Abstract

The agricultural workplace increasingly consists of teams built to complete sophisticated tasks. One key ingredient in team success is that group members have experience working in teams. Most in-class course work involves individual tasks that do not provide students a chance to work in teams. Given such an opportunity, however, little is known how in-class group work affects student learning as measured by homework and exam performance. We use the performance on several types of in-class group exercises in addition to student ratings of group participation to examine how individual students fare in the class. Regression analysis provides a control for the demographic and academic characteristics of the students. Results indicate group participation helps homework performance but not exam performance. We suppose this is the case because homework can be done in groups, but exams cannot, although it is regrettable that positive group engagement is not found to translate into better performance on individual tasks. Strong performance on quantitative group exercise questions similar to exam questions improves exam performance, but performing well on in-class group exercises unrelated to the exam questions does not improve exam performance and can even be negatively correlated with exam performance.

 

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