Revel educator study examines student performance and engagement at Rowan Cabarrus Community College

EDUCATOR STUDY

Revel educator study examines student performance and engagement at Rowan Cabarrus Community College

Key Findings

  • Students who had higher Revel scores also had higher average exam scores.
  • 90 percent of student survey respondents reported that Revel kept them more engaged in the content of the course.
  • Students who had higher Revel scores also had higher overall course grades.
  • 95 percent of student survey respondents reported that Revel helped them to be better prepared for class.

School name
Rowan Cabarrus Community College, Concord, NC

Course name
American History I

Course format
Face to face

Course materials
Revel for Out of Many: A History of the American People by Faragher et al.

Timeframe
Fall 2016

Educator
Sherylle Smith, Instructor

Results reported by
Stephanie Fritson, Pearson Customer Outcomes Analytics Manager

Setting

Rowan Cabarrus Community College educates more than 20,000 students annually across seven campuses in Rowan and Cabarrus counties of North Carolina. Of the 20,000 students served by Rowan Cabarrus each year, approximately 5,200 are enrolled in credit courses. Thirty-four percent of credit enrolled students attend Rowan Cabarrus full-time. Sixty-two percent of students enrolled at Rowan Cabarrus are female. Students who identify themselves as Caucasion comprise 65 percent of the student population. During the 2015–2016 academic year, 100 percent of students enrolled at Rowan Cabarrus were residents of the state of North Carolina. Retention rates for credit enrolled first-time students are 44 percent for full-time students and 33 percent for part-time students. Rowan Cabarrus’ overall graduation rate is 14 percent and the transfer-out rate is 32 percent.

About the Course

Sherylle Smith is an instructor at Rowan Cabarrus, teaching American History I and II, along with World History I and II in online, face to face, and hybrid formats. American History I (HIS-131-352) is a three credit survey of American history course covering pre-history through the Civil War era. Topics include the migrations to the Americas, the colonial and revolutionary periods, the development of the Republic, and the Civil War. During fall of 2016 the course met in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour and fifteen minutes each day.

The course is a Universal General Education Transfer Component course that is guaranteed to transfer for general education equivalency credit to each of the 16 institutions in the University of North Carolina system. Upon completion, students should be able to analyze significant political, socioeconomic, and cultural developments in early American history.  

Challenges and Goals

Prior to implementing Revel in her course, Smith had used Pearson’s MyLab History for several years. She elected to move to Revel because the MyLab History content was no longer mapped directly to the text she was using and she believed fewer students were reading the material and coming to class prepared.  Smith aimed to increase student preparedness for class and engagement with the course content through implementing Revel. Another goal of Smith’s Revel implementation was to use the built-in quizzing and comprehension checks to prepare students for the higher stakes unit exams. Smith further hoped that integrating Revel with Blackboard would eliminate access issues and increase ease of use for students.  

Implementation

Smith implemented Revel in a flipped classroom approach to learning where students read the material before class and then participated in classroom activities to enrich understanding of the concepts covered in the text.  Revel access was automatically purchased through a ‘materials fee’ when students paid the course tuition. Students were provided an access code used through Blackboard to enroll in the Revel the course and the majority of students successfully accessed Revel on the first day of the semester.

In order to ensure that students completed the reading and arrived at class prepared, Revel assignments comprised 35 percent of the overall course grade. Smith initially allowed smart phones and tablets in the classroom for students to access Revel during class time, but due to students using technology devices for social media and other distractions she decided to ban device use during class sessions. Students were required to purchase the loose leaf textbook so they could have access to a text in class without a technology device. The loose leaf facilitated their ability to reference the text in class discussions and activities.

Assigned Revel readings, module quizzes, and chapter quizzes were due prior to 10:00 a.m. the day the material was covered in class. A total of 16 Revel chapters (Chapters 2 and 14 were omitted) were assigned with students completing the chapter and module quizzes within each chapter to prepare for class discussion and the multi-chapter unit exams. Students were allowed three attempts on each Revel quiz question to encourage mastery of the material. Smith believes when students are allowed multiple attempts at a question, rather than missing a question on the first attempt and moving on, they are more likely to go back and complete the reading and learn the material.

In addition to the Revel assignments, three multi-chapter unit exams, a final exam, a group project, and research and writing assignments were also included in the course final grade. The unit and final exams were created using the test bank for the text.

Assessments

  • 40%     Unit exams (3) and final exam
  • 35%     Revel assignments
  • 15%     Group project
  • 10%     Research and writing assignments

Results and Data

Smith aimed to utilize Revel quizzes to prepare students for the unit exams. The correlation between average points earned on Revel assignments and average unit exam score was strong (r(22)=.68, p<.001 [figure 1]). In addition, a very strong correlation was found between the average points earned on Revel assignments and final course grade (r(22)=.93, p<.001 [figure 2]). It should be noted that Revel assignments made up 35 percent of the final course grade, thereby influencing this relationship.

Average Revel score correlated with average exam score

Figure 1. Correlation between Average Revel Score and Average Exam Score, Fall 2016 (n=22)

Average Revel score correlated with final course grade

Figure 2. Correlation between Average Revel Score and Final Course Score, Fall 2016 (n=22)

Smith implemented Revel with the goal of increased student preparedness. On a voluntary end-of-semester survey with a 95 percent student response rate, 95 percent of students agreed or strongly agreed that Revel made them better prepared for class (figure 3).

Student survey: Revel has made me better prepared for class

Figure 3. Student End-of-semester Survey Responses on Class Preparedness (n=21)

Increasing student engagement with the course material was another goal of Smith’s Revel implementation. On the same survey, 90 percent of respondents (95 percent student response rate) agreed or strongly agreed that Revel kept them more engaged in the content of the class.

Student survey: Revel has kept me more engaged in the content for my course

Figure 4. Student End-of-semester Survey Responses on Student Engagement (n=21)

The Student Experience

As previously noted, students completed a voluntary, end-of-semester survey (95 percent response rate) providing valuable insight on their experience using Revel.

  • 100 percent of student respondents reported they were able to log in to Revel the first week of class.
  • 100 percent of student respondents rated their experience with Revel as easy or extremely easy to use.
  • 100 percent of student respondents rated their overall experience with Revel as good or excellent.
  • 100 percent of student respondents strongly agreed or agreed Revel gave them more confidence to learn effectively on their own.
  • 86 percent of student respondents strongly agreed or agreed they would recommend their instructor use Revel for other courses.
  • 81 percent of student respondents strongly agreed or agreed that Revel made class discussions more interesting.
  • 81 percent of student respondents strongly agreed or agreed Revel was a good value for the money.

Student survey comments regarding their Revel experience:

  • “AMAZING.”
  • “A perfect app that will keep you updated”
  • “Easy, simple and efficient”
  • “Cool learning program”
  • “Revel is useful because the textbook, homework, and quizzes are all on there.”
  • “It helped me get through the semester successfully.”

Conclusion

Smith chose to use Revel in American History I with the goal of increasing student preparedness for class and engagement with the course material. She also wanted to provide her students with a streamlined, easy to use technology experience and to utilize Revel quizzing to better prepare students for assessments. Student survey results indicate 95 percent of respondents strongly agreed or agreed that Revel made them more prepared for class and 90 percent strongly agreed or agreed that Revel kept them more engaged in the course content, while 100 percent of respondents strongly agreed or agreed they were able to log in to Revel the first week of class and Revel was easy to use. A strong correlation between average Revel scores and average unit exam scores was found, along with a very strong correlation between average Revel scores and final grades in the course. Instructor Smith plans to continue using Revel integrated with Blackboard and moved to an access code free model for the spring 2017 semester where students gained immediate access to Revel through the Blackboard course.

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