A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Test-Taking Cements Knowledge Better Than Studying, Researchers Say - NYTimes.com

Test-Taking Cements Knowledge Better Than Studying, Researchers Say - NYTimes.com

An interesting comment by Howard Gardner, suggesting that the results of the study "throw down the gauntlet to those progressive educators, myself included." I suspect that the process of testing may have somehow stirred emotion and the brain's reticular activating system (RAS) better than other learning procedures used in the study.

The RAS must be activated before new synaptic connections can be made. It would be interesting to learn more about the study participants and how the study was constructed before coming to too many conclusions. Anyone who has ever witnessed a Black Belt Test, or has played team sports, or performed in a school play understands how a certain amount of pressure can bring out the best in people. Strictly rational/logical thinking doesn't exactly excite most people, but a challenge often does.

My concern is when testing is used as a blunt instrument or when too much is read into the results, whether positive or negative.