Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Checking Grades Predicts Student Success

How often students check their grades online is the best way to predict how well they will do in a class, according to a report from Blackboard. The educational technology firm found that students who accessed its gradebook function were the most successful in a class, while those who never accessed their grades were more likely to fail.

“This surprised me, given that other tools (like assessments) directly and tangibly influence a student’s grade,” John Whitmer, director of analytics and research at Blackboard, wrote in a blog post about the study. “This is an independent behavioral measure and yet is a very strong predictor.”

The data came from spring 2016 courses that were filtered by size of class, average course time, and use of the online gradebook. The filtered results provided information on more than 600,000 students.

The research found that students spent most of their time on the learning management system to look at content. Surprisingly, those who spent more than the average amount of time on course content earned lower grades.

“Students who have mastered course materials can quickly answer questions; those who ponder over questions are more likely to be students who are struggling with the material,” Whitmer wrote. “The relationship is stronger in assessment than assignments because assessments measure all time spent in the assessment, whereas assignments don’t measure the offline time spent creating the material. Regardless, this trend of average time spent as the most frequent behavior of successful students is consistent across both tools, and is a markedly different relationship than is found in other tools.”

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