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Abstract

Prior research demonstrated that writing synopsis laboratory reports (succinct syntheses of the experiment, lecture, and readings) instead of traditional laboratory reports, did not influence student learning as measured by comprehensive exam scores. This study extended this research by investigating the impact of these lab report formats on student learning as measured by laboratory report scores. Fifty-six Iowa State University industrial technology students were randomized into one of two groups that were required to write five synopsis reports followed by four traditional reports or vice-versa. The analysis of mean laboratory report scores using the paired-samples t-test revealed no significant difference between treatments. The analysis of the mean scores of the nine individual laboratory reports using two-sample t-tests revealed no treatment effect for seven of the nine reports. The results of an exit survey revealed that students believed the synopsis format helped them to achieve higher grades on their laboratory reports.

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