How Student Note-taking May Affect Outcomes in a College-level Course

As mentioned in the previous post, Crawford published an article about some of the first empirical studies in student note-taking. The bibliographic information for the article is:

Crawford, C. C. (1925). Some experimental studies of the results of student note-taking. Journal of Educational Research , 12 (5), 379-386.

To be perfectly honest, I found the Procedure section of this article tremendously difficult to follow, which likely affected my understanding of the study; however, the Summary/Conclusion section was a little better.  The study consisted of 7 experiments. The first 3 experiments tested students right away after the lecture and the last 4 tested students a week later, allowing for a review of the notes: (I) in this experiment, students listened to a lecture then took a 20-minute traditional quiz on the content; some of the students took notes and some did not, (II) in this experiment, students listened to a lecture and took a traditional quiz and a true-false quiz; again, some of the students took notes and some did not, (III) this experiment was similar to experiment II, but the testing was even more comprehensive, (IV), in this experiment, students with notes were tested a week later and allowed to review their notes for 5 minutes before the test while other students took the test without any review, (V) students were tested to compare taking notes with review and listening-only with no review, (VI) & (VII) experiments compared note-taking in live-lecture and text reading lecture courses.

In most cases, note-takers did better on the quiz than non note-takers, with a slight advantage of non note-takers on true/false questions only where the testing occurred immediately after the lecture. It was also found that the value of a student’s notes was more pronounced in the delayed-testing situations than in the immediate-testing experiments, quality of notes affects outcomes, and students score higher on a quiz when the class is lecture-based when compared to only reading the text.

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