Using Written and Oral Communication of Field Trips to Enhance Student Learning in an Introductory Plant Science Class

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Agriculture programs include students who have never visited agriculture operations and who do not understand the relationships of this industry with society. To correct this deficiency field trips were incorporated into the lab section of an introductory plant science class and lab reports were used to assess student learning. In the written reports at least 94% of students scored a strong rating (8O-90%) on five criteria which assessed the presentation of the ideas and sentence mechanics. Eighty to eighty-five percent received a strong rating on three criteria which assessed subject content and required low levels of cognitive skill in knowledge and comprehension while 52% scored a strong rating on the higher cognitive skill criterion which assessed the relationships between plant industries and society. A student survey indicated that this latter criterion was the most difficult part of the written report. However, all students were successful in making these linkages in the oral cooperative discussions. Students' scores averaged 89% on the field trip reports, 79% on lab and 78% on the course. Eighty-nine percent of students earned a grade of C (70%) or better, an irnprovement of 10% over the previous class.



written and oral communication, field trips, plant science course

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