Pseudo Day 129 – Year End Review

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Science 9 – June 12

Some examples of a year-end review assignment.  This was a pretty big success for me and the students.  Leading up to this assignment I had struggled with what to do with the students for a culminating summative assessment.  You can read a bit about my options on whether or not to do a final exam on my Physicsoflearning blog.  I decided not to do a final exam.  I had told the class that there would be one, but because the students didn’t have textbooks, with 2 days I had 5 books taken from my classroom.  So not only was this unfair to other students, but it signified the level of anxiety around the exam. And I didn’t want to lose 1/2 dozen textbooks because of an exam.

A culminating project wasn’t going to work.  I didn’t want to lay out a huge homework project for the kids and there were virtually no resources at the school since everything was being packed up for our school move.

What I decided was to have the students produce a review package for the year.  I figure that if we expect students to study for a final exam they should first be taught how to study for an exam.

I wasn’t sure how well this would go.  I predicted that many kids would dismiss the assignment with the logic that there is no reason to prep for an exam if they’re not doing the exam.  So when kids said they shouldn’t have to do the assignment if there is no exam, I had my answer ready. I proposed that I could also give them an exam.  After giving it approximately 2 seconds of thought, the kids decided that the assignment by itself was ok.

What I didn’t quite expect was how many students worked really hard on their packages and did top-quality work.  I also didn’t anticipate having as many students tell me just how good they thought the whole process was.  Maybe I’m looking at this through slightly rose tinted glasses – maybe lots of students thought it was the dumbest thing ever.  Whatever. I know it was a worthwhile activity.   One thing that I think surprised students is just how much time it takes to do a proper review.  Many kids thought that that “studying” for 2 hours would be good enough, but what they found was that each unit of review took up to an hour (sometimes more, sometimes less).

The review package was straight forward.  First, the students re-checked all of their learning objectives so they were clear on what they were expected to know, and where they were at with their learning. Next, they were advised to first focus on their two worst units. {I wasn’t guiding them on optimizing test taking strategies, I was advising them on maximizing their learning.  I actually don’t know if their is some type of most efficient strategy on prepping for a final exam.  Should a person focus on what they do best, to maximize the marks they can get on the stuff they know the most?  I don’t know…}.  Finally, they got to choose what kind of format they would like to use for their review.  The three most common types of review packages were notes in point form, flash cards, and concept maps.

Below is a link to the review instructions I gave out:

Science 9 Year End Review

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