GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 145-10
Presentation Time: 10:40 AM


JONES, Jason P., Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695 and MCCONNELL, David A., Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695

Approximately a third of all US college students enroll as either part-time or full-time students in two-year colleges. Relative to their peers at four-year colleges and universities, these students are more likely to come from low-income households, represent the first generation in their family to attend college, and/or come from an underrepresented minority group. In addition, a larger proportion of these students do not complete their desired program of study. Many of these students find their way into introductory geology courses which may serve as their only exposure to college-level scientific reasoning. These two-year college (2YC) classes potentially represent an important opportunity to recruit and support a population of students that can both increase the diversity and overall enrollment in geoscience programs.

All students run the risk of making inaccurate judgments of their ability during a learning task. The ability to accurately self-assess is an important educational skill that is highly correlated to performance. We have investigated the relationship between student performance and perception accuracy in an introductory physical geology course at a large four-year research institution. We found that students who were more accurate in gauging their performance on questions earned higher exam scores than students who demonstrated lower accuracy. Students subsequently demonstrated gains in assessing their performance when provided with feedback related to their perception accuracy. We recently expanded this study to include students within a 2YC setting. We analyzed baseline student data collected during course exams in multiple sections of a physical geology course during the 2017 academic year at a regional community college. While noting variation in factors such as class size and teaching practices, the interpretation of results revealed a muted relationship between accuracy and performance. There was a normal variation in performance, yet higher performers were less accurate in assessing their performance and mean student confidence was lower than in their four-year counterparts. Targeted interventions designed to positively influence the learning process of 2YC students may therefore have the potential to yield even greater gains than in four-year universities.