I tweeted this prospect, hoping to receive some feedback from educators and students alike. I also reached out to a few teachers and kindly asked if they could incorporate the thought-provoking question to their students, perhaps as a Friday "ticket-out-the-door."
As a result (and with the assistance of their respective teachers), I received a wide-range of intriguing, enlightening feedback from students. Here is a sample:
"In my opinion, you learn by doing. Taking a test is not necessarily "doing." I learn mostly by doing activities in class that lead up to the test, not including studying. Studying for a test and then taking it doesn't teach anything, if I didn't know the material before, taking a test on the exact material doesn't do anything but reinforce the fact that I don't know it. Doing more hands-on based activities is the most efficient way for me to learn."
"For me personally I learn more by studying for an assessment because once I take the test, I forget the information. I feel the information does not matter anymore after the test and I need refreshers for finals or whatever else. Activities help more with learning because they are interactive and actually want to learn instead of stressing out over a test."
"Students learn a lot from studying for an assessment especially if they know the grade will affect your average greatly. You can really build from your mistakes and see what you missed so you won't miss it next time. The Grade all comes down to the effort you put in. If you want an A you can work hard and get it."
"Studying for an assessment AND the assessment itself in my opinion can teach us students at least something. Learning how to prepare for some type of challenge [in this case, studying the assessment] can teach time management or can teach oneself the limits of how much they need to study to feel ready or perform well. An assessment itself is usually not practically applicable to life– like, we're never really going to have to take assessments in real world situations – but it does teach at least at some basic level deductive, answer formulation, and reasoning skills when it comes to multiple choice or free response."
"I learn more if I study for the assessment because I make more time to study for it. I feel like the assessment itself is just a see what I just didn't learn."
"You gain knowledge by looking into things yourself or being told. You need the info provided to you in some way."
"Students don't learn from either. Studying is an optional thing that many students don't do, or just cram and then forget. And you can't learn from a test because you'll forget everything right after. You learn from doing stuff. Even taking notes is better for learning than a test or studying."
"Depends on the assessment, if it is an open book assessment with longer questions that require a bit more critical thinking past just knowing what is in a textbook, that is the best way to learn."
Two more high-quality teacher responses via Twitter:
@CSmithGoBlue Depends on how the assessment is designed. Ideally, the two are spliced together into a continuous cycle. #nced— Andrew Thomasson (@thomasson_engl) March 17, 2017
@CSmithGoBlue Ss learn from the process - active collaboration and synthesis. But important for Ts to evaluate the data to fill the gaps. 👍— Melissa McNeilly (@SraMcNeilly) March 17, 2017
Another group of students took more a poll-response. Of 15 students, 12 responded with a studying emphasis (80% of the sample size).
Please let me know your thoughts and opinions, either by responding on Twitter or leaving comments below.
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The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.