Controversy Corner: 5 Reasons Why “Card Sorts” Are a Waste of Time

Ok, this is Controversy Corner so here we go; Card Sorts. We’ve all them but how effective are they really? Not very is my answer. Here’s five reasons why…

1. They take ages to prepare: Typing up the information is not too bad but then photocopying it 32 times (and that’s just one class set), cutting them precisely before laminating, then collating them can take hours. Literally.

Card sort 1

Four down, only 28 to go

2. Hours to prepare and….5 mins to complete. The balance of preparation time versus task time is way out. A bit like cooking paella.

Long to prepare, quick to eat

3. Do pupils actually think about the activity? Or do they simply read the first few words, spot a date or key term, or line up the uneven cutting  and line them up without actually thinking about what is we want them to learn.

4. “Sir, I’ve only got 11 cards!” No matter how hard you try, one card will always escape every lesson and before you know it, half of the sets are missing a vital piece of information.

Missing card2

“Sir, I’ve only got 11 cards!”

5. And finally, when it’s time to dig out the card sort to use again you realise that whoever used it last didn’t group them all back together properly, leaving you with hundreds or laminated cards, dozen of elastic bands and only 10 minutes till the class arrive.

card chaos

Card Chaos

So that’s what’s in my Controversial Corner. Any thoughts?

James Wise


One thought on “Controversy Corner: 5 Reasons Why “Card Sorts” Are a Waste of Time

  1. Jude Brigley says:

    I tend to agree with you. You need to be sure that the sort is worth making for sound educational purposes. It can become a gimmick and as we know we have to be sure effort in making plus activity = learning.

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