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From an all exams to an all projects oriented educational system for better learning.


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#1 fay's unKle

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 12:28 PM

The majority of students study for the exams and just before the exams. At the most they will do some homework during the term, if it counts significantly for the grade. (Most of the time though, only 10% in college.) This is not the best way to add knowledge, that is studying the day before the examinations under pressure, doesn't function very well for learning sufficiently in depth, we must admit.
 
Wouldn't be better for learning, to continuously work on (creative) project assignments, (that require critical thinking) so studying will spread smoothly along the term, without being left for the day  before the testing, with the main objective of studying to be: "Let's ' pass' the exam, nothing else counts now". In a way it will resemble open book exams but a lot more enhanced in the content requirements. You don't need to memorize, you need to comprehend, study with "critical" mind
 
When you go to work, you don't work with what you (forcibly) memorized (most all it's gone anyway) you can use  among them only what you learned in depth how to use, and most importantly procedures to accomplish tasks for applications, not dates, unecessary names and formulas, all references/books will be available.  Also very important is to learn how to work on the subject, and know how and where to find more, to be so aquanted with the subject, that'll be able to find your way around new knowledge on it, as required, without an instructor, (he's gone)
 
 
But then how the system will be secured against cheating. Projects usually is work that require time and can't be done in class, can't keep the students in there for, say, two days, maybe hours at the most.
 
 
Do the educational system designers and administrators, who grew up and excelled (that's why they were chosen for positions to dictate policy and decide for others) in this system, understand the subject and know so much more than us, for their judgment to be correct and conserve for a century (since education was spread to the masses) the general frame in education.
In antiquity Plato, Aristotle and Euclid were teaching and testing their students differently in their academies.    
 
 
 

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#2 studiot

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 01:06 PM

Don't you think both methods of assessment have their place, along with others that you haven't mentioned?

Why does it have to be one or the other in an all or nothing manner?

 

I couldn't make head nor tail of your last paragraph, perhaps because it was so wan besides the bright lights of the first four.

 

Could you please explain what you are trying to say?


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#3 fay's unKle

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 01:42 PM

I think testing students with exams and projects is the middle road. Maybe it can serve as an intermediate while going to complete transformation. I agree that doesn't  have to be one or the other in an all or nothing manner, but only if the main judgment for the final recognition of acquired knowledge doesn't lead to:

 

The majority of students study for the exams and just before the exams.

 

 

 

 

 .....along with others that you haven't mentioned...

Please  mention them for my enlightenment.


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#4 CharonY

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 04:28 PM

While I largely agree that the focus on exams is overall detrimental, I will have to say that many stakeholders, including students often object to project-heavy courses. One reason is that evaluations can feel arbitrary (though, to be fair, any evaluation to some extent is) and often there are extremely time-consuming discussions on whether those are fair.

 

To some degree I do not understand the focus on fairness (mostly because I am cynic), but from the viewpoint of those that are involved in the process (educators, students and administrations) tend to prefer the road of least resistance. Ultimately, most really only start to work on a proper project in Honour's theses or when they start their Master's or PhDs. That part often comes as a culture shock for many. However, it basically only works because every student has a direct supervisor, which is unworkable in courses with 200+ students.


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#5 KipIngram

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 04:35 PM

I think the traditional approach works just fine.  The stuff you do prior to an exam is supposed to be a review, not the totality of your studying.  My typical courses in college had either two 1.5 hour or three 1 hour lectures a week, and I had a syllabus that specified what we'd be covering, so I'd read in the textbook on that topic prior to the lecture.  The most significant part of the whole learning process, in my opinion, is almost daily reading of the subject matter and working out of practice problems (some of which is official homework and some of which is just me working problems from the book).

 

But your statement that cramming before exams isn't the best way to learn is of course true - learning should be spread out over time and done gradually.  You're supposed to do that yourself - not rely on an imminent examination to trigger your studying.


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#6 OldChemE

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 01:23 AM

The concept that students cram before an exam, instead of learning steadily is not true for many disciplines.  In sciences and engineering, exams often focus on the ability of the student to solve problems, rather than on memorized facts.  As such, the exam is actually asking students to demonstrate problem solving skills just like those done in class and for homework, with the only distinguishing quality being that during the exam they have to show that they actually have the skills themselves, while in the case of homework they may have completed the work with help of someone else.  I believe this is a valid purpose above and beyond projects.  Which is why, after I retired from Engineering and took up teaching for 7 years, I built my exams in Science classes just this way, and graded those exams on the basis of demonstrated problem solving skill, not just on correctness of the answer (in fact, in my exams, students were required to show their problem solving methods in order to receive a score-- a numerical result alone, with no supporting calculations, was an automatic zero no matter how correct).


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#7 fay's unKle

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 05:12 PM

 

..........In sciences and engineering, exams often focus on the ability of the student to solve problems,....... 

ABSOLUTELY WRONG

 

 

 

 

 

The stuff you do prior to an exam is supposed to be a review, not the totality of your studying.

 

 

Nice dream. Did you notice the word majority I mentioned.

 

..... often object to project-heavy courses.

 

Along with exams ?

 

 

P.S.    Maybe some other time for more.


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#8 Area54

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 06:22 PM

ABSOLUTELY WRONG

Absolutely is quite a large word. (Especially in your chosen font.) Do you have any evidence that in all the exams, on all the science courses, in every year, at every university, in every country, there is no frequent attention to problem solving in the examinations? If so, I would be interested in seeing the evidence. If not, I can treat it as an unvalidated opinion.


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#9 OldChemE

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 01:27 AM

I would be interested in knowing what the statement "absolutely wrong" means?  If it means that it is wrong to test problem solving skills, then I would have to disagree-- there is no place in science or engineering for people who do not have problem solving skills.  If you mean that the statement is not true, then you are wrong or misinformed.  I took exams all through university that required demonstration of problem solving skills and I wrote many, many exams myself as a High School science teacher that required problem solving skills.  To paraphrase what I said in my earlier post, the key distinction between a project and an exam is that only in the exam can the teacher know with a fair degree of certainty that the results truly reflect what the student can do, as opposed to what the "student (and friends and internet)" can do.  This is important to know.  It does not, of course, determine the entire grade, but it is important.  Projects cannot provide this degree of insight.


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#10 Trurl

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Posted Yesterday, 02:37 AM

“Absolutely Wrong” means you failed the test. The test was to see if you agree that tests are bad. You got the wrong answer and failed. How do you like tests now?

 

Seriously though, I agree that tests have many flaws. Kids who study the answers or cram does defeat the purpose of leaning the material.

 

Without going into all the details, we are already aware of I will say simply, that testing is like money in that no one can find a better system. Captain Kirk wondered how they built ships in Picard’s 24 century where money had been eliminated. You can do things to improve the testing frequency, but eliminating it requires the invention and implementation of an entirely new system.

 

I have taken a few education classes and they swear by: create measurable objectives that support the topic being taught; then evaluated (test) based on those objectives.

 

fay’s uncle did give a topic of great debate. The question isn’t if testing is good or bad, but what are the solutions to fix it.


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