Interesting. I got to meet Graham a couple of times before I left Winchester, and he’s producing some really interesting content (as is the FASTECH project):
So what does “improving students” actually consist of? “How to” guides on study skills – how to take notes, how to structure an essay and so on – contain what appears to be sound enough advice (although the similarity between them is both striking and suspicious).
However, attempts to back up this consensus with evidence of the effectiveness of the techniques described have had little success. Students’ scores on “study habits inventories” – questionnaires made up of lists of the kinds of things contained in these books – hardly correlate with examination performance at all. An exception is how to be organised (by managing one’s time, for example). “Organisation” predicts performance where the use of most “skills” does not.
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