How much are students actually learning in our classes? The best predictor of a student’s final exam grade is how much content knowledge they had coming in. This prior knowledge can be assessed with a pre-test, allowing instructors to adjust the course based on what students already know or don’t know. The instructor can use the pre-test scores to create student groups that are either heterogeneous (for cooperative learning) or homogeneous (for differentiated instruction) with respect to content background at the start of term. A curriculum designer wishing to compare learning gains for different teaching tools such as cooperative learning could assess sections of the same class using different curricula with the same test.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/rebecca_teed/30/