Learning is a complex process; hence, there is not just one answer.
If you have a specific complaint about a walk-in session or an appointment, we want to know about it; contact John.Ophus@uni.edu. Keep in mind there are numerous factors that influence the grade you earn on any assignment. Asking yourself these questions can help ensure that you’ll do better next time:
1. Did you continue to practice the concepts after meeting with the tutor?
It takes time for information we learn to move to long term memory. Research shows that after just two days of learning something new, if we do not review it frequently we forget about 80% of it. If you learn a new concept and connect it to other concepts and information you know, you will remember it longer. Many concepts build on previously-learned material; so, it is important to make connections between previous and new concepts.
2. How much time elapsed between seeing the tutor and your test or quiz?
Remember, most tests are given every three to four weeks and are an evaluation of how well you know and understand multiple concepts. Tutoring staff are trained to deal with what each student feels is the most important concern during the tutoring session. It helps to have follow-up visits to get additional feedback to assist you as you move through multiple chapters. During these appointments, ask the tutor to help you connect the specific ideas in your textbook chapters or sections to the bigger contextual objectives of the material. A great question to ask during any tutoring session is "How does this concept relate to the material learned in chapter/section so and so?"
3. Did the test or quiz evaluate you at a different level than the homework questions?
Homework is usually assigned per chapter or per section. This allows students the opportunity to master the specific content that meets the overall objectives of the chapter. Each item on a test, on the other hand, usually evaluates your understanding of multiple concepts. Because of the nature of tests, it is very important to connect concepts using the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. You want to be able to APPLY the concepts you learned in multiple types of problems, ANALYZE and differentiate what types of problems require which formulas, EVALUATE and support your answers using definitions, postulates, theorems, etc., and finally, SYNTHESIZE and connect the concepts you learned from each chapter and section to develop new types of problems.
4. Did the paper/project take care of specific content and assignment guidelines?
The paper/project may be a significant improvement over the rough draft, but still not meet all the expectations the instructor had in mind while grading. Be sure to read through all class notes and handouts relevant to your assignment, and bring all of the information to The Learning Center to help your coach focus the appointment on the right things. When assignment guidelines aren’t very specific, it’s important to make a list of questions to ask the instructor; a tutor/coach can help you prepare the list.
5. Are you using all the opportunities you can to practice strong academic writing habits and get feedback from readers?
Tutors and coaches aim to help students accomplish something tangible during an appointment, but no paper/project gets totally revised in a session. What happens after the session depends on each student’s individual motivation, the amount of time devoted to revision, and ability to follow through on the advice received in the writing appointment. The key to mastering academic writing, and dealing with different expectations in different courses, is regular practice and feedback.