Re: Reforming Education

Clint O'Dell (
Thu, 07 Oct 1999 12:06:41 MDT

>The trouble with preventing teachers from allocating the credentials
>themselves is that it makes it impossible for the teacher to grade based on
>performance in class.

>"Who cares," you might ask, "so long as the student passes the test(s)?"
>The trouble with THIS attitude is that it promotes cramming, as students do
>no work during the year, cram to pass the test, and then forget the
>material. Providing incentives to work throughout the year is a valuable
>part of the educational process.

They will have to work throughout the year to do well on the tests I propose. Also teachers will need to adopt some new motivational strategies to stay competitive. If students in one school are cramming it will show when compared with students who don't and get better scores. The teachers can look into the modivational and teaching strategies the more successful schools use.

>There's still room for a private credential organization, but ideally it'd
>be one that gave tests once a month, or ideally bi-weekly, on a
>progression of material, up until the final. However, once you're talking
>about bi-weekly standardized exams, the administrative costs may begin to
>increase rapidly.

I was picturing yearly tests. There is a lot of material to cover in one year. It is very unlikely to have any cramming strategy that will make a difference on a test covering a years worth of material with fill in the blank, descriptive answer tests. In my opinion essays are the best way to test a persons understanding while multiple guess doesn't show anything about what a person knows about the material. Also, the tests will go over many different subjects. Some subjects many students may not have learned yet to off set those schools who go above and beyond curriculum.

With test answers being hand written, we will need a large staff to go through them and check the answers manualy, for the moment. In the future we should have AI programs that can do this for us.

On motivation and teaching strategies I like to see material at work. I think there should be more practicle real world application problems for every piece of material taught. Today schools teach application be measuring heights of ladders from triangulation. To me that's not important because I never measure heights of ladders like that. It's faster and more efficient to eye it and make an educated guess from memory of distances. Instead students should build houses (or something along the lines of engineering) to teach geometry and other subjects. I recommend VR. Initual start-up costs will be high but then we don't have to by materials or pay for field trips afterwards. Also, we can safely "interact" with the environment and make learning a lot more fun and insightful.

Get Your Private, Free Email at