This workshop presented data on four recent interventions in STEM courses at WashU and encouraged participants to discuss the implications for their own teaching. The four interventions are outlined below and include links to references and websites with further information:

  1. Re-quizzing Students in an Introductory Biology Course
  2. Exam Wrappers in Psychology Courses
  3. Peer-led Team Learning (PLTL) across Student Characteristics and Time
  4. Social Belonging Intervention in STEM Courses


Re-quizzing Students in an Introductory Biology Course

Presented by: Elise Walck-Shannon

The goal of this project was to increase structure within the course by introducing re-quizzing as a formative assessment, or an assessment used to monitor the progress of students’ learning. By giving this type of assessment, it allowed the instructor to evaluate if the students are well-aligned to expectations and provides an opportunity to make adjustments if not aligned. It was found that in an introductory Biology course at WashU, there were benefits to re-quizzing students when controlling for preparation and it may be a particularly helpful tool for assisting students who have previously struggled with coursework in a similar format (however, the same students were not as likely to take advantage of this low-stakes assignment).

Resources Related to Re-quizzing:


Exam Wrappers in Psychology Courses

Presented by: Shaina Rowell

Previous research has shown that students can benefit from guidance on how to overcome obstacles related to studying. Exam wrappers are short assignments given to students after reviewing previous exams that encourages students to formulate specific strategies for improving future exam performance. Results from the intervention suggested that in both introductory and upper-level psychology courses, exam wrappers can be a useful tool when students include specific, actionable plans they can follow through on.

Further Resources on Exam Wrappers:


Examining Peer-led Team Learning (PLTL) Across Student Characteristics and Time

Presented by: Mike Cahill

PLTL has been shown to be an effective tool for students to improve learning in introductory STEM courses, but it appears to affect some groups of students differently. We discussed PLTL data from the past five years at WashU, in which we examined differences in exam performance based on race and gender and the interaction of these variables with PLTL.

Resources for WashU PLTL:


Social Belonging

Presented by: Angela Fink

For students, feeling that one belongs in college and in one’s major plays an important role in the transition from high school to college. Previous research has suggested that reducing belonging uncertainty in college students may improve student performance and retention. In this session, we presented data on the survey-based social belonging  study conducted at WashU in introductory chemistry courses.

Research on Social Belonging: