Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Camille Pedraja Vazquez, Robert W. Simmons, III, Ed.D.

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Use of Graphic Organizers versus Taking Notes in the Classroom

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The purpose of this action research was to investigate how the use of graphic organizers in U.S. government classrooms impact students’ understanding of the material and reflect in their assessment performance. The goals consisted of finding a strategy that helped students organize new content, to divide it in chunks in order to make it clearer, accessible, easy to review and revise for comprehension and assessments.

With 37 participants in the action research, all students received the same instruction over the course of five weeks. During the first two weeks, students took their own notes in class, and received a summative assessment at the end of the first week. During the other three weeks, students used graphic organizers in class, and received a summative assessment in the same format at the end of the second week. On the fifth week, students filled a questionnaire on their preference of keeping information through note taking or graphic organizers.

The results of this research study indicated a substantial improvement in scores of 43%, and a stable score of 35%, for an overall increase of 78%. In spite of these results, the majority of students, by a slight margin, preferred taking notes to using graphic organizers to chunk content, study and perform better on assessments.