researchers randomly assigned two writing exercises to U.S. college students (n=577) enrolled in a first-semester biology class. The first was the one described above, and the second a simple summary of the material (control group)
Results showed that students in the first condition earned higher grades in the course and were more likely to enroll in the second-semester course of the biology sequence. They were even less likely to abandon their STEM major.
Interestingly, weaker students benefitted from writing about the relevance and utility of the course at the beginning of the semester, while stronger students benefitted from doing so at the end of the semester.
Source: Canning et alia (2018)