I adjunct teach a class in employment law. I have only three students for this class. I told all the students that attendance at the second-to-last class was mandatory. Do not miss it. And in this penultimate class, I gave my students a gorgeous present. As gift-wrapped as I could make it.
So to prepare for class tonight, I went through the final examination, which I will administer next week. I sculpted a lecture addressing each and every question on the examination. I began my lecture by announcing: “I am about to tell you, in plain and direct language, everything you need to know to get a perfect score on the final exam.” And so I did. If the students paid attention during this last lecture, they will get every question on the exam correct. I did not present the material question-for-question or directly in the order of the test; I did not say things like “the answer to question 54 is ‘C'”. Rather, I worked a discussion point with the correct answer to each question in my substantive review lecture: For example, “There is no reverse discrimination cause of action in an ADEA situation; workers over 40 are protected but workers under 40 are not.” The students took notes furiously.
This is an experiment of sorts. What do you predict will happen? After all, I gave away all the answers. Directly, frequently quoting from the test itself. And I am quite certain that I stated the correct answer to each of the 100 multiple choice questions that are on the test. The last time I gave this test, the average score was 74.8 out of 100 with a standard deviation of .978. (I was quite disappointed and questioned my own abilities as an instructor afterwards. Then I saw that at least half the questions they missed were the easy ones. So I got over it. Their bad test scores were on them, not me.) This will be the exact same test.
My thinking is that if a student did not understand the subject in the first place, the summary will do her no good. So my prediction is that I will see no significant effect whatsoever on student performance as compared to the previous administration of the test when I did not give a “gift-wrapped answers” lecture.
Anyone care to make a little wager on this — the stakes being, say, a post by the loser on the subject of the winner’s choice?