November 30, 2018 at 12:19 PM #53784Landon Miller@landon1
I’ve had a few students in the past, and currently have one in particular, who delay studying for tests until the last minute (these are upper grade high school students). I alert them of the test about a week in advance and, especially at the beginning of the year, make them write it in their planner. But it never fails that at testing time I have to repeatedly ask this student to clear his desk as he tries to cram in as much as possible at the last minute.
Do I simply need to guide this student (he’s a senior) step by step through planning out studying ahead of time? Or do I need to remove the ability to study right before taking a quiz or test? What advice do you have?
December 2, 2018 at 9:52 PM #53814Peter Goertzen@petergoertzen
This is a problem that I’ve also struggled with over the years. Ultimately, the solution is for students to value knowledge as they ought, and that’s a battle I continue to have my ups and downs with. But there are a few things I’ve found helpful for encouraging timely test preparation and discouraging those last-minute lingerings over the textbook and notes.
That latter problem, with which I am all too familiar, has almost entirely disappeared for me since I’ve started doing two things. First, I’ve established the expectation that the direction for students to clear their desks must be followed IMMEDIATELY. Second, those who fail to follow this instruction promptly may not be given their quiz or test for several minutes, negating any advantage they may have gained by their dawdling.
To encourage better studying, I’ve found that it helps to give more and better study-skills instruction. Some students don’t study because they don’t know how to do it effectively, so it seems like a waste of time. This is very much a work in progress for me and something I need to keep improving in, but what I’ve done so far has given good results.
Finally, for several years I’ve been gradually replacing many of my tests with open-book essays and similar projects. This really separates the students who do their best and know their stuff from those who don’t. Waiting until the last minute on these things is simply disastrous, virtually without exception.
December 4, 2018 at 9:30 PM #53829Carolyn Martin@carolynmartin
Would you detail some of the study skills instruction teach your students, please? I think, too, that much of our “didn’t study” problem comes back to students not really knowing how to study. I’d like to see some tips on getting this across to students.
December 7, 2018 at 5:30 PM #53909Peter Goertzen@petergoertzen
I was afraid someone would ask that. 🙂 This is something I don’t feel like I have a good handle on yet. Drawing largely on some things I’ve read here on the forum, I emphasize active engagement of the memory rather than passive reading and rereading. I give students review sheets with questions and tell them to write the answers using information from their texts, in-class review, etc. (depending on the class). Then I advise them to cover the answers and go over the questions to see what they can remember without looking. Students can quiz each other, too. Along with some variations on this theme, this is the main thing I’ve been trying. It seems to be beneficial.
I’d be interested to hear what works for others.
December 3, 2018 at 11:29 AM #53816Jonas SauderModerator@jonas
Producing hybrid tests, with both an out-of-class component to be completed by test day and a more traditional test-period component, can serve several purposes. To complete the out-of-class component, students must engage the subject that they are to study/review, which incidentally may help them be prepared for the in-class portion of the test. The out-of-class, open-book component can also call for more thoughtful, time-consuming applications that develop skills and understandings that class-period-length tests cannot provide.
Out-of-class test components might include:
a. Extended reading/application problem for math
b. “Narrating” or summarizing a topic in science, history, health
c. Essay questions that explore a theme based on something studied in literature, history, science, or Bible.
Students would be expected to do the hard thinking involved in completing the pre-test-period open book component and have it in hand at the beginning of test period. The test period would “wrap things up” by testing understanding in the more traditional ways to complement the testing.
December 4, 2018 at 9:41 PM #53830Carolyn Martin@carolynmartin
While this is not our school policy, I know of schools with the long-standing policy of not allowing students to study for tests (at school) the day of, or the period of the test. For myself, as a student, I liked the reassurance of going over my notes one last time-even though I’d spent plenty of time on them the day before.
At the first grade level that I teach, I don’t have students study for tests (unless it is a spelling test towards the end of the year.) I try to keep tabs on the weak areas of the students and reinforce them as we go along. Having a good system of review can help eliminate the need for student cram-studying.
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