A Little Last Minute, But…

9 May 2017

It is the final days of the long and winding exam run in for year 11 and for A level students. SATs are now mid-stream. You may ask: how did that happen?

There never seems enough time, as we hurtle toward the end of the year in the hope that our students do themselves justice. Happily, we can make small, meaningful differences, even at the very last minute.

This interesting new research has shown how, with a little nudge to consider organising their resources a little better, students can do better in exams. A study entitled, ‘Strategic Resource Use for Learning: A Self-Administered Intervention That Guides Self-Reflection on Effective Resource Use Enhances Academic Performance’,  is helpfully explained in this Association for Psychological Science article:

“We found that self-administering the intervention, even for just 15 minutes online before an upcoming exam, engages college students in a form of thoughtful self-management, which helps them use their resources more effectively while studying,” explains psychology researcher Patricia Chen of Stanford University. “This essentially empowers them to translate their efforts into success more efficiently.”

As our student wield an array of revision booklets, notes, flashcards, highlighters, Post-it notes, and more, we should consider how we need to prompt them to organise and better manage their revision preparation – effectively, that metacognitive process that successful students appear to undertake so naturally.

Stanford researcher, Chen relates a common teacher conundrum:

“Many students have come to me after their exams trying to understand why they did not do as well as they had expected, despite their hard work. My response to these students is often, ‘Well, describe to me how you studied,’”

One solution we can build into our longer term planning is to use ‘exam wrappers’, thereby getting students to self-reflect on their revision more systematically. Done consistently, we can open our students’ eyes to how to best organise themselves and their revision resources.

We can sometimes make false assumptions about our students preparedness, so even in these last few days of revision, with effective guidance and prompts, we can still help our students with a last minute boost.

Posted on 9 May 2017
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