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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Sheets Aren’t Cheats

To the Editors:

As Roald Hoffmann advocates in “Learning and Teaching Strategies” (Marginalia, September–October), I for many years have allowed students to bring “reminder sheets” into tests in my introductory organic chemistry course, which has an enrollment of 400. The practical advantage is that they eliminate the need to guard against cheat sheets. The pedagogical advantages are that (as Hoffmann explains) they test the ability of students to use the concepts and facts to solve problems and they encourage students to organize their knowledge and decide what is important. Coauthor Saundra McGuire’s objection, that students will think that they are relieved of the need to know anything, has not been a problem. Such students do not bother to prepare a reminder sheet. For further discussion, see my 1997 article on this topic in Journal of Chemical Education.

Charles L. Perrin
University of California, San Diego


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