean score=68.6% + 2.06 SE; “collaboration” mean score =77.7% + 1.69 n=71. Midterm 2: ”no collaboration” mean score=70.4% +2.33 SE; “collaboration” mean score = 79.2% + 2.35, n=71. Our poster will discuss important features of collaborative testing that we believe are important for increasing student retention.