Sunday, October 15, 2006

Marking Again

Marking Again



I know I said I would be happy to help students learn to write. I was serious. But today, I'm marking ID paragraphs. If you teach History, you know the drill -- 2-3 sentences, max., that answer Who, What, Where, When, and So What (Historical Significance). It's formulaic. I hand out a set of terms a week ahead of the exam -- maybe 20-30, all of which they should know anyway, because they are directly from the readings, except for maybe two that I've gone over in class at least twice.

Here's the thing -- in most of the cases, studying the ID list should give the stuents information they can use in the essays. Also, you just learn the damned things. Put them on index cards and memorize that shit, people! Easy points! So far, the highest score out of 20 is 14. With this part, I cannot help them. Except maybe to tell them to write the things down and make sure they put all of the pertinent information and learn it. *sigh*

5 comments:

Dr. Virago said...

You know, I have had the same problem with the "easy" part of lit exams -- terms, dates, etc. I discovered that part of the problem is that students think studying such things means "looking over" their notes. They don't quite realize that memorization means doing something active -- making flash cards, saying it out loud, or whatever works for them. I now try to work in a brief statement about how to study on my review sheets or in class.

Jonathan Dresner said...

I love ID tests: nothing else really works in World surveys, in my opinion.

Most semesters, after the first such quiz I post a couple of sample "best" answers, and talk about how I suggest studying: they're much more receptive to study tips when they realize that what they've been doing doesn't work....

I tell students that for study purposes, you have to read important stuff (and for them, the textbook counts) three times: once quickly, for general thesis and argument; second slowly, with pencil in hand, to underline, annotate, query and quibble; third in front of the computer (in the old days, with hole punched note paper) summarizing, noting the most important points, and quoting that which is unimprovable (noting page numbers, etc.). That last step, I tell them, is the crucial one: writing something down, processing it in your own mind, using it fixes it there in a way that just reading never really will.

Ancarett said...

Sharing a "best of" set sometimes helps. I find that it also works, after the midterm or quiz but before the next test, to have the whole class brainstorm collectively what would be a good ID response for something we've just studied ("How would you ID this on the final?"). That, combined with some direct advice about some successful study methods (flashcards, oral drills, etc.) will open the eyes of the motivated students, at the very least!

Natalie Bennett said...

Tell them to stick a couple on the back of the toilet door. They'll learn them...

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Natalie, LOL!!!