Formative Assessment Task L2.2 – Listening into Writing


  1. Follow the instructions below to make Cornell notes. The following video may also be helpful:

Montgomery, D. (2012) ‘Cornell Notes’ Available at: [Last Accessed 17.5.16]

  1. Listen to the lecture on sibling relationships and make notes using your Cornell notes sheet as you listen to the lecture.
  2. Once you have made your notes on the lecture, look at the transcript and listen again, noting where words and phrases are emphasised. Check that these emphasised points are included in your original notes.
  3. Reflect – in the box below, comment on how you found the experience of making notes from the lecture using the Cornell notes: Was it the strategy helpful? How does it differ from your usual note-taking approach? Were your notes clear? Did you identify the main ideas? Would these notes still be useful in a month’s time? How could you improve on your performance?





























Cornell Notes

Divide the paper into three sections.

  • Draw a dark horizontal line about 5 or 6 lines from the bottom. Use a heavy

magic marker so that it is clear.

  • Draw a dark vertical line about 2 inches from the left side of the paper from the

top to the horizontal line.


  • Write course name, date and topic at the top of each page

Write Notes

  • The large box to the right is for writing notes.
  • Skip a line between ideas and topics
  • Don’t use complete sentences. Use abbreviations, whenever possible. Develop a

shorthand of your own, such as using & for the word “and“.

Review and clarify

  • Review the notes as soon as possible after class.
  • Pull out main ideas, key points, dates, and people, and write them in the left



  • Write a summary of the main ideas in the bottom section.

Study your notes

  • Reread your notes in the right column.
  • Spend most of your time studying the ideas in the left column and the summary at

the bottom. These are the most important ideas and will probably include most of

the information that will be tested.

















This strategy is based on a strategy presented in Pauk, W. (1997). How to study in college (6th ed). Boston:

Houghton Mifflin.

Learning Toolbox. Steppingstone Technology Grant, James Madison University,

MSC 1903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807.



Good morning, everyone. It’s good to see you. OK, let’s begin. Today, we’re going to talk about siblings, and how siblings can differ from one another. But before I get started, I have a question for you. How many of you are the first-born—the oldest child in your family? OK. How many of you are the youngest? The middle? I see. OK. How many of you are the only child in your family? OK, well, I see. Well, no matter what your birth order, I think you will find today’s lecture very interesting. Today, we’re going to look at how sibling relationships—including birth order—can influence later success in life. The results, they might surprise you.

First, let’s look at what the research says about birth order. We’ll start with first-borns. It turns out that first-born children are often very successful. So, the first-born children are often very successful. Let’s look at some of the statistics. Fifty percent of all U.S. presidents were first-born children; 45% of all the female world leaders between 1960 and 1999 were also first-born; and 21 of the first 23 astronauts were first-born. Impressive, isn’t it? It gets better.

Other research indicates that, in general, when compared to their younger siblings, the oldest children in the family are more educated, are smarter, and they earn more money. They have larger incomes. So, the first-born are more… have more education, they’re smarter, and more income.

A recent study looked at a group of people born between 1912 and 1975. The researchers found that regardless of family size, oldest children tend to be more successful. Similarly, only-children also tend to be very successful. In contrast, younger siblings in a family tend to get less education. For example, fourth-born children are likely to get about one year less education than their eldest sibling. So, the youngest gets lea… less education.

And it turns out that middle-born kids—I mean, those born between other siblings—they may have the biggest disadvantage, especially in large families. Studies of families, uh, in the U.S. have found that, compared to first- or last-born children, middle children are least likely to receive financial support for their education and they are least likely to do as well in school. So, the middle child gets the least education.

In fact, with the birth of a third child—so when the parents have a third child—the middle child’s chances of failing in school increase seven times. As a result, middle siblings tend to suffer financially later in life. They earn less pay and are more likely to work part-time jobs. So, the middle child makes less pay.

These are some dramatic differences, aren’t they? So, what accounts for these disparities between siblings? Let’s look at some possible reasons.

First of all, first-borns typically weigh more at birth than their younger siblings. So, the first-borns are heavier at birth. A higher birth weight is a good predictor for educational success. So, uh, higher birth weight means that the mother was eating well during pregnancy.You… you understand what I mean. Another possible reason for the firstborn advantage is that the oldest and only children spend more time alone with their parents, time when their parents don’t have to care for other children. So, the first-born and only-child spend more time with their parents.

So, what does this mean in practical terms? Firstborn and only children, they get more attention, more mental stimulation, and more constructive feedback from their parents. They spend more time in an “adult” environment. So, this can help them to not only succeed in school, but also to develop the confidence and the problemsolving skills that will help them to be higher achievers as adults. Parents tend to have higher expectations of their first-born and only children. And they expect those kids to achieve more. So, parents have higher expectations of their firstborn and only children. These expectations might help them to be more mature, um, and to have a greater sense of responsibility.

All right. So, in contrast to this, middle children grow up in an environment where they are surrounded by other children. They have to compete with other children for their parents’ attention and for the family’s economic resources all the time, from the very first day. There is simply less adult attention and money to go around for middle children. So, the middle child gets less attention and resources.

Youngest siblings, on the other hand, especially if they are much younger, often receive more attention and resources than the middles because the older siblings are growing up and they are more independent. They need less of their parents’ attention, so the youngest child gets more. So, the youngest child receives more attention and the resources later.

Now, before you all start cheering or crying, I want to present some other ideas on the topic. Just hang on. Many experts are skeptical about giving birth order so much credit for the differences between siblings. When it comes to money, for instance, the truth is there are large economic disparities between siblings in the U.S. In fact, only 25% of the income inequality in the U.S. comes from the economic differences between families. The remaining inequalities— 75%—are due to economic differences between siblings, members of the same family. In other words, it is common for siblings—children raised in the same family—to grow up to be quite different and economically unequal.

Birth order may explain some of this disparity, but there are many other factors that can lead to the differences within families and have an effect on development and success. Let’s look at some of these.

One factor that can have a big effect is gender. A number of studies have looked at this. The difference between how parents treat boys and how they treat girls is significant. Parents tend to allow their sons more independence. They assign them fewer household chores, and they don’t criticize them as much as their daughters. Fathers, for example, usually spend more time with their sons and are more involved in their activities and schoolwork than they are with their daughters. This can certainly lead to a differing expectation and levels of success for boys and girls. Don’t you think?

OK, of course, another big factor is genes—biology. All of us are different individuals. Some children will just be smarter or they will inherit traits that will help them to be successful later in life.

Family size is another one. Family size. Some experts say that family size is even more important than birth order, that disparities are more likely to exist between children in largefamilies. This is especially true in poorer families, where resources, such as money, space, parental time and attention, are limited. Some children are more likely to go without and are more likely to suffer negative consequences.

OK, finally, another contributing factor to disparities between siblings is hardship— hardships, or difficulties that they have no control over. Families can experience lots of unexpected hardships: um, divorce, uh, some sort of change in family economics, uh, like a father losing his job, or random events, uh, in the… like a death in the family or a fire that destroys the home. These events can affect different siblings in different ways, and they can have a huge effect on the future success of a child.

  1. Well, that is a lot of information, so I’ll stop for today. I hope those of you who are younger siblings don’t feel too discouraged about all of this. And remember, these are only trends, and certainly don’t account for the uniqueness of individuals or the unique standards within every family.

Next week we will continue our discussion by looking more closely at factors outside the family that can affect a child’s success in life. OK. I’ll see you then.


Frazier, L. &Leeming, S. (2007) Lecture Ready 3 Oxford: OUP