Is it possible to give students too much help? I had an interesting experience this past week – midterm #1, much the same as I have done for the past 4 years. Same level of difficulty, same topic coverage. One major change – I made it open book. Students could bring in the text, their notes, and even last year’s exam with the solutions. Why open book? I wanted to remove the necessity of memorizing facts. I had already told students that the exam would be similar to last year’s so there weren’t any surprises. Well, one major surprise on my part … How did some students fail to achieve competency? I know that test-writing is one of my weaknesses, I know that time was tight. Was it a bad test? After a lot of thought this weekend, I’m confident that the test itself was not the problem. I’m wondering if students delayed learning the material since it was open book. Sort of a false sense of security .. too much security. Just a conjecture and I don’t have any empirical evidence. What are your thoughts?