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.
Check out What School Could Be and our discussion guide to dig deeper.