Why don't we do more pre-testing?
When I moved to Iowa from Minnesota, the Iowa Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) didn't test me before it issued me a driver's license. It took into account my long history of driving and my clean record and determined that I did not need to take either a written or driving test. I did a quick vision check, took one of those goofy photos, and I was all set.
Imagine, however, if the MVD, before it would issue me a license, wanted me to sit through a series of classes intended to 'teach' me how to operate a car and drive safely. I would have been completely annoyed. 'Test me now!' I would have exclaimed vociferously. 'I already know how to do this! Stop wasting my time!' By now you're probably nodding your head in agreement, knowing that you'd do the same thing in my situation. Although you'd rather not have to do the written and driving tests again, you'd definitely rather be tested than sit through hours of instruction on material you already know.
Unfortunately this is exactly what happens to our nation's schoolchildren on a daily basis. Millions of students regularly experience curricula and lessons that address content and concepts with which they're already familiar. It's not just the 'talented and gifted' kids; there are plenty of students who know the material in a particular learning unit before they even start. They're just never given the chance to demonstrate their knowledge ahead of time. Nor do they have the opportunity to request to be pre-tested.
What a colossal waste of time this is. Rather than the joy of wrestling with and thinking about new material, students suffer through yet another hour 'learning' old information. Rather than working with children who are eager, interested learners, teachers suffer through yet another group of disengaged students.
I wonder why we don't care more about this? It's one thing to cover the required curriculum. It's quite another to have students cover the curriculum despite the fact that they already know it. As a former eighth grade teacher, I know how difficult it is to differentiate instruction. But it's relatively easy to do some simple pre-testing and at least make an attempt at altering a 'one size fits all' lesson plan. If more teachers did this on a regular basis, they might be surprised at how much instructional time they gained back during the year. And of course they'd also have better baseline data with which to assess student learning growth for each curricular unit. And did I mention the message of respect for students that accompanies the practice of pre-testing?
Why don't we do more pre-testing? Why is it so hard to get teachers to buy into this?
- The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
- Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
- Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
- Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett breaks down what qualities will inspire others to believe in you.
- Here's how 300 leaders and 4,000 mid-level managers described someone with executive presence.
- Get more deep insights like these to power your career forward. Join Big Think Edge.
Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."
- Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
It marks a major shift in the government's battle against the opioid crisis.
- The nation's sixth-largest drug distributor is facing criminal charges related to failing to report suspicious drug orders, among other things.
- It marks the first time a drug company has faced criminal charges for distributing opioids.
- Since 1997, nearly 222,000 Americans have died from prescription opioids, partly thanks to unethical doctors who abuse the system.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.