The Effects of Reflective and Reflexive writing prompts on Students' Self-Regulation and Academic Performance
Author(s)Burner, Kerry Jean
Preservice Teacher Preparation
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AbstractThe study investigated the effect writing prompts designed to elicit reflection on short-term, academic goals have on participants’ self-regulated learning strategies and on their academic performance, and it investigated the effect writing prompts designed to elicit reflexive thinking about future-oriented, career goals have on participants’ self-regulated learning strategies and on their academic performance. Academic performance was measured using two skills test and the overall final grade for the course. Seventy-nine undergraduate students, all pre-service teachers, in four sections of an educational technology course participated in the study. All four sections of the course were hybrid and were taught from a common syllabus. They participated in the Journal Project, which asked them to respond to a series of four prompts over a period of eight weeks, then complete an exit survey and the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Each of the four sections was assigned, in tact, to one of four sets of journaling prompts: reflexive prompts only, reflective prompts only, both prompts, and no prompts. The results of the pre-planned data analysis revealed that the group receiving only the reflective prompts performed significantly better on the final grade score than the group receiving only the reflexive prompts. This finding did not support any of the hypothesis, but it does confirm that reflective prompts can have a positive effect on student performance. A posteriori analysis revealed four more findings of significance, specifically on the Excel test, the extrinsic goal orientation, rehearsal, and organization subscales of the MSLQ. Again the reflection prompt only group was significantly higher on the Excel test, the rehearsal subscale, and the organization subscale as compared to the both prompt group, the no prompt group, and the no-prompt and reflexive groups, respectively. On the extrinsic goal orientation subscale, however, the significant difference was between the no prompt group and the reflexive group with the reflexive group being significantly less extrinsically motivated than the no prompt group. The findings of the study support the literature on the positive effect reflection, especially reflective journaling, can have on outcomes. In contrast, however, the role of reflexivity was not shown to have an effect in this study. It is recommended that future research should consider changes to the Journal Project architecture and course selection to better map the possible effect and role of reflexive thinking in learning and instruction.