Teaching to the test, part 2

I’m giving a test next week and every problem on the test is listed in the study guide. Most of the problems are described by giving a brief name of the topic and a list of problems that cover that topic. Sometimes the list is pretty general.  The topic of “Solving separable equations” says  to study the homework from section 7.3. Once, the study guide just gives one problem.

One four-point problem is different from anything in the book. It is four true/false problems, where I make some statements about the relationship between the convergence of sequences and series. It covers something I mentioned in class at least three times. I told them to study the class notes and a worksheet which is on the topic. It will be easy for students who understand the topic.

The students who use the study guide as a guide to study for the test should do well. It gives them a realistic picture of what they need to know, not only for the upcoming test, but for future courses. Years ago, I came to the conclusion that I had a better idea of what to study for a test than the students do. It seems simpler just to tell them.


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