How to improve student test scores and get inside their heads

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE I’m a long time believer in authenticity and transparency. In all things, really. Always have been. So, as you can imagine, it comes natural to me to want to debrief teaching and learning activities. Debriefing is a transparent reflection strategy, where team members reflect upon a recent experience, discuss what went well and identify opportunities for improvement. The reflection can be about a case study, simulation scenario, patient outcome, writing assignment or test. In fact, in our simulation study, students indicated that debriefing was the most beneficial feature of the simulation. I wonder if students would say the same for debriefing tests? Wow, wouldn’t that be a great research question? Sorry, I can’t help myself. I think in teaching and learning research questions.) 🙂 In this series of articles concerning why students don’t score well on tests, we first discussed the use of cognitive wrappers, a reflection strategy that students use to examine their test performance and study strategies, and to plan their improvement strategies. Debriefing graded tests is a magical reflection strategy to examine why students didn’t score well on their test and how to improve student test scores. Students and faculty connect, using this reflection strategy together.  Debriefing: Reflection Strategy #2: I’ve witnessed […]

Reflection strategies to determine why students scored poorly on their test

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE The beauty of fall brings me to tears. The varied hues of reds and oranges mixed with the yellows and greens is like eye candy. Wouldn’t you agree? Yesterday I was driving down a rural highway to my dentist’s office (making appointments and knocking out procrastination :)) while admiring the eye candy around me. My thoughts turned to why leaves change color. And for the life of me, I couldn’t remember why. I will admit that I panicked a bit, wondering if this is a sign that I’m losing my memory. Oh sure, I could Google it. And I did. But, I know I previously learned this material. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever forgotten a lesson that you’re sure you learned in grade school, high school, or even college? And have you felt like “I should know this?” This happens to our students too, right? Playing the ‘Should’ Game In fact, when students fail to score well on a test the default thinking I hear from many professors is, “I ‘covered’ the material. They should know it.”  Yes? or Yes? Or “I taught them how to __________ (fill in the blank with a skill). They should be competent.” Yes, these statements […]

A Rapid Fire Strategy to Stimulate Positivity in the Classroom

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE Why ask students what’s new and good in their life? Well, I’ve discovered that infusing positivity at the beginning of classes, meetings, retreats, or coaching calls puts participants in a positive frame of mind. And why is this important? The literature bears out that positive moods produce broader attention, more holistic thinking and more creative thinking in students. How cool is that? Positivity Intervention The intervention is quite simple really. Ask a few students at random “what’s new and good” at the beginning of class. And then wait for their answers.   Additional Benefits Students’ answers give us insight into what’s going on in their lives and it positions students to embrace positivity, to embrace gratitude as a way of life. That’s a win-win in my book. I remember the first time I asked my students in class, “what’s new and good?” They looked at me with baffled expressions. So, I explained, “I’m asking what is new in your life that you are happy about and grateful for.” In the beginning, they had difficulty coming up with an answer. I patiently waited while they scrambled to think of anything that was good. As this persisted over a few weeks, some would even say to me, “you’re […]

Living an Authentic Life: A Tribute to Teresa Revisited

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE Teachers are everywhere. One doesn’t need a doctoral degree to acquire wisdom nor dispense it. And for certain, some of the most important life lessons are taught outside of classrooms. I’ve learned some important lessons from an extraordinary person, a teacher about life. When I first wrote this article a year and a half ago, I had just come home from my sister-in-law, Teresa’s funeral. She was a person who lived vibrantly and taught me much. For 20 years, we marveled about being married to Beischel men, told stories about our children, sought advice from one another and laughed about our ever-changing hairstyles – color and all. My heart was heavy. I’d lost the mother of my beautiful nieces, the wife of my gentle brother-in-law, and the aunt who was ever-ready to laugh with my children. Teresa was just 53 years young. My thoughts are filled with Teresa this week, her birthday week. As I’ve reflected this week on what I’ve learned from having known and loved this woman, it came to me. These are strategies for living an authentic life. A life that has meaning. 10 Strategies on Living an Authentic Life 1. INDIVIDUALITYTeresa did not worry about what others thought. She would laugh when I expressed worries about trivial […]

WARNING: Immediate student rescue impedes learning

By Kelly Beischel, PhD, RN, CNE She asked me. “How will they benefit?” And I thought “Quit with the freaking questions and just give me the answer, dammit!” And then I laughed. And laughed. And laughed. I laughed so loud that my dog looked at me and slunk away. Let me explain… I’m in a solo-preneur Facebook group where we often help one another when we’re stuck or are blocked in our thinking. I was having a block in coming up with a cool title for my incivility teleseminar. So, I posted a request for help to name the teleseminar. Rather than giving me an answer, Christina, one of the members of this Facebook group relentlessly asked me questions about how the participants would benefit from attending the teleseminar, what would they gain from knowing the signs of bullying etc. I laughed at my “just give me the answer” response because Christina was simply doing her job as a coach, asking me questions until I gained clarity. That’s what teachers do too. We coach, right? We ask questions until students gain clarity. And then my next thought? “That is exactly what our students are thinking – if not saying.” “Just tell me already.” “Just give me the answer.” We’ve all heard it […]

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