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Lab questioning strategies

1 June 1998


The purpose of this study was to find questioning strategies that bring out student performance. In addressing this question I investigated the cognitive level, location, and order of questions. The three cognition levels I used were "Science Process Skill" (Germann, Haskins, & Auls, 1996), Level of Distancing (Sigel, 1984), and Bloom's Taxonomy (1956). The study took place in a suburban high school in the Greater Portland Area in Oregon. The students were juniors and seniors in their third quarter of Physics. Information was gathered through classroom correspondence, laboratory worksheets, and laboratory write-ups. After my investigation of various questioning strategies, I have found various questioning methods that produce results. For example, low cognitive level questions are fairly easy for the students except when they are dealing with quantities that are less common such as radians instead of degrees. Surprisingly, high level questions were not as difficult as the medium level questions. Students seemed to understand what was being asked of them in the higher level questions. Yet, the middle level questions usually came after a series of very low-level data acquisition. The jump from repetitive tasks to thinking was difficult. Another possible reason for the amount of questions students asked was the clarity and complexity of the questions. When asked more than one question at a time, the students usually responded to only one. The students also seemed to be confused when their experiment did not line up with the step-by-step directions. The order of questions and location of questions presented only a few findings. When low level questions were asked right before middle to high cognitive level questions, students had difficulty. Other than that the order did not make much of a difference. When the location of the questions were analyzed, two items were found to be significant. The first is when there were not any questions asked after the lab; the students did not have an opportunity to combine what they had learned. The second is that when questions were located in the middle, the students seemed to have fewer problems manipulating their apparatus.


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