Thursday, February 6, 2014

Does this tell us more about the student or the teacher?

It's easy to look at assignments like this and have a laugh at the student's expense. I laugh too. However, I think assignments like this tell us less about the student and more about their teacher and school's priorities.

The real problem here is not that the student's answers are wrong -- they just aren't the answers the teacher wanted. 

My take away from this isn't that this student is a smart ass. My take away is that none of these questions are worth answering.

If we want to try and avoid these kinds of power struggles with students, I have at least three thoughts:
1. What if students were allowed to ask at least as many questions as their teachers on projects, quizzes and tests? 
2. What if we stopped having students merely hand things in to the teacher and started having them share their learning with other people, professionals and their parents? 
3. What if we stopped asking students to fill in bubbles and answer Jeopardy questions and had them share their learning in projects and performances collected in portfolios?


  1. Wow, I really like the idea of allowing students to ask questions as well. It makes learning more interactive and can be just as effective in gaging understanding.

  2. Hopefully it was obvious that this particular test was fabricated to be humorous. As far as your philosophy goes though, I couldn't agree more. I am actually writing a paper on this topic right now. (My thesis statement, word for word: I believe that our current education system gives grades too much value, and genuine learning too little) From a student's perspective, it is so easy to get caught up in grades, and the whole process. I've seen many people give up because of grades, and I've seen many people stress themselves to exhaustion because of them. I not too long ago had a complete mental breakdown over grades, that really forced me to re-evaluate what grades really mean. I love school and I love to learn, and I came to the realization that as long as I work hard, and stay passionate about what I care about, then the grades simply become letters. Nothing but letters. Anywayyyy, one of the requirements for this paper is finding someone else that agreed with our statements. That proved to be really hard to find, so I was very happy to come across this page. So, thank you Mr.Bower for believing in the pure love of learning. I appreciate it and I hope for the sake of students like myself that our system will soon change for the better.

  3. I agree that these questions are not worth answering. This type of true/false, right/wrong testing does not promote actual learning. Speaking from experience, students may be able to memorize answers and pass tests, but the information is soon forgotten. In my opinion, the biggest problem in education is lack of retention. Students must be taught how to understand concepts, why it is important to retain the information, and they must be engaged to do so. Our job as teachers is to learn how to engage them and ask the right questions in the right way to promote genuine understanding, not trash-can learning.

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