An educational idea that evidence doesn’t support

Good morning,

Over the last week or so, the IR office has been prepping the various large-scale surveys that we send out annually to first-year and senior students. After a couple of years of administering the same survey instruments, it’s tempting to just “plug and play” without thinking much about whether the questions we’ve been asking are actually supported by the evidence we have gathered previously or are even still relevant at all.

Although there are good reasons to maintain consistency in survey questions over time, it is also true that we ought to change survey questions if they no longer match what we are trying to do or what we know to be true. Because we are human, we can get ourselves caught rationalizing something that we think ought to be so at exactly the time when we ought to do something else. It isn’t uncommon for us to believe something to always be so because it either seemed so at one time (and maybe even was so at one time) or because it appeared to be so in one instance it seemed like it ought to be so in every other situation or context.

Last week, I read an article in the Atlantic about one such educational “best practice” that subsequent research seems to have debunked. It’s not a very long article, but what it describes might be important for some as many of us are designing and redesigning classes for the new semester calendar.

The Myth of ‘Learning Styles’

A popular theory that some people learn better visually or aurally keeps getting debunked.

Hmmmmm  . . . . .

Make it a good day,

Mark

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