First Exam of the Semester: A Wake-up Call for Students

This weekend I discovered a “memo to students who are disappointed with their last test grade.” What a great idea! I wasn’t surprised when I found out it was more of Rich Felder’s good work. Students are terribly optimistic about their grades, especially at the beginning of a course. Then comes the first exam, many of us giving it early on in an attempt to dislodge these convictions that success will come easily and with little or no effort. If we return the exams during class, disappointment hangs heavy in the air. In those moments of despair there’s an opportunity to confront students with what they might have done (or not done) that caused (or is at least related to) that disappointing score.

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