February 5th, 2014

A Follow-up to the Group Testing Article


The January 15 post on group testing generated a nice collection of comments, more interesting alternatives, and requests for references.

What I was looking for in the literature to use as a reference I didn’t find—a definitive why-to/how-to article on group testing that laid out the educational rationale for using the approach (justified with research) and followed with an overview of the various options. If you know of such a resource, please direct us to it. Otherwise, someone, please write it.

Most of the options I highlighted in that post have been used by more than one teacher and in more than one study. As a result, the references below serve as examples of different collaborative testing approaches that deserve our consideration. The majority of the articles are not in open access publications, but I suspect copies can be obtained through interlibrary loan programs if your institution doesn’t have its own subscription.

Pandey, C., and Kapitanoff, S. “The Influence of Anxiety and Quality of Interaction on Collaborative Test Performance.” Active Learning in Higher Education, 2011, 12 (3), 163-174.

In this study, students come to class prepared for each of the six quizzes used in the course because they don’t know before class if they will be taking the quiz individually or with a partner.
Abstract: http://alh.sagepub.com/content/12/3/163.abstract

Hoke, M. M., and Robbins, L. K. “The Impact of Active Learning on Nursing Students’ Clinical Successes.” Journal of Holistic Nursing, 2005, 23 (3), 348-355.
Students first do the quiz individually and then have a period of time during which they can collaborate on those test questions they can’t answer or aren’t sure they’ve answered correctly. After this collaboration, students may change answers on their quiz, which is graded individually.
Abstract: http://jhn.sagepub.com/content/23/3/348.abstract

Kapitanoff, S. H. “Collaborative Testing: Cognitive and Interpersonal Processes Related to Enhanced Test Performance.” Active Learning in Higher Education, 2009, 10 (1), 56-70.
In this study, each student completed a 50-question multiple-choice test and a 15-question short-answer test. That was followed by a period during which students collaborated on 20 of the exam questions selected by the teacher, they then submitted their answers as a group.
Abstract: http://alh.sagepub.com/content/10/1/56.abstract

Sroug, M. C., Miller, H. B., Witherow, D. S., and Carson, S. “Assessment of a Novel Group-Centered Testing Scheme in an Upper-Level Undergraduate Molecular Biotechnology Course. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 2013, 41 (4), 232-241.
In this model, the collaboration occurred first. In groups, students prepared a written response to a take-home essay question. Immediately after submitting their collective responses, students took a multiple choice exam individually. Content covered in both exams was the same, but the questions were different.
Abstract: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bmb.20701/abstract

Clinton, B. D., and Kohlmeyer III, J. M. “The Effects of Group Quizzes on Performance and Motivation to Learn.” Journal of Accounting Education, 2005, 23 (2), 96-116.
Here individual quiz grades were averaged with the group quiz score. The approach was used to encourage a serious discussion of the quiz questions during the group interaction.
Abstract: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0748575105000321

Rao, S. P., Collins, H. L., and DiCarlo, S. E. “Collaborative Testing Enhances Student Learning.” Advances in Physiology Education, 2002, 26 (1), 37-41.

Individual quiz scores and the group score were combined here as well, but using a weighted formula with 80% of the grade determined by the individual quiz score and 20% by the group score.
Full text: http://advan.physiology.org/content/26/1/37.full

Slusser, S. R., and Erickson, R. J. “Group Quizzes: An Extension of the Collaborative Learning Process.” Teaching Sociology, 2006, 34 (July), 249-262.

In some group testing models, group grades are used, and here’s one such example. In this case, students first took a reading quiz individually, they then collaborated in a group, after which individual answers could be adjusted. One randomly selected quiz from each group was selected and graded, with that score recorded for each group member.
Abstract: http://tso.sagepub.com/content/34/3/249.abstract

Russo, A., and Warren, S. H. “Collaborative Test Taking.” College Teaching, 1999, 47 (1), 18-20.
In this English course, students got to choose whether they collaborated with others on the test in this very open, whole class collaboration model. Although some faculty worry that collaboration will inflate exam scores, that didn’t occur in these courses. However, research evidence is somewhat mixed on this point and most of it documents a modest increase in scores.
Abstract: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87567559909596072#preview

  • Idee Winfield

    You might also find our research helpful. Here is one of the articles from Academic Exchange Quarterly

  • auja

    You might also find my dissertation about implementing collaborative tests online interesting http://iase-web.org/documents/dissertations/12.Bj

  • Neil Haave

    The teaching strategy, team-based learning:

    Michaelsen LK, Knight AB, Fink LD (eds). 2004. Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Sterling (VA): Stylus Publishing.

    Michaelsen LK, Sweet M, Parmelee DX (eds). 2008. Team-based learning: small-group learning’s next big step. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 116: 1-104.

    has collaborative testing built into its system and uses the IF-AT cards that were indicated in a comment to the previous post http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-pro

    The concerns over social loafing are mitigated by i) having students write the quiz/exam first as individuals and having that mark count toward their individual grade, and ii) establishing stable teams at the beginning of the course enabling peer assessment of team-mates' contribution to the group work.

    As others have indicated, I have found that the level of engagement by students increases considerably in the classroom when students are given the chance to collaborate on their quizzes, provided they have been held accountable for their own individual preparation through the initial individual quiz.

    And, yes, the team marks are typically higher than the individual marks (good thing in my opinion!) but their influence on grade inflation may be taken into account by not assigning a large percentage of the course grade to the team quiz. You can think of the team marks as a participation mark and assign its percentage contribution to the final grade accordingly..