Michael Wade, MBA, CPA
Lecturer, College of Business, School of Accountancy
Principles of Financial Accounting
Realizing that some of his Accounting 201 students were not taking the time to do the assigned reading, Michael Wade resolved to help those students take more responsibility for their own learning. Educator Mark Taylor has written extensively about today's generation of college students (whom he characterizes as "Gen NeXt"), and Taylor recommends strongly that college instructors require their students to "bring content to class" so that they "can spend class time working with the application and meaning of the information." Taylor argues that class time is too valuable to spend delivering content in traditional lectures and should be spent applying, evaluating, or synthesizing material. Wade's students needed to "read to learn," so he looked for a way to "increase their level of concern and motivation in completing each assigned reading." In trying to motivate his students to complete reading assignments before class, Wade was asking his students to "bring content" to class so that he could use class time to give those students the opportunity to focus on higher-level skills.
Whether out of fear of failing the quiz or a new zest for learning, I could tell they came to class better prepared. It was not the increased quiz scores that brought me to that conclusion. It was the explanations of why they selected the answer. Anyone can guess and select the correct answer, but it takes real knowledge to explain why three answers were not selected.
Initially inspired by Bloom's taxonomy, Wade began to search for a way to help his students move from simply "remembering" what they had read to being able to "evaluate" the material. He developed a classroom assessment technique, which he calls "Read, Review, Quiz, and Discussion (R2DQ)." Using R2DQ, students are told to complete the assigned reading before class. Then in class, they take a short multiple-choice quiz worth ten points. The quiz consists of ten questions, but students are required to answer the question and to explain why they have chosen a specific answer. After students complete the quiz, the R2DQ process ends with class discussion of the same material students have read to prepare for class.
Taking the quiz prods students to read and retain information, but the instruction to explain one's answer is designed to deepen the students' understanding of the material. Wade reports that grades on quizzes moved from an average of 57.8% to an average of 91.4% after R2DQ. The average exam score increased from 74.17% to 88.1%. However, the overall improvement in the class went beyond quiz and test scores! Wade describes the review and discussion session after each session as enlivened: "I can feel the energy from the learners."