Revel educator study examines continued success and retention rates at Coastal Bend College

EDUCATOR STUDY

 

Revel educator study examines continued success and retention rates at Coastal Bend College

 

Key Findings

  • Success rates (grades of A,B,C) increased from 71.8 percent prior to the implementation of REVEL to an average of 87.2 percent after REVEL was implemented.
  • Retention rates (percent of students completing the course) increased from 89.3 percent prior to the implementation of REVEL to an average of 97.5 percent after REVEL was implemented.
  • On a pre-semester survey (prior to using Revel), 23 percent of student survey respondents reported that in the past they often or very often attended class without having read the textbook, but only 11 percent of the same group of respondents reported they attended class without having completed Revel reading often or very often for the course in which they used Revel.
  • 92 percent of student survey respondents reported using what they learned from REVEL assignments to complete a writing assignment very often, often, or sometimes.
  • 84 percent of student survey respondents reported that they were confident or very confident in their ability to think critically and analytically after using Revel.

School name
Coastal Bend College, Alice, TX

Course name
US History Since 1865

Course format
Face to face

Course materials
Revel™ for American Stories: A History of the United States by Brands

Timeframe
Fall 2014 through Summer 2016

Educator
J. Karl Clark, Professor

Results reported by
Stephanie Fritson, Pearson Customer Outcomes Analytics Manager

Setting

Coastal Bend College is a public community college serving a diverse South Texas area. Many students come from low socio-economic backgrounds and work at least part-time in addition to taking classes. It is a rural community where a large number of students live off campus and have long commutes to class. Not all students have high speed internet access at home.

About the Course

In order to understand the events of today’s world, knowledge of the past is essential. This course (US History Since 1865) focuses on United States history since the Civil War and is designed to meet the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s core objectives, including critical thinking skills, communication skills, social responsibility, and personal responsibility. The course is taken by a wide range of majors. Distance education sections often include dual-enrollment high school students.

Challenges and Goals

Professor Clark believes students should read the textbook prior to class to understand the necessary basic information presented. During class, the role of the instructor is to elaborate on the material presented in the text, while helping students to critically evaluate the information presented. For this learning process to work, students must read and understand the concepts from the text prior to class, Clark believes it is imperative for students to possess the skills of reading comprehension and critical thinking to succeed beyond college. Prior to implementing Revel in his course, Clark found that his students were not reading the textbook before class and therefore were not prepared to actively participate in course activities and discussions. Many students also lacked the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to participate in meaningful discussions online or face-to face, which also negatively impacted course success and retention rates.

Clark implemented Revel with the goal of increasing students’ reading of the course material and  improving student success and retention rates in the course.  Because the information in Revel is broken down by learning objective, he believed it would encourage better comprehension since students read a little and are then presented with a video, a map, or a question, allowing them to stop and think about what they just read. He also hoped the increase in reading comprehension would lead to better discussions and help to improve students’ critical thinking and analytical skills.

Implementation

Prior to implementing Revel, Clark would ask students to read their textbook and then complete chapter quizzes within Blackboard which were worth 25 percent of the final course grade. After implementing Revel, he continued to assign the chapter readings, but replaced the BlackBoard quizzes with Revel module and chapter quizzes. REVEL assignments were due before each class so students arrived at class prepared to discuss the material. Clark allowed students up to three attempts per each Revel quiz question. Each question was worth three points and decreased by one point with each incorrect attempt. Clark found that with Revel, students could read, interact, and answer quiz questions tied to specific learning objectives, all in one place. In addition, because he could see how much time students spent on their reading assignments in REVEL, he could require the reading.

The course structure for all of Clark’s courses was identical , including face-to-face, hybrid, online, and distance education. Every week there was one lecture class and one discussion class. During the lecture Clark presented his notes and opinions, showed a video clip that presented another person’s interpretation, then students completed the reading in REVEL after the lecture class and encountered additional points of view. REVEL assignments were then due before the discussion class. On discussion day, Clark asked students to talk about the reading and share their personal points of view on the topics.  

After Clark’s initial implementation of Revel, he made a few minor adjustments to the course assignments and assessments. He increased Revel’s contribution to the final grade from 25 percent to 30 percent and also increased the value of attendance, participation, and class discussion from 15 percent to 20 percent. Clark eliminated one exam and decreased the contribution of exam scores to final grades by 10 percent.

Fall 2014, Summer 2015 Assessments

  • 50% 3 unit exams
  • 25% Revel
  • 15% Assignments (essay, discussion)
  • 10% Orientation activity

Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Summer 2016 Assessments

  • 40% Midterm and Final exams
  • 30% Revel
  • 20% Assignments (attendance, participation, discussion)
  • 10% Orientation activity

Results and Data

Clark aimed to improve student pass rates in the course by implementing Revel. Data analysis included in a previous study (Revel educator study examines success and retention rates at Coastal Bend College) indicated a significant improvement in pass rates subsequent to the implementation of Revel in the course. Academic success rates increased from 71.8 percent before the implementation of REVEL to an average of 86.7 percent after Revel was used through Summer 2015. From Fall 2015 through Summer 2016, course success rates improved to an average of 87.7 percent with continued use of Revel and modifications to the course (figure 1).

Course success rates Fall 2014 through Summer 2016

Figure 1. Success Rates without REVEL, Fall 2014 (n=131) vs. with REVEL, Fall 2014 (n=34); Spring 2015 (n=409); Summer 2015 (n=139); Fall 2015 (n=172); Spring 2016 (n=516); Summer 2016 (n=108)

Clark also hoped to increase the retention rate in the course. Retention rate (or completion rate) is the percentage of students who completed the course and received a grade of A, B, C, D, or F. Incompletion rate is the percentage of students who do not complete the course and receive a W, Q, or I. In Clark’s 2015 study, retention rates were found to have increased significantly from 89.3 percent before the implementation of Revel to an average of 97.5 percent after REVEL implementation, and through Summer 2016, to 97.7 percent with continued use of Revel and minor course adjustments (figure 2).

Course retention rates Fall 2014 through Summer 2016

Figure 2. Retention Rates without REVEL; Fall 2014 (n=131) vs. with REVEL; Fall 2014 (n=34); Spring 2015 (n=409); Summer 2015 (n=139); Fall 2015 (n=172); Spring 2016 (n=516); Summer 2016 (n=108)

In addition, Revel was implemented in the course to ensure students were reading the assigned material prior to class. Fall 2015 students were asked to complete pre- and post-course surveys to share their feedback on how REVEL impacted their learning. On the pre-course survey (91 percent response rate), 23 percent of students responded very often or often to the item: During the past semester, how often have you attended class without having read the textbook. Following the use of Revel in the course, 11 percent of students reported attending class without having read the Revel assignment often or very often (77 percent response rate).

Student pre and post course survey responses for attending class without reading

Figure 3. Student pre and post course survey responses for attending class without reading, Fall 2015 Pre Course Survey (n=156), Post Course Survey (n=132)

The Student Experience

In Fall 2015, 77 percent of students enrolled in History 1302 completed a voluntary, end-of-semester survey providing valuable insight on their experience using Revel in the course.

  • 93 percent of respondents reported completing Revel quizzes and assignments often or very often
  • 92 percent of respondents reported using what they learned from Revel assignments to complete a writing assignment very often, often, or sometimes.
  • 84 percent of respondents reported that they were confident or very confident in their ability to think critically and analytically after using Revel.
  • 72 percent of respondents reported that they were confident or very confident to speak clearly and effectively during class.
  • 81 percent percent of respondents reported that they were confident or very confident to learn effectively on their own.

Student survey comments regarding their Revel experience:

  • “I liked using Revel way better than using the actual book because it narrows down the amount of pages and targets exactly what I need to learn.”
  • Revel has shorter chapters, that make it easier for students to understand.”
  • “I think it’s a lot better than spending more on a book. When you are trying to multitask it reads it to you which also is very beneficial for us students.”
  • “I found it much easier than reading a textbook.”
  • “It was awesome!”
  • “Revel impacted my learning by having me think critically.”
  • “Revel has taken the information required to learn for this course and put it into a more simplistic form, easier for college students to learn. ”
  • “I was able to learn on my own time and able to understand things more clearly when a video was followed by some reading.”

Conclusion

Clark chose to implement Revel in History 1302 with the goal of increasing course success and retention rates. He also aimed to increase the number of students coming to class having read the material and prepared for discussion. Finally, he hoped to improve students’ critical thinking skills. Clark’s initial analysis of course success and retention rates showed significant improvement in both metrics. Course success and retention rates continued to improve after slight course modifications and remain stable after seven semesters of Revel use. Clark is able to use the Performance Dashboard to monitor student reading and ensure students are coming to class prepared. In addition, a 12 percent decrease in students who reported attending class without having read the material was found on Fall 2015 pre- and post-course surveys. Clark has also observed improved critical thinking and discussion from his students, with 84 percent of student respondents on the Fall 2015 post-course survey reporting being confident or very confident in their ability to think critically and analytically after using Revel. Clark continues to use Revel in his courses and plans to make adjustments as necessary moving forward in order to ensure continued success.