Raising Gulp LimitsFebruary 10th, 2012 | Posted by in Blog
In our last article introducing the concept of ‘gulp limits’, we stated our belief that students tend to feel comfortable within a certain mark range and tend to put in only enough effort and attention to stay there. Obviously, it is a big advantage for students if they can bump up that comfort range to a higher level. As it turns out, this is not particularly easy. Students tend to define themselves as one type of student or another (e.g., “I’m a solid B student” or “In science I always get marks in the 80s”) and the thought of simply ‘raising the bar’ isn’t very believable. After all, students have spent years getting results that inform their perception of who they are and seeing themselves in a certain light. Just telling a student to increase their expectations doesn’t do very much. Instead, they need to be shown and here’s one way that we’ve had success helping students increase their gulp limits.
Too often, students fail to carefully analyze the results they get in school. When typical students get their test papers returned, for instance, they quickly scan for the grade, and shove the test to the bottom of their knapsacks. Big error! Results provide all sorts of wonderful clues about how to improve in school, and using this feedback, students can be shown how to analyze tests and the pattern of strength and weaknesses. At StudySpot, we’re able to point out some patterns that most students miss. For example, in looking at a History essay and seeing a 74% grade, students might not notice that they received 2/5 on the bibliography or reference section. If this paper is out of 30, getting an extra 3 on the bibliography represents a full 10% increase in their grade, instantly turning that 74% into an 84%. That fact will surprise many students, especially those who don’t envision themselves as 84% students! Get your child to look carefully at the last couple of math tests he or she has received and figure out just what the mark could have been if he or she reduced careless errors in half, didn’t skip out on homework last weekend, or asked the teacher to clear up that one concept that held them back. The simple message is this: Students rarely realize just how close they are to dramatically better results. Once they see this, it might not be such a stretch to see how to get an 88% on the next test instead of the 75% he or she usually gets.
Working with students and seeing them improve has clear rewards. But nothing is as satisfying as seeing students begin to change the perception of who they are and what they can accomplish.