Gilliam, K. C., Baker, M., Rayfield, J., Ritz, R., & Cummins, R. G. (2018).  Effects of question difficulty and post-question wait-time on cognitive engagement: a psychophysiological analysis. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(4), 286-300.


Educational research surrounding teaching methods and accepted practices is continually needed to improve teaching and teacher preparation programs.  The revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is often used by teachers in question development. The effectiveness of these questions are often dependent, not on the question alone, but also in how the question is presented. One component of implementing effective questioning is the use of wait-time. Wait-time is the amount of time a teacher waits for a student response after having posed a question. Experts have recommended wait times ranging from three and five seconds in length.  The purpose of this study was to utilize a psychophysiological measure of cognitive resource allocation (heart rate) to provide evidence of the magnitude and duration of cognitive engagement elicited after posing questions and to determine an appropriate amount of post-question wait-time needed by undergraduate agricultural education students. Study results suggest that students were cognitively engaged for two to three seconds during the wait-time that followed a question.  Additionally, students re-engaged cognitively after eight seconds of wait-time. The results of this study provide unique evidence in assisting teachers with effectively employing wait-time strategies.

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