Converse College (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 6594-6601
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Throughout their career, college students must interact with a variety of written texts. Many college students, however, find it difficult to utilize reading as an effective learning tool. A number of educators have successfully incorporated textbook annotations as an effective and efficient study strategy for college students. However, students do not use this strategy without reinforcement (Clump et al. 2004). An annotation is defined as “a writing to learn strategy which helps readers to reach a deeper level of engagement and promotes active reading” (Porter-O’Danielle, 2004). Therefore, the purpose of annotations is to encourage students to make connections between content of the text and their own ideas, knowledge, belief systems and life experiences. Students are encouraged to make historical connections, make contrary positions, draw illustrations, use emotions and humor while they interact with the text. In this paper we report the use of textbook annotations as an assessment tool in university level biology and psychology courses. In the first study, we evaluated 39 major (biology) and non-major college students enrolled in two introductory biology courses for the quality and consistency of their textbook annotations. Students in these classes differed in age and educational background. In both class ¾ of the students consisted of traditional students (ages 18-22) and ¼ of the students were non-traditional students, returning to college after taking a 10-15 year break from school after completing their high school education. Non-traditional students completed textbook annotation assignment more consistently and with higher quality when compared to traditional students. Pre-test/post-test comparison of the data showed a positive correlation between the increase in students’ learning and quality and consistency of textbook annotations. In our second study we incorporated annotations into two General Psychology classes each of which had 27 participants. These classes were similar in age and years of undergraduate study completed. Annotation assignments were required, but extra credit was given for participation in the study. The two classes alternated annotation assignments; Class A did annotations for tests 1 and 3, Class B did annotations for tests 2 and 4. The short-term effects of annotations were observed by comparing test performance for those who completed annotations versus those who did not. Long-term effects were observed by comparing performance on a cumulative final exam. Our findings showed that students who completed annotations performed better in their tests and final exam (i.e., questions on the final that were covered in chapters that were annotated). The improved performance for those who completed annotations, relative to those who did not complete annotations, increased as a function of the time gap between testing and when the material was covered in class. In conclusion, the two studies reported here indicate that textbook annotations can serve as an effective study aid strategy.
Annotation, active reading, textbook annotation, learning strategies, educational research.