VALUE Research Hub

The Benefits of Peer Review and a Multisemester Capstone Writing Series on Inquiry and Analysis Skills in an Undergraduate Thesis

Citation

Weaver, K. F., Morales, V., Nelson, M., Weaver, P. F., Toledo, A., & Godde, K. (2016). The Benefits of Peer Review and a Multisemester Capstone Writing Series on Inquiry and Analysis Skills in an Undergraduate Thesis. CBE - Life Sciences Education, 15(4). https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-01-0072

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between the introduction of a four-course writing-intensive capstone series and improvement in inquiry and analysis skills of biology senior undergraduates. To measure the impact of the multicourse write-to-learn and peer-review pedagogy on student performance, we used a modified Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education rubric for Inquiry and Analysis and Written Communication to score senior research theses from 2006 to 2008 (pretreatment) and 2009 to 2013 (intervention). A Fisher-Freeman-Halton test and a two-sample Student's t test were used to evaluate individual rubric dimensions and composite rubric scores, respectively, and a randomized complete block design analysis of variance was carried out on composite scores to examine the impact of the intervention across ethnicity, legacy (e.g., first-generation status), and research laboratory. The results show an increase in student performance in rubric scoring categories most closely associated with science literacy and critical-thinking skills, in addition to gains in students' writing abilities.

Themes: Biology, Content Area Writing, Course Descriptions, Curriculum Design, Inquiry, Intervention, Peer Evaluation, Pretests Posttests, Scoring rubrics, Skill development, Theses, Undergraduate Students, Writing Achievement, Writing Instruction, Writing Skills