QEP Year One: The impact of Team-Based Learning on Critical Thinking, Collaboration, and Persistence.

Ron Styron and Jessica Bonner
Academic Affairs, University of South Alabama

This study examined the impact on student-learning outcomes resulting from the first-year implementation of the USA Quality Enhancement Plan during the 2013-14 academic year.  Instructional strategies delivered during the implementation were centered on a collaborative pedagogical method called Team-Based Learning.  They included intentional selection of permanent student teams, a readiness assurance process including individual and team assessments, grade appeals, peer evaluation and application activities based on significant problems, the same problem, specific choice of solutions and simultaneous reporting. 

Participants included 49 instructors during the fall semester and 55 instructors during the spring semester.  Instructional strategies contained within Plan were delivered in 50 STEM/STEM-related courses and 20 non-STEM/STEM related courses during the fall, and 56 STEM/STEM-related courses during the spring and 20 non-STEM/STEM related courses during the spring.  Fall class enrollment consisted of 1513 students with a spring class enrollment of 1844 students. 

Assessments were aimed at measuring critical thinking, collaboration, engagement, and persistence through the establishment of base-line data.  Direct assessments were comprised of the Student Learning Outcome Target Mastery Report, the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, the Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness and the Teamwork Interaction Faculty Observation Report.  Indirect assessments were comprised of the Critical Thinking/Collaboration pre and post- tests, and faculty and student satisfaction surveys.  Assessments were administered during the semester and at the beginning and end of the semester. Additionally, persistence was determined by calculating QEP course withdrawal rates as compared to identical or similar non-QEP courses offered during the same semester.

Comparative and descriptive analysis of the initial findings indicated positive trends in all measures.  These finding along will be discussed along with year-two project modifications such as the use of iClickers, computer assisted tRATS and professional development created to ease the transitional burden on instructors when adopting Team-Based Learning.