The effect of personalized feedback on the ability of students to overcome misconceptions in a project-based science curriculum
Wolfe, Amanda M.
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A large part of a science teacher's role is in both helping students understand concepts, as well as helping students address common science misconceptions through a variety of means. Students in a blended-learning environment independently demonstrate mastery of content through online assessments, while teachers assist students in developing specific academic skills through project-based learning. In a blended-learning environment, a science teacher's role becomes morphed. A teacher in this learning paradigm may not be the first point of contact for new material as students learn at their own pace. Special care must be taken to monitor student misconceptions and plan interventions that support conceptual change. One of the main roles of a project-based teacher is giving feedback to students. The purpose of this research was to assess the effectiveness of the feedback and revision process in helping students identify and overcome misconceptions in their modeling skills in a project-based curriculum. The research included the evaluation of student attitudes and perceptions of feedback through pre-project and post-project surveys. Student concept attainment and the ability to overcome misconceptions was assessed through pre- and post-surveys which focused on content as well as the comparison of draft models of a climate change in a bottle experiment and final draft models after students received feedback from teachers. Further data was gathered through student interviews about feedback and the process of addressing their misconceptions. Results of the experiment indicate that feedback is effective in helping students overcome misconceptions regardless of the type of feedback, either brief or detailed.