This is a general assignment given prior to discussing a paper in class. Students are asked to read a particular literature paper, and then fill out the template giving the citation information of the paper and: three (3) new things they learned from the paper, two (2) questions that reading the paper raised for them or left unanswered, and one (1) reference cited by the paper that the student thinks is worth reading and why. The assignment helps seed the discussion prior to class, and gives the instructor some information about specific details to discuss to fill in gaps in the students' knowledge.
1) Critically read and understand a peer-reviewed paper.
2) Determine and locate relevant references for improved comprehension of the paper.
3) Correctly cite journal articles in a selected style.
I employ this assignment multiple times over the course of a semester, and generally use a Google Doc template via Classroom to assign a clean copy to each student and they must complete by the night before the class discussion. I can then read through their responses, and adjust my discussion points to ensure that I address the questions students have. For citation purposes I typically require ACS citation style but this can be adjusted as desired by the instructor.
The initial evaluation is one of completion: did each student read the paper and complete the 3-2-1 form? This provides a partial completion of learning goal 1. The understanding portion is assessed based on student responses.
Goal 1: Beginning - students list vocabulary terms or experimental techniques as their 3 things learned, or as questions about vocabulary in their 2 questions.
Developing - students focus on background information in their 3 things learned, and ask questions relating to background knowledge.
Mastering - students focus on discoveries made by the authors in their 3 things learned, and ask questions about methodology or data interpretation.
Goal 2: Beginning - students highlight a general type of reference to aid comprehension, but fail to select a specific reference from within the paper.
Developing - students select general references for vocabulary or experimental reasons.
Mastering - students select a specific reference that is linked to one or more of the questions listed in their 2 questions section.
Goal 3: Beginning - students have some citation information for either the assigned paper or the reference chosen in the 1 reference section.
Developing - students correctly cite either the assigned paper (in the header) or the reference chosen in the 1 reference section.
Mastering - students correctly cite both the assigned paper (in the header) as well as the reference chosen in the 1 reference section.
I have used this assignment in two upper-level courses over a total of four semesters. The first time it is used in a class, students generally fall into the Beginning or Developing sections focusing on unknown vocabulary or getting bogged down in Experimental sections of papers (even though they are usually told to ignore those sections). Initial citations are also frequently not a specific reference cited in the paper or students typically provide just the reference number. This is still useful as it points out gaps in student knowledge that I would otherwise have assumed did not exist.
As the semester progresses, there is a clearly visible shift in student responses. The 3 Things Learned switch to data and discoveries by the authors of the paper. The 2 questions quickly shift to requesting explanations of standard (but advanced) analysis methods employed, and frequently are explicitly connected to the reference worth chasing as students key in on the papers that should be able to answer their questions.
Ironically, coaching students into correctly employing ACS citation standards becomes the most challenging piece as no more than half of the students will take the time to type out the information and properly format it.