I’m seeking to improve my health – I know, at 74, about time. After my regular workout the other day at the Y, I was having some water as I usually do. At the next table, there was a father (I presume) and his son. The dialogue was apparently preparation for the son’s upcoming quiz or exam. The father was reading the questions with the son giving the answers. Always great to have the parent(s) involved and of course great that the son was assessing his preparation for the quiz or exam. As the title for this post says, “good, but far from good enough.” Some additional observations as well as thoughts / suggestions that I believe would have improved things:
– The father was reading from a printed sheet, most likely prepared by the teacher. If I’m correct in presuming the teacher prepared the sheet, it’s very possible (probable???) the same or nearly the same questions will appear on the assessment. Result: Good grade is no indication of comfortable with the topic. Good grades are possible if get the questions have prepared for. Effective Learning is being able to address situations yielding useful outcomes.
– The father was asking the questions in order. At one point, the son said something for which the father’s response was to the effect, “Remember, after the last answer, this next one is the exact opposite.” Effective Learning includes developing a vision that includes links between facts, uses, assumptions, possible given information, … Not included is the sequencing of things.
– From what I gathered from their dialogue, the teacher had provided the questions and the short answers. If this is correct, it suggests the answers supplied are the correct answers. In the real world, unless the information is defined (e.g., 2+2=4 because ‘2’, ‘+’, ‘=‘, and ‘4’ are defined), no correct answer is known though it does exist. I’d bet the teacher asks the questions for which these ‘correct’ answers are expected.
– The session was totally question and answer practice on limited information. Result: The only assessment prepared for is the same. But aside from quiz shows such as “Jeopardy,” these efforts are essentially worthless for any real world applications.
Bottom line: The beliefs of both father and son were that these questions would be asked, possibly (hopefully maybe …) in the same wording and order, that there were correct answers, and that a good grade would signify Effective Learning.
My beliefs: We educators are doing our students a disservice if we do not prepare them to use their knowledge and skills development to address situations by finding useful solutions. We must facilitate the development of at least four skills (Effective Learning, problem solving, communicating, and working in teams), provide students with assignments that yield experience using them, and assess to learn student progress with the same. Oh, by the way, we have to work with parents to understand that their involvement is important and laudable but that they must advocate for feedback (more than grades) on preparation for success in careers and personal lives – however success is defined.