How to Know If Your Student is Really Learning

How do you know your student has gained the knowledge or skill he or she has studied or you have just taught?  Savvy students can often “game the system” and bluff their way to completing learning activities or passing tests without really knowing the content.

Sometimes this happens because publishers underestimate students’ ability to detect patterns to answer choices.

Other times this happens because the publisher’s evaluation method relies heavily on recall type questions, and students with a good short-term memory do very well. However, if the student takes the same test two weeks later, the results will likely be very different.

Just as using a combination of learning methods is typically more effective than relying on just one, so is using a combination of evaluation methods likely to minimize your child being able to pass the evaluation due to gaming, luck or successful guessing. Oral quizzing, asking him to “show you,” writing a paragraph or essay are all good alternatives to paper and pencil exams. Completing a project where the skills and knowledge you want to verify come into play is another way of seeing what has been learned.

Using a combination of evaluation methods can mean the difference between hoping that learning has taken place to knowing it did, and that you’re ready to move on.

That’s the tip of the week!

Curt Bumcrot, MRE

You don’t have to be an expert to evaluate your child’s reading level. I have just finished writing a step-by-step guide for administering a short reading evaluation test at home. It measures speed, accuracy, and comprehension, and can be helpful in determining at what level your child should be reading. Click here to see a sample or to purchase How to Evaluate Your Child’s Reading Level.

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