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We investigated whether use of an adaptive-responsive online homework system (OHS) that tailors homework to students’ prior knowledge and periodically reassesses students to promote learning through practice retrieval has inherent advantages over traditional-responsive online homework. A quasi-experimental cohort control post-test-only design with nonequivalent groups and propensity scores with nearest neighbor matching (n = 6,114 pairs) was used. The adaptive system was found to increase the odds of a higher final letter grade for average, below average, and failing students. However, despite the learning advantages, students self-reported less favorable attitudes toward adaptive-responsive (3.15 of 5) relative to traditional-responsive OHS (3.31). Specific to the adaptive OHS, the following were found: (i) student attitudes were moderately and positively correlated (r = 0.36, p < 0.01) to final letter grade, (ii) most students (95%) reported engaging in remediation of incorrect responses, (iii) a majority of students (69%) reported changes in study habits, and (iv) students recognized the benefit of using adaptive OHS by ranking its assignments and explanations or review materials as two of the top three most useful course aspects contributing to perceived learning. Instructors can use our findings to inform their choice of online homework system for formative assessment of chemistry learning by weighing the benefits, disadvantages, and learning pedagogies of traditional-responsive versus adaptive-responsive systems.

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Richards-Babb M, Curtis R, Ratcliff B, Roy A, Mikalik T. General Chemistry Student Attitudes and Success with Use of Online Homework: Traditional-Responsive versus Adaptive-Responsive. Journal of Chemical Education. 2018;95(5):691-699. doi:10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00829