Gender Differences in Taking Class Notes

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Over at the Legal Skills Prof Blog, James B. Levy (Nova) blogged (here) earlier this summer about this dissertation by Lindsay Reddington (Columbia, PhD.): Gender Difference Variables Predicting Expertise in Lecture Note-Taking.  Here is the abstract:

Lecture note-taking is an important study strategy used by a majority of college students to record important information presented in class. Research suggests that there may be gender differences in note-taking and test taking. However, previous research on lecture note-taking has only examined gender differences, or used gender as an anecdotal variable, in post-hoc analyses. This is the first dissertation to investigate gender differences in lecture note-taking directly. More specifically, the primary purpose of this dissertation was to determine if gender differences in lecture note-taking exist, and if they do, to examine the cognitive and motivational variables that might explain them. A second purpose was to determine if there might be gender related differences in test performance. This research is an extension of research on lecture note-taking expertise (Peverly, Ramaswamy, Brown, Sumowski, Alidoost, & Garner, 2007), in which a reanalysis of their data found that females wrote faster than males, had higher quality notes, higher semantic retrieval scores, and performed better on written recall of the lecture (Reddington et al., 2006). A sample of 139 undergraduate students took notes from a prerecorded lecture, and were later allowed to review their notes before taking a test of written recall. The independent variables included transcription fluency, working memory, verbal ability, conscientiousness, and goal orientation. The dependent variables were note quality and written recall. All procedures were group administered. Results indicated that females recorded more information in notes and recall than males. Females also performed significantly better on measures of transcription fluency, working memory, verbal ability, and conscientiousness. Note quality was significantly predicted by verbal ability, gender, and the gender x verbal ability interaction, while written recall was significantly predicted by transcription fluency, mastery goal orientation, and the gender x conscientiousness interaction. Future research should continue to focus on examining potential gender differences associated with note-taking and test performance.

H/T Jill Gross.

-Bridget Crawford

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