Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Kirkland, Brenda E.

Committee Member

Dewey, Christopher

Committee Member

Dyer, Jamie

Committee Member

Lynch, F. Leo

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


A study was conducted to determine the effects of directed discovery-based teaching methods (hands-on learning) and weekly quizzes on short-term learning and long-term retention of course material in an introductory geosciences laboratory course. Assessment of learning was accomplished using percentages of correct responses to questions on two tests, using percentages from the first semester of the study as a baseline to which data from each subsequent semester were compared to determine the effects of the study variable that was introduced. Student evaluations of value, meaning, and enjoyment of the course were also investigated through the use of an essay question at the end of the second test. The study revealed that directed discovery-based methods were successful for the teaching of some subject material, but not for all, and that the method did not necessarily enhance learning of scientific vocabulary. Weekly quizzes resulted in improved learning in all subject areas. Simultaneous use of traditional and directed-discovery teaching methods as well as weekly quizzes is recommended.