Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

How best to develop students’ critical reflection skills?

Providing structure leads to faster development and greater performance.

Business Organization and Behavior

One goal in Le Roux’s Organization and Behavior course is to develop critical self-reflection skills. To help students practice and refine these skills, Le Roux implemented a regular assignment called an “exit ticket” at the end of class sessions. The exit ticket was a writing prompt, with or without specific guiding questions.  Le Roux was interested in how to best optimize skill development via exit tickets. To begin the Fall 2018 semester, Le Roux assigned exit tickets without any guided prompts to aid their responses (no scaffolding). For the Fall 2019 course, Le Roux assigned exit tickets with guided prompts (scaffolding). All exit tickets were scored for depth of critical reflection by instructors using a rubric.

When comparing exit ticket performance between semesters, the Fall 2019 students improved at a faster rate, and performed better overall, than the Fall 2018 students. In Fall 2019, students also performed better on higher-stakes, critical self-reflection essays, completed at the midpoint and end of the semester. Results suggest that providing guided questions for exit tickets is beneficial for both student development of critical reflection skills and their overall performance across the semester.

Le Roux Figure 1.

Figure 1. A mixed model revealed a significant interaction between semester (F18 vs F19) and time (class1-class12), b = .07, p < .01. Conditional effects show a significant positive slope over time for both F18, b = .04, p  <.01, and F19, b  = .11  , p < .01. Students also scored significantly higher during the first class in F19 compared to F18, b = 1.26, p < .01.

Dependent Variable: learning
Pedagogical Strategy: active learning
Study Design: category 2