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Understanding Student Preparation of Exam Note Sheets Documents

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Understanding Student Preparation of Exam Note Sheets 

written by Timothy L. McCaskey

In a previous study, I allowed introductory physics students to create a notecard (or sheet) for their midterm and final exams in an attempt to remove equation memorizing as a focus of the course. I hoped to use the study of these cards as an epistemological lens that would uncover their perceptions and attitudes about the course. Without follow-up questions, though, epistemology remained unclear. I have continued this line of research by adding anonymous survey questions that probe why students chose to include what they did, how (if at all) the notes were helpful, and how their card preparation changed throughout the semester. Through my analysis, I found cases where the survey questions reveal epistemological insight about students the note sheets alone would not. For example, one student with an equation-centered note sheet did not see equations as the most central course component, but he considered himself fluent enough in concepts that he felt he could leave conceptual statements out. I also discuss some of the more thoughtful survey answers I received, some future study possibilities, and efforts to discuss exam preparation in the classroom.

Published February 1, 2014
Last Modified January 31, 2014

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