Study Guides in High School...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by TrademarkTer, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Aug 18, 2018

    I teach mostly juniors and seniors (precalc and calc). In my school we give out tests and quizzes that are common assessments.

    I believe that by the time they are juniors and seniors in high school, students should learn how to study using their class notes, textbooks, and other practice materials provided throughout the unit. After all, they will be in college very soon. As such, I don't believe in providing study guides for assessments. Obviously I tell students how to prepare, and give them practice materials throughout the unit, but I don't neatly package it for them to memorize at the end of the unit.

    All of the other precalc teachers are on the same page as me so none of the pre-calc kids get study guides. On the other hand, there are two calc teachers who are both on the older side, and they give out study guides before every single test and quiz, which are basically just the test or quiz with different numbers.. They just want everyone to do well, and want to minimize the parent emails and extra help they need to be giving. I gave study guides back when I taught algebra courses because those kids are still young and can't be expected to necessarily study properly on their own, but I think it is babying them as seniors, particularly since none of them were given study guides as juniors so it's basically a step backwards for them.

    What's your take on study guides for these grade levels? Since we give the same assessments, I do sort of feel like I am disadvantaging my students grade-wise by not giving them the study guides that the other two teachers do, but on the flip side, I feel it will benefit them in the long-run as they won't be receiving these guides in college.
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Aug 19, 2018

    You might be overestimating how hard college is these days. My example is in another subject, but it was quite disturbing. My step-daughter was an honor graduate from high school and is doing well in college, but I worry about the rigor of the curriculum.

    Recently, we had a family beach day when she was here visiting (she lives with her mom) and had a conversation in the shade while having lunch. I don’t remember how the conversation got to the topics of socialism and communism, but I was shocked that my SD did not know what the words meant. To make this even more appalling, she was finishing up her world history class at the time.

    She got an A.
     
  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I don't think so. I'm sure there are easy majors/easy courses (hence why there are so many psych and history majors!!), but the math courses at our state university (where I went, and where a fair number of our graduates will go) are extremely challenging. Most of them won't' be going super deep into math, but even if they have to take a year or two of calc in college for business, it will be a jump. They will likely have a professor who speaks poor English, and their grade will be determined strictly on 3 exam scores. They will not be given much in terms of review material for these exams, unless their professor is super generous, which I know mine were not. I was actually a grader for a calc 2 class in college, and it was not unusual for classes to have exam averages 50% or lower, and 60% of the class receiving Cs or lower for their course grades. This is compared to high school where 80% of the kids receive As or Bs.
     
  5. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Aug 19, 2018

    My tests/Quizzes are just the review questions from the text book so no, no study guides. If they can't handle that I highly doubt they're going to put effort into using a study guide. I can say though I feel that by the jr/Sr year they should be able to manage on their own.
     
  6. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I don't love that either if I'm being totally honest---I like the idea of putting a question or two from the text in to see that they are using it as a study too, but this has the same issue I was worried about with study guides in that they can just memorize the answers to the book review and not have to put much thought into it.
     
  7. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    I don't have that issue. My quizzes/tests are straight out of the book. They get to take the quiz/test home and turn it in on Monday. I don't teach for the test but according to the powers that be I have to have tests/Quizzes.

    ...and would you believe I still have people who fail?
     
  8. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    Aug 19, 2018

    Just about every textbook has some sort of summary review at the end of each chapter which is no different than a study guide. I say you are fine either way so long as every teacher of the common course at your school is consistent.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Aug 19, 2018

    Yes, there are always students who are years behind in reading and reading comprehension which means the text is next to useless to them. I've heard this same complaint about students failing open book/ open note tests in class. If you can't read it, you can't use it. Not all students who are far behind in reading or struggle with comprehension have IEPs or 504s for accommodations.

    Then there are kids who just don't care.
     
  10. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Yup, on both accounts. I've ran into both but the just don't care outweigh.
     
  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I don’t give out study guides for any of my students. They have to do the work themselves. I do, however, give them practice quizzes and practice tests that are similar in scope to the real thing like my professors did in college.
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Aug 19, 2018

    I do study guides/help early on and then gradually stop providing as much structure. A lot of my students have no clue how to study or prepare for a test. They also really struggle with any sort of timed writing.
    I teach English so it's different. My tests are essay tests. The first test I usually give them the prompt and let them make an outline ahead of time. The second test I let them bring in a few notes but they don't know the prompt. Depending on that, I then go to nothing at all by our third big test. They really panic about only having one period to write a whole essay and need to learn to budget their time accordingly, so it's something we work on a lot.

    If they have already have access to a good review in their books, I wouldn't do a separate study guide too. However, I do think it's hard to have two other teachers giving the same assessments but with more help. It would be nice to have consistency within the department.
     
  13. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Aug 19, 2018

    I never got practice tests or quizzes in college, except for with one professor. Basically what you are giving I would consider to be what I am referring to as a study guide. Students will use the practice test or quiz as their crutch.
     
  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    When I receive students who are behind from public or private schools, I first let them know that I will do my best to fill in their knowledge gaps and that I will have the same expectations for them as any other student despite those gaps. Then, I make them come to my workshop hours 2-3 times a week during lunch or after school and they are required to come with questions. We go over the homework in these sessions and I teach them concepts they should have already mastered. Another thing I do is show them statistics of their earning potential if they have certain degrees and how useful knowing math is in the global job market. I have found that money is an external motivating factor for students who don’t care for academics.
     
  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    No, a study guide is a list of concepts that they need to study to know for their tests. Many colleges and universities give practice assessments — it is a very common practice and many students graduate and go on to become leaders in their fields. They are certainly not a crutch and my students perform very well academically in and outside of my school.
     
  16. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    If a study guide is just a list of concepts, then I support that and oppose what you are doing as students use theses practice tests like they are the Bible. I guess it's different conceptions of what a study guide is.

    Published. English. definition. A student tool used to help facilitate learning and comprehension of literature, research topics, history, and other subjects.
     
  17. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    I find that with how my classes are set up I generally I don't have the issue of having to address students individually. My classes are designed to make students pass, all they have to do is put in just a little effort. So I've found that students fail because they simply can't be bothered. For instance not taking homework on Tuesday which should be completed by Monday. I do however make it publicly known I'm always at school 2-3hrs after school Mon-Thurs, usually in the auditorium to come find me if they feel they need extra help. I'm very your success belongs to you.
     
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  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    My professors said that the students already have their study guides — their class notes. Everything covered on the class lecture slides was fair game and you could be tested on it.

    Using your exact same definition, you forgot the last part from Google:

    “Most study guides summarize chapters of novels or the important elements of the subject.”

    This is their class notes and I tell all my students that the practice tests are NOT comprehensive and indicative of the types of questions they *may* see and are more of a supplement to the class notes than anything.

    Again, my students are incredibly successful and go on to work in some of the best companies in the USA and do very well at the most selective colleges (Cornell, West Point, USAFA, UCLA, MIT, etc), so I’ll stick with what I’m doing. ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  19. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I agree that the notes should be their source of review.

    When I used to teach algebra 2 and gave out study guides (AKA practice tests AKA unit reviews), I would always get the question "if I can do everything on the study guide, am I going to do well on the test?" This drove me crazy, and is another reason I don't like them. If something showed up on a test that was not on the study guide, they'd always ask why that was there but not on the review.

    Again, my students are incredibly successful and go on to work in some of the best companies in the USA and do very well at the most selective colleges (Cornell, West Point, USAFA, UPenn MIT, etc), so I’ll stick with what I’m doing.;) [just had to change UCLA]
     
  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    This is why I include a note at the top of the practice test/quiz stating what I said in my previous post about it not being comprehensive and only includes some of the concepts that will be tested on. That works for me and my students understand it easily enough.
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

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    I have three degrees and am working on my fourth. I have never once had a practice assessment. Maybe that is because my degrees aren't in education?
     

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