Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions

Michelle Smith, William Wood, Wendy Adams, Carl Wieman, Jenny Knight, Nancy Guild, and Tin Tin Su, Science, Vol. 323 no. 5910, pp. 122-124 (2009).
When students answer an in-class conceptual question individually using clickers, discuss it with their neighbors, and then revote on the same question, the percentage of correct answers typically increases. To test whether this was truly due to increased understanding, the researchers followed the exercise with an isomorphic question that students answered individually. Their results indicate that peer discussion enhances understanding, even when none of the students in a discussion group originally knows the correct answer.

Instructors: Clicker Research
Science Education Specialists