It’s tempting to assume that content covered is content retained. Surely, a student who performs well on an exam has really learned the material. But whenever students are re-tested on material they covered earlier, the results are always revealing — and mostly discouraging. This video explains why.
- If students perform well on an exam, but can’t recall much a few weeks later, did they really learn it?
- What would convince you someone has really learned something?
- Reflect on your own learning experiences. What are things you’ve really learned? How did you learn them? Are these insights relevant to your school’s pedagogy?
- How can we ensure that students are truly learning what they study? Are you willing to experiment with an occasional ‘pop quiz’ on material covered a few weeks earlier? Re-administer final exams a few months later?
Most schools revolve around an instruction-based model — teachers lecturing on topics, students taking notes and cramming for exams. Consider analyzing how much of this material is retained by your students — even (and especially) your high achievers. Come up with a way to evaluate retention, and share insights with your community. Once someone realizes how little is retained, they are far more enthusiastic about re-imagining education.
A wealth of resources, including pandemic-specific suggestions, are available from The Deeper Learning Network.
In this video, Tony Wagner explains the ten networks that are associated with deeper learning.