Published Apr 26, 2014
Truthfully... I am still getting a B & can pull off a B+ (have gotten all A's in previous courses) if do really well on my final, but this still bugging so I need to just vent a little here. We are in our 4th semester of an ADN program, so most of the students who needed to be weeded out have been & we have all had much practice with critical thinking questions. I feel the biggest problem was the way the questions were worded & the difficulty in them. A lot of the students said they didn't know what she was asking. There were more difficult questions than usual... they really focused on very fine details not covered in class. In the past professors would give enough information during lecture to critically think through the answer to a detailed question. Our professor, who is new to teaching, was condescending & taught us very basic info, some of which we learned in the first fundamentals class (or just know through common sense). A big part of me feels it is not fair to the students who have struggled to get this far and are now on the border of failing out because of one crazy test. And these are not students who party & goof off on studying, they didn't make it this far for nothing. I mean when students who normally have a 4.0 get an 85 (the highest grade I have heard, and the 2 highest grades are from LPNs) there must be a problem. I guess that is what is bugging me so much. Thanks for letting me vent... I will be going to test review Mon. and need to get it off my mind so I don't just blurt out what I am thinking to the instructor & I need to think clearly so I can understand why the questions were marked wrong.
You will never get all the information you need for the test in lecture. There is just too much to cover. Just study more next time, see what the test review tells you, and keep going. Good luck!!!!
I really hope you pass! You've come this far! Only a few more days til graduation! The seniors at my SUNY school are having this problem with a very condescending teacher that just started teaching. She doesn't respond well to questions at all. They just keep trying to support each other. The end is in sight!
Nurseworks, ASN, RN
We started out our semester this way as well, unfortunately. This instructor is new to teaching lecture as well. I believe out of the 80+ students in the course, all but 3 failed the first exam, spectacularly I might add (myself included). While this would normally lead educators to believe that there may have been a problem with either the testing methodology and/or a curriculum disconnect, ours said it was all on us. Incredibly frustrating.
Your not alone, supposedly our teacher is condescending as well & it's her first semester teaching as well; however, I don't see it probably because I don't take anything personal & some doctors can be 1000x worse, I've had some call me an idiot to my face, or ask me what the #!@* are you doing?
At some schools, or at least at our school you can argue a lot of questions on the test & the instructor will do a test analysis & see how many people got the question wrong, & if more than 50% or so got it wrong, the question is reviewed or possibly thrown out.
I'll tell you guys a little secret. I have constructed exam items SMACK off my ppt. slides EVEN after broad wink-wink-nod-nod hints and students will get it wrong. I'll give you a precise example: Here is the absolute fact put in capital letters in bold type, italics in the lecture: The leading modifiable risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. (There is nothing ambiguous in that statement, right?)
So the exam had several questions about Mr. Jones who is an overweight accountant. During tax season he's glued to his desk and computer not getting exercise and he has to grab fast food when he can. And he has a history of hypertension and sometimes lets his prescription meds (ACE inhibitor) run out but eventually refills it. Under the stress of tax season he is smoking up to 2 packs per day... yadda yadda yadda.
I get to a question about "What recommendation can the nurse make to help Mr. Jones avoid a CVA like his father had" and a HUGE number of students want to tell Mr. Jones to lose weight, stop smoking and get more exercise. They do NOT pick "Closely monitor blood pressure and adhere to medication regimen."
If I'm lying, I'm dying. Serious. Not making this up. Happens semester after semester.
I know you all may not believe this, but faculty are sometimes gob-stopped at the questions students miss in high numbers! About 10% of the time, I can find a wording issue that prompted the students to pick the wrong distractor. Those are just thrown out. Other times, I can see how two of the choices are really close and it would be easy for the students who knew the content to have trouble distinguishing between those answers. So maybe we allow two of 4 distractors to be counted right. Then we do further item analysis. We look at the troubling items very closely but sometimes... like with the hypertension question... no way. The students have to suck it up. (That probably sounds harsh so please tell me where I'm going wrong.)
Here is one thing you can bring up with your instructor that may help everyone involved: Take the learning objectives in the syllabus for every lecture. See if there was content and/or questions relevant to the learning objectives. Questions should not be wildly out of sync. If the lesson objectives were about stroke... the the lecture AND questions from that lecture should not deal with (oh... I don't know...) the Krebs cycle or some dumb thing.
The faculty should be presenting content based upon their established, printed learning objectives... that's what they should teach and test. The objectives are the material the students should study and expect to be tested on. Remember. Your syllabus is a contract between you and your professors.
FWIW. My 0.02
springchick1, ADN, RN
There were more difficult questions than usual... they really focused on very fine details not covered in class. In the past professors would give enough information during lecture to critically think through the answer to a detailed question. Our professor, who is new to teaching, was condescending & taught us very basic info, some of which we learned in the first fundamentals class (or just know through common sense.
This semester, my instructor cancelled class more than we actually had it (we had ONE lecture in the month of March. One!) I still have a B in the class. If I had relied only on my lectures, I would be in trouble. You have to take the initiative to study things that aren't covered in class. Read the book, find other sources to study from. I don't think it's right to place the blame on a new instructor.
Thanks all for the responses.
The problem wasn't that the whole class (including the 4.0 students) didn't study hard or crack open their books for the test. We all didn't make is this far for nothing. The lousy teaching was a part of the reason everyone did so poorly, but that is not my biggest complaint.
Episteme... You aren't coming across as harsh, the example you posted above is a valid question that many students probably over think. When I first started nursing school I used to think teachers were trying to trick me with the easy questions like that leading me to put the wrong answers.
"About 10% of the time, I can find a wording issue that prompted the students to pick the wrong distractor. Those are just thrown out. Other times, I can see how two of the choices are really close and it would be easy for the students who knew the content to have trouble distinguishing between those answers. So maybe we allow two of 4 distractors to be counted right. Then we do further item analysis. We look at the troubling items very closely but sometimes"
This is my biggest complaint. A new teacher, a new test, too many poorly written (& difficult) questions. I know in the past teachers have given points back for questions, I'm not sure if this one will or not. These questions are harder to dispute though as it is more subjective.
203bravo, MSN, APRN
We have the same problem -- 1st semester instructor.. this is no lie.. she does NOT lecture.. she gives us assignments that are based on the learning objectives (not sure where is getting these assignments since all of them have had at least 1 question that is not covered in anyway in our text).. during the next class she divides up the questions among the students had has us present our answers to the class.. then she says this is our study guide, but it's not inclusive and the exam could cover anything/everything presented in the chapters.. then she picks the most obscure parts of the text to question (1 question can from a footnote from one of the charts in the text -- really like anyone memorizes those details).
This course is team taught by another "seasoned" instructor and they both are responsible for 1/2 of our exam.. now more than 15% of the class is currently failing. I have made the highest grade no 2 out of the 4 exams that we have had (last one before our finals in the morning - and one of the modules being tested tomorrow is completely "self taught" we have no instructor prepared materials or any lecture for the chapters in the module) and I have a high B average in the class and obviously it has to be one of the highest if not the highest average in the class.. and like other posters have mentioned some of these students (including myself are 4.0 students)
I'm also ascribe to the thought process that if the majority of the class is failing multiple exams that there needs to be an evaluation on the instruction method and the testing method to assure that both are valid -- not all these students are slacking. And it shouldn't matter what semester you are in - first or last - no student deserves to fail secondary to failure to identify disconnects in either the instructor or bad exam.
Hmmm... All I can say to Springchick is... wow. That can't happen in our school or our state. We're obligated to our State Board and Accrediting agencies to do what we say we are going to do. Especially in quantifiable number of hours of lecture, lab and clinical.
I'm reflecting on much of what you are all saying and it gives me pause. You realize that the average age of nursing faculty is in the mid to high-50's. That means there is necessarily a new generation of nurse educators emerging. And no one makes it into a profession fully fledged. So... likely to be some rough times for students ahead. But you can make a difference.
Hopefully you get a chance to do a course, clinical, and instructor evaluation at the end of each semester. (At least... our accreditors make us compile that data.) The more objective and rational you can be the more you help the classes coming along behind you. I know it is soooo hard to take the emotion out of the experience. But maybe by the time the end of the semester comes, and you are able to put some distance between yourself and this exam... anyway, you get what I'm saying. Try to be constructive. (It's a good professional behavior to cultivate as well. There will be conflicts in your work environment. So get those skills now.)
I also hear what Bravo is saying. Believe it or not, this self-directed (or "flipped-classroom") learning is supposed to be the latest and greatest pedagogy. For some reason, getting students to figure things out together (blind leading the blind?) is supposed to be of greater value than the simple transmission of information (lecture.) This has to do with something called "Bloom's taxonomy" (are your eyes glazing over yet?) There are higher orders of knowledge (according to Bloom) and just absorbing information is low on the scale. So doing these group projects has a lot of cache in the Edu-biz. IOW... your instructors are probably doing things they are told to do... and things they are evaluated on. (Yeah... we get grades too.)
Perhaps you guys could start a thread on how you think you should be taught. What works and what doesn't. Just a thought.
HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD
Over-reliance on lecture is a failing of many students. As an educator, I often wonder why students would be content to pay (a lot of) money just to have someone read the textbook to them - LOL. My teaching model? Students should be reading the text prior to the class & classroom time is spent on activities that facilitate deeper understanding of the material... Yes, this is called "fllipping the class". It is not the 'blind leading the blind'... because activities are carefully planned and facilitated. From an instructor standpoint, it does take a lot more skill, work & preparation to develop classes in this way, and certainly not accepted by instructors who are very traditional or not very competent.
As we progress through increasingly challenging levels of education, we need to accept more responsibility for our own learning. However, I am the first to admit that this precept is not applicable if the course's learning outcomes are only measured by written "tests" composed of arcane & trivia-based items that only measure recall (lowest level of Blooms taxonomy).
I blame the faculty shortage
Not sure which method would be better... the cons to "flipping the class" IMO- If the whole dept is made to do this then like you said unqualified teachers will fail, the text book has to be excellent if students are to teach themselves (there are many that fall short), the majority of the class has to be on board- if many students don't prepare or you are stuck in a group w/ students that aren't prepared the student who does try her hardest will suffer. And your last point about written tests... well none of us are going to become RN's without passing the NCLEX so passing tests unfortunately has become a high priority schools. That would be the hardest thing to change.
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