midterm exam quandry

<< < (2/6) > >>

bioteacher:
One thing I do is have students fill out a form and bring it with them. It is based heavily on the article "Using an exam analysis tool to identify study and test-taking errors" available here

The other thing I do is ask students how they study. I make them define "go over my notes" and tell me exactly how they read their book. Do they skim it first? Highlight everything? Take notes without skimming for big ideas and the framework?

And then we talk about The Rule: Every day you brush your teeth is a day you should spend time on this class.

Freshmen especially believe that last minute cramming works and that high school "study" strategies are going to  yield the results they want. When that fails, they often don't know what else to try.

erictho:
Quote from: shadowfaxe on February 24, 2013, 10:17:04 AM

I'm wondering what to do now.  Ask them about their study habits?  Give them a review session before the final?  Or tell them they need to get their act together? 


All of the above. In as encouraging and helpful a manner as possible.

I have a similar issue with first year Latin -- most students taking it are taking it for a distribution requirement and resent putting in the time and effort necessary to succeed, since it's not their major. And when most of them end up in one section, it makes for a very frustrating section to teach. I explain that there's no "it's not your major, so I'll require less of you and still give you an A 'cuz it's not your major" provision. It sometimes works to get them to take the course more seriously. Sometimes.

infopri:
I teach a required gen-ed course that (a) students think they don't need because they already know the material, and (b) don't care much about, and (c) they think is easy.  So, they don't pay attention in class, they don't read the textbook, and (surprise!) they don't perform well on the assignments and quizzes.  (The midterm is still a week and a half away, but experience suggests that they won't do well on that, either).

I've been having private come to Jesus talks with some of them, encouraging and warning the class as a group ("you should start studying now for the midterm--especially if you haven't been reading the book, and I know that many of you haven't been--because you've already seen what not studying has done for you," etc.), and so forth.  Unfortunately, students, like horses, no matter how they're led to the water, still refuse to drink it.

marigolds:
Quote from: infopri on February 24, 2013,  1:29:28 PM

Unfortunately, students, like horses, no matter how they're led to the water, still refuse to drink it.


Stupid dehydrated horse students.

mountainguy:
Quote from: bioteacher on February 24, 2013, 12:58:40 PM

Freshmen especially believe that last minute cramming works and that high school "study" strategies are going to  yield the results they want. When that fails, they often don't know what else to try.


This.

For reasons that have been discussed in other threads, a lot of students are leaving high school with insufficient study skills along with disbelief that they will be held accountable for poor performance on significant assignments. My primary teaching responsibility in my current job is a gen ed class required for all freshpersons in the university. The grade distribution from your third section is not all that unusual for undeclared students. I had one section in Fall 2011 with a midterm distribution that was 16 Ds or Fs, 5 Cs, 3 Bs, and 2 As. Most of the students got it together by the end of the semester, but it was like pulling teeth to get them to that point.
My grade distributions have improved now that I have an established reputation for not being a pushover, but it took me a few semesters to get to that point.

Whatever you do, remember that the responsibility rests on the students to learn the material, not on you to explain it better. They will whine "unclear! unfair!" until they are blue in the face, but they still won't take responsibility for learning the material even if you spend more time reviewing it. They are testing your limits, to see what you'll let them get away with.  Again, in my own experience, many of my students choose to do a sloppy job on a written assignment due in my class around Week 5 of the semester. (I deliberately say "choose" here because the assignment guidelines are very clear, we go over examples in class, and about 1/3rd of the students complete the assignment nearly perfectly).

When my students get their sloppy assignments back and are shocked by the awful grades, I give a speech that goes something like this: "Many of you are naturally upset that you did poorly on this assignment. The good news is that this assignment is worth only 10% of your semester grade. You still have time to turn it around on future assignments in this class. See me if you'd like to talk about ways to improve for the future." I do get a handful grade-grubbers who beg for a re-do (uh, no), but most of them take their lumps without complaint.  When students do come to see me about ways to improve (which is distressingly rare), I offer to let them check in with me weekly to set study benchmarks for the next assignment. Such meetings take no more than 15 minutes, and I rarely have more than a handful of such meetings per semester.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page