What we might have to do to check learning has happened. Part II

Recently I tweeted

Learning: When tested can reproduce; when tested later can reproduce; when tested in a new context (same domain) can reproduce.

I am trying to sort out the issue we have where performance is not the kind of evidence of learning we previously may have thought is was.

Part 1 is a blog which tries to identify the issue. This will try to explain a sort of way to move forward. I wish I could be less cagey about this. I am still mulling it all over.

One of the difficulties is that even if we could say that a child had learned something and we tested them today how would we know they had retained and could access and use that learning on a future day? The simple answer is that we cannot. All we can be sure of is that, subject to the vagaries of the testing process, they seemed to be able to show they had learning when they were tested.

So what we need to do is have a process that provides the opportunity to learn, ie teach them and then provide follow ups that challenge the learner and provide them with the opportunity or, better, the need and desire to think even more about the learning.

The more they think, the better the learning.

(Someone quotable must have said something like that, surely!)

So we accept that we can only really say that they know it now. If they know it now and we have done some securing of learning things then they are likely to have learned well enough to be able to find evidence of that learning in the future. Hopefully when they do the exam the learning was aimed at. (Yes, I know about the lifelong learning stuff!)

Part 3, the next blog, will try to identify a structure that will make the retention of learning more likely.

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