After grading lab reports the instructor conducted

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After grading lab reports, the instructor conducted one-on-one lab report feedback sessions with students to discuss the lab reports’ strength s and areas for improvement. Results from the direct measurement (the lab report scores) and indirect measurement (student survey and focus group) are presented below. 4.1 Lab report scores Figure 2 shows the average score changes on five categories of lab report grading. Average report scores from Lab 1 is the lowest of all. This result suggests that students do not have clear understanding of the genre features of lab reports in engineering. They also had lack of information on the instructor’s specific expectation for lab reports. After having their first one-on-one session, the average scores went up with Lab 2 reports. This increase performance in lab-report writing clearly shows an upward trend culminating in Lab 6. Figure 2. Average scores of each lab report
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Overall, students showed clear improvement on the knowledge of writing conventions and style even as early as Lab 2. However, students seem to struggle on invention and development, which required conducting research and bringing ideas and arguments. The improvement in lab-report writing from Lab 1 to Lab 6 a s exhibited by one students’ work, Micah (pseudonym), is representative of the above results. In his first lab report, Micah demonstrated a clear understanding of the lab content (experimental design and lab research), yet only adequate understanding of purpose and support in his lab report. As well, his first lab report demonstrates an appropriation of genre conventions, overall organization, and documentation and style. In particular, it includes all required subheadings within the lab report introduction, procedure, results and discussion, conclusion, and references), but sections are under-developed. For example, while he includes an introduction that provides context for the lab, he does not make explicit the significance and/or purpose of the lab experiments scientific contribution. In contrast, his final lab report for the semester (Lab 6) demonstrates improvement in all areas, a move from “adequate” to “successful” demonstration of purpose and support, genre conventions, organization, and documentation and style. Specifically, Lab 6 shows more sophisticated placement and use of tables and figures in that he better situates the visuals within his text and goes into more detailed analysis and explanation of the importance of the data collected in the visual representations. 4.2 Student survey results During the last week of instruction, all students were given an anonymous survey with eight questions regarding their perceptions on writing in engineering and effectiveness of pedagogical tools used for the class. Table 3 presents the questions and the average scores and standard deviation from the student surveys that were conducted: Table 3. Questions, average scores, and standard deviations from student survey.
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