Saturday, January 05, 2019

Using Notes on the Final Exam

In some of the courses I teach, I allow students to use a note card on the final exam.  I don't expect every student to memorize every formula that we encounter, and while I could give them a formula sheet as part of the final, I've always believed that the act of creating the note sheet contributes to both the studying and the learning.  I require these note sheets to be hand written, no typing or scanning or photocopying allowed.  And then today I read this in a post on cursive handwriting over at Joanne's site:
“Separate research studies at Indiana University and UCLA have shown that writing by hand engages parts of the brain that typing and texting don’t, improving the way people process and remember information,” writes Marcus. “That’s because writing by hand is slower, the UCLA researchers hypothesize, requiring the writer to listen more carefully and discern the most important points.”
I've long noticed that I can carry on a conversation while typing something completely unrelated, but have to think when writing by hand.  Oddly, though, one of the things I learned while taking shorthand class in high school was that I could hear the words but still be writing the previous sentence; it was like what I was writing was on a few second "tape delay" from what I was hearing.  Note, though, that that had to be taught.

1 comment:

Mrs. Widget said...

I have my students keep a notebook of information. They can use the notebook on certain tests.

I have done the card thing before, or a sheet of paper. I learned to specify "8 1/2 by 11" when my first year a "sheet" turned out a large piece of bulletin board paper.