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REVEL educator study examines student performance and engagement at California State University East Bay

Key Findings

  • Students who had higher REVEL scores also had higher overall course grades.
  • 94% of student survey respondents reported that REVEL made them better prepared for class.
  • Survey data suggest students believed REVEL enabled them to participate more in class discussions.

School name: California State University, East Bay, CA Course name: Human Development and Interaction Course format: Online Course materials: REVEL for Human Development: A Cultural Approach by Arnett Timeframe: Spring 2016 Educator: Carmen Davis, Instructor Results reported by: Stephanie Fritson, Pearson Customer Outcomes Analytics Manager


  • Locale: diverse, comprehensive, four-year college providing higher education programs on campuses in Hayward, Concord, and Oakland, CA
  • Enrollment: approximately 11,800 undergraduate students and 2,320 graduate students
  • Full-time undergraduate students: 83 percent
  • In-state students: 94 percent
  • Student–faculty ratio: 24:1
  • Full-time retention rate: 80 percent
  • Overall graduation rate: 45 percent
  • Gender: 61 percent female
  • Ethnicity/race: 84 percent minority
  • Academic Calendar: Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer quarters consisting of 10 week sessions

About the Course

Carmen Davis is a lecturer at California State University East Bay (CSUEB), teaching several ten-week, online sections of Human Development and Interaction (HDEV 3800) each year. It is a one-quarter, four-credit course required for numerous programs in the health and social sciences at CSUEB, with over 20 sections of the course offered annually. Human Development and Interaction studies the lifespan from birth to death including:

  • The application of various theories of development.
  • How cultural similarities and differences influence lifelong development.
  • The examination and application of interdisciplinary methodologies (integrating sociocultural and biological perspectives) to understand the human lifespan in interpersonal contexts.
  • How ecological theory applies to human development.

Challenges and Goals

Davis elected to implement REVEL in her course because she wanted to ensure students were completing the course reading and comprehending the material. The REVEL Performance Dashboard would allow her to monitor and track student reading. Davis was drawn to the content of Human Development: A Cultural Approach by Arnett and the interactive nature of REVEL. She was also comfortable trying a new technology because of the product training and assistance offered by her Pearson representative. Her goal was to make reading as painless as possible so students completed assigned readings in order to increase their understanding of course concepts. She also aimed to improve student performance in discussion posts, exams, and the required writing assignment.


Davis initially implemented REVEL in her Spring 2016 online course. She assigned REVEL with the goal of ensuring that students were reading the course material to better prepare for online discussions, exams, and the writing assignment. REVEL assignments comprised 30 percent of the final course grade.

Students were assigned weekly REVEL Module Quizzes due on Friday of each week, followed by Chapter Quizzes due on Sunday of each week. For the purpose of the class, each week began on Monday and concluded the following Sunday. Twenty-six quizzes were assigned in total for chapters 1 through 13 (one Chapter Quiz and one Module Quiz for each chapter) with each quiz corresponding to the assigned reading material for the week. Students were allowed multiple attempts on each REVEL quiz question. However, each attempt reduced the quiz score by one point if not correct. Davis suggested students open REVEL in two browsers so they were able to view the quiz in one browser and the eText in the other for quick reference and study between attempts.

In addition to the REVEL assignments—and because this was an online course—students were also required to complete a minimum of four BlackBoard discussion posts each week related to the chapter(s) assigned. BlackBoard discussion posts were due on Sunday at the end of the week. The four discussion posts were required to be posted over a minimum of two days, and if all four posts were made in the same day, points were deducted. Davis believes distributing study efforts across several short periods of time throughout the week is more effective than studying for long periods at one time. Midterm and final exams, along with a five to seven page cross-cultural writing assignment, were also included in the course final grade. The midterm and final exam were created using the test bank for the text, and questions that were closely tied to the REVEL end-of-chapter questions (though not identical) were selected for use.


  • 30% REVEL
  • 20% Discussion posts
  • 15% Midterm exam
  • 15% Final exam
  • 20% Cross-cultural paper

Results and Data

The correlation between student performance on REVEL assignments and performance in the course was strong (r(33)=.67, p<.001 [figure 1]), with a pass rate of 100 percent which is consistent with prior quarters. It should be noted that REVEL assignments made up 30 percent of the final course grade, thereby influencing this relationship.

Davis implemented REVEL with the goal of increased student preparedness. To that effect, 94 percent of student survey respondents (51 percent student response rate) agreed or strongly agreed on a voluntary end-of-semester survey that REVEL made them better prepared for class (figure 2).

Improving student preparedness for online discussion was another goal for Davis when implementing REVEL. End-of-semester student survey results indicate 82 percent of students strongly agreed or agreed REVEL allowed them to participate more in class discussion (figure 2).

REVEL score correlated with final course score


Student survey responses


The Student Experience

In Spring 2016, students completed a voluntary, end-of-semester survey (51 percent response rate) providing valuable insight on their experience using REVEL.

  • 100 percent of student respondents reported they were able to log in to REVEL the first week of class.
  • 94 percent of student respondents rated their experience with REVEL as excellent or good.
  • 88 percent of student respondents strongly agreed or agreed REVEL helped them improve their performance in the course.
  • 88 percent of student respondents strongly agreed or agreed REVEL made them more engaged in the content for the course.
  • 88 percent of students respondents strongly agreed or agreed they would recommend their instructor use REVEL for other courses.
  • 76 percent of students respondents found REVEL was extremely easy or easy to use.
  • 76 percent of student respondents strongly agreed or agreed REVEL gave them access to a greater variety of learning materials.

Student survey comments regarding their REVEL experience:

  • “Very convenient, easy, and useful.”
  • “I learn a lot from REVEL. The online exams are excellent. ”
  • “Easy and beneficial”
  • “It will push you to read which makes it easy to get good grades on the exams”
  • “REVEL made the course interesting and interactive.”


Davis chose to use REVEL in Human Development and Interaction with the goal of ensuring students were reading the course material to improve student preparedness, discussion, and exam scores. With 100 percent of students passing the course, a strong correlation between student REVEL scores and final course scores was found. Student survey responses indicated students believed they were more prepared for the class and better able to participate in class discussion as a result of using REVEL.

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