Academic First Year Experiences

  • 2013 Freshman Convocation students smiling at the camera.

Beyond Memorization: Helping Freshmen Learn (AFYE/BCFS Roundtable)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Whitsett Room (Sierra Hall 451)
Hamline University students take a final during the 1930s.
Hamline University students take a final during the 1930s. 


Join CSUN faculty member Erin Delaney (AFYE and English) for this roundtable discussion on exam preparation for students, sponsored by Building Connections for Success at CSUN.  Erin will consider ways faculty can help students understand the difference between trying to merely memorize for exams (on the one hand) and preparing for higher-order exam questions (on the other hand).  In this context, "higher order" is a term well-known to those familiar with Bloom's taxonomy.  The goal is to help students prepare for questions beyond "What is ________?" and more like "Why did X happen to Y?" or "How would you evaluate the difference between M and N?"

Resources from this workshop:

  1. Beyond Memorization:  overview for faculty (.pptx) 
  2. Beyond Memorization: slideshow for discussion with students (.pptx) 
  3. Study Skills worksheet for students (.docx) 

This simple overview of Bloom's Taxonomy (Cognitive Domains) might also be helpful. There are many other versions on the web if you want something more complex, or just different, Erin suggests this version which provides more information and is interactive:

Additional resource (post-workshop):

  • Don't Assume Difficult Questions Automatically Lead to Higher-Order Thinking. Maryellen Weimer, Faculty Focus, 13 Feb 2015.  Weimer summarizes and evaluates the nuanced argument of a longer piece: Lemons, P.P. and Lemons, J.D. (2013). "Questions for assessing higher-order cognitive skills: It’s not just Bloom’s." Cell Biology Education—Life Sciences Education, 12 (Spring), 47-58.