Students Not Studying

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by jw12, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Oct 13, 2013

    Hi All... I'm at my wits end already this school year. I teach 4 low-level, general Biology classes (10th grade), one CP level Biology class (also 10th grade), and one CP Physical Science Class (9th Grade). I'm in my second year of teaching.

    To make a long story short, my students are simply refusing to study. On test day, I have them write down how much time outside of class they spent studying for that test. The latest results: the average study time was less than 20 minutes. The average test grade, you ask? A whopping 56%.

    I talk to them about the importance of studying. I show them statistics on how much studying can improve their grade. I remind them daily to be sure to study!!

    Of the 4 low-level classes, I have a full-time special ed teacher in the room. She, like me, is simply out of ideas. There's no motivating these kids. And my CP kids are exactly the same. Calls and emails home have also had little to no effect.

    My department chair and department principal don't have any suggestions either. I hate to give up and just say, "If they don't care, then I won't either." But honestly, it's getting to that point.

    Any suggestions out there?? Thanks!
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oct 13, 2013

    I'm going through the exact same thing. Down to asking sped teachers and admin!

    I decided that I am going to start giving homework every.single.night. I usually don't assign that much but they have to have some forced input else they won't do anything. And frankly, it is a bit of CYA for me. If they continue to do poorly and I've done everything under the sun and they don't do their part with the homework, then I simply cannot be to blame.

    Thankfully, it is just my on-level students that are doing this. I don't know how I would feel if all the students were slacking off.

    I hope you get some great suggestions because I'm in need too!
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Oct 13, 2013

    Quizlet.com shows some good ways that they can study at home that are a bit more enjoyable. I don't know if there is a cost for the site or not.

    As far as motivation what are you using as far as "carrots and sticks" to help motivate them? With a class this apathetic to grades, you might want to find something that will make them care a bit more in the short run.

    Also, I'd start calling parents starting with your lowest grades. Call or e-mail as many as you reasonably have time for. Even with inner city students, I found a call home usually could get them to study more.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Oct 13, 2013

    Oops...I see how you put calls and e-mails home don't work much. Wow..tough group.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd start by assigning homework every night. If they have a test on chapter 1 on Friday, then come up with five "focus questions" for a section of the chapter that they have to write about each day, or make them write dictionary/glossary definitions of vocabulary words, or something. If they won't study independently, then give them homework assignments that will mimic what good students do when they study.
     
  7. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Oct 13, 2013

    I second this. while I don't assign HW every night I do want a paper trail that reflects students' effort.Any questions from students/parents/admin about grades are easily answered with documentation showing little to no work outside of class. Doesn't solve the problem you are referring to but it prevents other ones.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 13, 2013

    Do they have any reason why they should be aiming for a high grade? I'm sure they want one, but why should they really put aside friends and free time to do well in your class?

    Why should they care about biology? Have you addressed the roadblocks to teaching science? (i.e. "it's too hard", "I'll never use it", "it's boring")

    I spent an entire two weeks this year going over just those roadblocks, and showing them how learning science can change their lives and what real scientists look like. I also took on the roadblock that they might feel about looking too smart or nerdy. So far I think it's been amazingly helpful. The students respect the material they're learning and they seem to understand it's importance.

    I can't say it's always going to work because this is the first year I did it, and while it made me feel a bit behind, I think it was worth it.
     
  9. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Oct 13, 2013

    I'd go to homework every night. When I have a class that is obviously not putting in the time outside of school, I often assign flashcards AS homework. If we have time, we create them in class, otherwise its homework. Then, they have something immediately on hand to study from.

    I also give quizzes every day (5 questions) just to check on the material from last class and encourage daily studying instead of cramming. If they can see the immediate effect of not studying on the quizzes, maybe they'll study for the test.

    Call home with a general "they need to study more" might not help, but what if you called and requested that the student stay back on a specific day for a review session before the test? Then you can discuss study skills and go over material that they need to study?
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Oct 13, 2013

    One other thing to try is something I have found works when I am unable to get students to study enough for a test. I give the test on Thursday and then I give a large homework sheet based on the information on the test for Thursday night homework. Those who get an "A" on the test don't have to do my assigned homework that night.

    Here is the tough part. You need to have the prep on Thursday to grade these tests before the end of the day. I had enough prep time on Thursdays when I used this technique. Within a couple weeks, I noticed a large improvement in test scores.
     
  11. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Oct 14, 2013

    What are you asking them to study specifically? Is it notes? Is it the book? Is it a study guide?

    Most kids have no idea how to study so they don't bother. I'm having the same issue this year with my kids and it isn't for a lack of interest. I've had to accept that it is my fault for not properly preparing them to study. I need to make sure I'm putting the tools into their hands and not just saying "hey, there's a quiz, study for it."
     
  12. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Oct 14, 2013

    I teach grade 1, but when I was in high school my teachers would assign the study guide as graded homework.
     
  13. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Oct 14, 2013

    I'm facing a similar situation!

    I agree--homework every night, and make it count for their grade. I show them how much homework counts for their grade and how easy it is to get a good homework grade, and my students have finally started doing it. :) I also grade study guides and have a review class session.

    I also give study guides and do lots of review in class, and make myself available to them. I realized that my students really do want to do well, but I just have to show them how easy it is to do well if they put in a little time.

    Also...my class doesn't require tons of studying before an exam. I always emphasize that if they're listening in class and doing the homework, they'll be ready for the exam.

    I do have students that aren't trying at all, and they're not doing well. I make them aware of their grade and what they can do to improve. If they choose not to, that's unfortunately on them. We can't hand hold too much.
     
  14. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Oct 15, 2013

    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I'm going to try more homework and more unannounced quizzes. Our district is currently transitioning to a summative-only grading policy, so the students know that homework doesn't count towards their grade. Their logic is no grade = I'm not doing the homework.

    I'll do completion checks on the homework basically as a CYA policy so if questioned about a student's grade by admin or parents, I can show that they are not doing their assignments.

    Glad to know others are dealing with the same issue!
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oct 15, 2013

    It is getting worse each year.

    Today, as part of reteaching because my class bombed their last test, I handed out a vocab sheet to my students. They already had definitions in their notes, but I wanted them to write it on a singular sheet, all together. Just grasping at straws.

    Well, one student, who probably only had half the definitions anyhow, started complaining about having to write "so many words!" The sheet I gave them had the vocabulary terms, a box for the definition and the page number where they could find the information in the book. She actually whined and said "why can't you just type out the definitions for us and hand it all to us? You've got to make the copy with blanks anyhow."

    She was absolutely serious.
     
  16. fraudelong

    fraudelong Rookie

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    Oct 16, 2013

    I know in our profession we try new things, but that is insane. I understand not having homework dictate a grade, but at the same time the kids need that push and motivation. Our policy is 25% formative, 75% summative.

    If it helps, my study guides are actually not graded. I tell the kids, if I'm giving you what is basically the test with different words, and I'm taking the time to go over it in class, your part of the bargain is to complete it. They notice really quickly who failed the test correlates directly to who didn't do the study guide.

    I also have a colleague who offers a chance for students under a certain percentage to retake the test if they attend a minimum of two study sessions with her and they complete the retake before the next test. Then the students are responsible for relearning what they got wrong if they want to pass, but if they choose to fail she at least tried. It works for her.
     

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