Collaboration or copying? Student behavior during two-phase exams with individual and team phases

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A poster presented on July 29/30 at the 2015 Physics Education Research Conference (PERC), associated with the Summer National Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT); College Park MD, Jul 29—30.

Abstract: In a two-phase exam, students take the exam twice: once individually, and a second time working in teams. Proponents hope that during the team phase, students will discuss, debate, and resolve questions by sharing their reasoning, challenging each other, and reaching consensus. Potential adopters fear that students might uncritically adopt the majority answer or mimic one dominant team member. To explore this empirically, we data-mined students’ solo- and team-phase responses from the final exams of three different introductory physics courses to construct multiple measures of team dynamics. Taken together, these substantiate the belief that teams do engage in meaningful debate and explore the virtues of various possible answers. The two-phase exam implementation used for this study is unusual in that it does not require teams to agree on a common answer, and allows students to signal uncertainty by “hedging their bets” for partial credit.

A PDF of the poster and the associated proceedings paper will be available on ComPADRE after the conference.