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When students can choose easy, medium, or hard homework problems Documents

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When students can choose easy, medium, or hard homework problems 

written by Raluca E. Teodorescu, Daniel T. Seaton, Caroline N. Cardamone, Saif Rayyan, Jonathan E. Abbott, Analia Barrantes, Andrew Pawl, and David E. Pritchard

We investigate student-chosen, multi-level homework in our Integrated Learning Environment for Mechanics built using the LON-CAPA open-source learning system. Multi-level refers to problems categorized as easy, medium, and hard. Problem levels were determined a priori based on the knowledge needed to solve them. We analyze these problems using three measures: time-per-problem, LON-CAPA difficulty, and item difficulty measured by item response theory. Our analysis of student behavior in this environment suggests that time-per-problem is strongly dependent on problem category, unlike either score-based measures. We also found trends in student choice of problems, overall effort, and efficiency across the student population. Allowing students choice in problem solving seems to improve their motivation; 70% of students worked additional problems for which no credit was given.

Published February 6, 2012
Last Modified April 24, 2012

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