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Investigation of the Effects of Flipped Instruction on Student Exam Performance, Motivation and Perceptions

  • Author(s): He, Wenliang
  • Advisor(s): Farkas, George
  • et al.
Abstract

The goal of this dissertation is to investigate the effects of flipped instruction on student exam performance, motivation, and perceptions. Flipped instruction was implemented in three consecutive years in the same introductory chemistry course taught by the same instructor. Surveys were delivered to measure out-of-class study time, student motivation, perceived instruction clarity and quality. Our studies have consistently shown that flipped instruction did not appreciably increase students’ overall study time outside the classroom. It only causes a shift in student workload. Our first study shows that flipped instruction had a small and statistically significant effect on student final exam performance with no marked interaction effect. Student responses to the flipped pedagogy was distinctly lukewarm with about one fifth of the students showing polarized feelings. Non-compliance with pre-class study was found to be a serious implementation issue, which might lead to the small treatment effect and absence of interaction. Giving assignments and quizzes associated with each video effectively reduced non-compliance, as shown by the second study. However, technological failures in class seemed to result in flipped students consistently rating the class to be of lower quality. Accordingly, flipped students were shown to underperform their control counterparts. Moreover, second-year students and females benefit more from flipped instruction. The variety of issues exposed during the first two years prompted us to reflect upon the resilience of traditional lectures, where its simplicity might be its greatest virtue. We therefore caution against over-reliance on complex technologies or teaching techniques. Finally, with non-compliance and technology failures solved, the third study adopted a softer approach to introducing flipped instruction by periodically adjusting the balance between lecturing and active learning components. Although the results showed no treatment effect on student final exam performance, students from the flipped section who enrolled into a subsequent course outperformed their control counterparts in post-course grade. Moreover, students with lower high school GPA to start with benefited more from the flipped pedagogy. Collectively speaking, it is advisable that flipped instructors in first-year introductory courses should start simple and be cautious of deviating from traditional lectures too much too fast.

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