169: Assessing Academic Behaviors & Skills





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  1. Productive Study-Time Logs
    • Description
      • Students keep simple records of how long, what time and how well they study at different times of the day.
    • Purpose
      • Students learn:
        • how much they study for a specific course
        • how well they use their study time
        • when they are most productive
        • how much time they are studying relative to their peers
      • Students can adjust choices – such as scheduling study times to occur at more productive times of day.
    • Step-by-Step Procedure
      • Decide what you most want to know and want your students to notice about their study habits.
      • Make a simple log sheet that helps students gather study data related to the things you want yourself and your students to learn.
      • Decide frequency and duration for logging entries.
      • Create sample completed sheets.
      • Share log sheets with students.  Use sample completed logs to explain how to fill out the sheets.  Describe what to include and exclude from the log sheets.
      • Tell students the purpose of the sheets and when you will share a summary of the log sheet data.
    • Analysis Steps
      • Calculate averages for quantitative data in the log sheets.
      • Look for trends that describe:
        • when most studying occurs
        • when most productive studying occurs
        • where most productive studying occurs
      • Note:  If you gather this data in Google forms, the data will pool into Google spreadsheets where pivot tables can be used to identify the trends above.
    • Extension Ides
      • Share data trends extracted from the log sheets and use them to start discussions in which students share ideas and strategies for improving study habits.
      • In statistics, the analysis of the study logs can be done as a course assignment.
    • Pros
      • Student learn more about variations in their study habits and can use these to make better decisions.
      • Summarizing log sheet data can give teachers a measure of student’s time commitment to the course during out of class time.
      • Peer comparisons of log sheet data will help students realize if they are studying too little and make better choices.
      • Teachers can use data to make adjustments to student’s work loads.
    • Cons
      • Some students may forget to complete the form as they go.
      • Students logging many hours but still doing poorly are likely to get discouraged by this assessment.
      • Data summarization can be time consuming (not if you use Google forms and pivot tables)
    • Caveats
      • Students may exaggerate work loads if they think you’re going to make adjustments in response to the data summaries.
      • Finding out summary of study time may be an unwelcome surprise.
  2. Punctuated lectures
    • Description
      • Teacher periodically pauses in a lesson and gives students time to reflect on how their most recent behavior helped or hindered their learning and to jot down insights in the form of anonymous notes to the teacher.
      • Sounds similar to Writing Breaks.
    • Purpose
      • Focuses reflections on how or whether (or not) students are processing information in activities.
      • Encourage students to become self monitoring learners.
    • Step-by-Step Procedure
      • Choose a lecture that can be chunked into smaller segments (each segment no longer than 10-20 min).   Decide on times when you will punctuate the lecture and give students time to reflect and write.
      • At time of punctuation, explain the purpose of the assessment (to reflect on one’s current learnings).
      • Give them reflection time and writing time.  Can also give them prompts such as
        • How fully where you concentrating during the lecture? Did you get distracted? If so, how did you redirect your attention?
        • What were you doing to record the information in the lecture?  How successful were you?
        • What were you doing to make connections between this new information and what you already know?
        • What did you expect to come next in the lecture and why?
      • Collect their feedback.
    • Analysis Steps
      • Observe how specific and how aware students are of their habits.
      • Share some of their successful redirection and recording strategies with the rest of the class.
    • Extension Ides
      • Ask students to save several of their reflections and analyze them for patterns and changes over time.
      • Share especially astute self analyses with the class as examples of keen self awareness.
      • Students can develop “processing plans” that describe:
        • how they will redirect their attention,
        • how they will record their learnings and questions, and
        • how they will connect old and new information.
    • Pros
      • Shows how students learn.
      • Promotes active listening and self reflection.
      • Focuses attention on self-monitoring – important part of metacognition.
    • Cons
      • Students may struggle to be aware of what they were doing and get frustrated.
      • Many students and teachers have not built up a shared vocabulary to describe learning processes.  Building up this language takes time.
    • Caveats
      • Don’t expect immediate results from this strategy.  Being self aware is hard.
      • May encounter resistance to the idea that the methods for information processing can be consciously changed by those who believe the brain is a black box.


Productive Study Time Logs can help teachers and students learn more about students’ study habits outside of class time.  In a PBL setting, gathering this data can set up frank conversations among team members that have large disparities in the amount of time each member is contributing towards products.  Analyzing this data can also help teachers better understand how students are managing the work loads in their classes.


The Punctuated lectures strategy can help students become more aware of the processes students are using to focus their attention and process information during workshops.  It can also get students to try out new strategies that may improve the way they learn during workshops.


Preparation Steps
  • Decide what types of things you would like students to learn about their learning processes during and outside of class time.
  • Select the strategy that will help students gather the most data and observations about the processes that are most important to you.
  • Write character learning targets that relate to the specific study habits or information processing habits you would like students to practice and assess.
Early Implementation Steps
  • Create models for the selected strategy.  Use these to demonstrate to the students how to record their observations.
  • Explain what teachers and students can learn from investigating the study data.
  • Give students time to practice the strategy.  Provide them with guide sheets to gather their observations.
  • Teachers and peers analyze the data to note interesting comparisons and trends.  Use these insights to identify possible new strategies to try out to improve learning.
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Use Google forms to consolidate productive study time logs data into a spreadsheet that can be pivot tabled to analyze the trends.
  • Set up discussion protocols that will help peers provide each other with constructive study feedback based on their observations and brainstorm adjustments.
  • Do the strategy at different times in the course that are well separated and compare the data from both times to notice what changes and stayed the same.



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