Effects of crib sheets compared to open notebooks on summative assessment in an introductory high school earth science class

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


My action research project compared the effects of using crib sheets or open science notebooks for student assessment scores. The results did not reveal a noteworthy difference. What I did find significant is students' perceptions that crib sheets are helpful, and I plan to utilize crib sheets next year. My primary action research question was, "What are the effects of crib sheets compared with open notebooks on student assessment in an introductory high school earth science class?" A crib sheet, also known as a cheat sheet, is a student constructed paper that is used to provide help during an assessment. Secondary questions investigated included: How do students perceive the usefulness of crib sheets? How do crib sheets impact student test anxiety? What are the effects of crib sheets compared to open notebooks on the length of time students spend on assessments? How do the results of my research affect me as a teacher? My results mimicked what I found in my literature review. Overall my quantitative results did not support nor refute the use of crib sheets for improvement in assessment scores. Low student participation in constructing and using crib sheets contributed to the lack of conclusive results. However qualitative survey data did indicate that crib sheets could be helpful. The last survey showed that almost half of the students indicated they saw the value of crib sheets for improving their scores. The greatest benefit for me in the immediate future is the direction that this project has given me for next year. I am convinced that the use of crib sheets can aid student learning and performance on assessments. To be successful I believe that students will need instruction in how to prepare a crib sheet. I hadn't anticipated the concern that came to light through my research this past year. This issue is that student participation in learning activities is the lowest I have experienced in my eight years of teaching. I believe the greatest education we can give others isn't learning facts or procedures rather it is gaining the attitudes of positivity and perseverance.




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