Why Do We Evaluate Students at Their Lowest Level of Thinking?–Reflection Three

Excerpt from my blog How to Stop Flunking Your College Classes:


stop“For some reason we live in a society that places value on temporarily memorizing stuff. In the real world you can pull out your phone and type in, “What is the difference between maintenance rehearsal and elaborative rehearsal?” and you will get 14,900 results in approximately .47 seconds. People who can remember stuff sound smart, but interestingly enough on the spectrum of thinking skills, memorization is at the bottom. Intelligent people understand what they have learned; they can analyze and conceptualize and support their opinions using facts and details (which they can pull up on a phone in less than a half second).”

The brutal beating my son suffered as the result of bigotry and hatred last weekend reinforced my belief that moving students beyond memorization skills is key to preventing these types of events. I believe the value we place on our ability to to use this lowest level of thinking is hurting our society. I hope someday, there won’t be a need to write a blog post on how to study for a test which sadly right now seems to be the only thinking skill necessary for surviving college.

Having said that, this is an introduction to a post I wrote on how to study for a test on a blog I have called How to Stop Flunking Your College Classes. It is a long post that compares using tech to memorize information versus using tech to learn the material. It addresses all of the items for this week’s reflection, so I am including the link here instead of copying and pasting the entire post. In the post, I explain how using a flashcard site like StudyBlue.com to create flashcards and review quizzes is a great way to temporarily  memorize information (lowest level of thinking skills), however, if one needs need to know and understand the material in order to proceed with what one wants to do with one’s life and/or education, one will want to utilize the highest level of thinking skills to study for the exam and develop a comfortable and confident level of understanding.

I explain in the post that in my opinion the best way to learn something is to understand it well enough to teach it to someone else. Of course the first step to teaching it to someone else, is learning the information. Sitting and listening to the information in class is not really learning. One needs to take the key concepts one hears in class and read about in one’s text, and do something creative with them. If one does not understand them well enough to do something creative with them, one needs to gather more information.

Below is an example I included on how to use higher level thinking skills to “create” a product (using a variety of Web 2.0 tools) about the material one wants to develop a deeper understanding of. Please keep in mind the audience for this post is struggling college students. I used creating an Animoto about lower level thinking skills as my sample product (if you are interested, you can view it on the original post).

*Coincidentally, Halloween was the 30 year anniversary of the party we met at.

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