an article is followed by an interesting comment from JD:
If it is possible to “teach to a test” at the expense of a subject, then the fault is with the test.
They must simply be testing facts rather than any understanding.
I’ve discussed this with my engineers who inform me they had very different finals for their Masters than I did.
The norm is multi choice and exams with 30 questions expecting fact recital.
From 30 years ago the emphasis was on very short questions expecting an essay for an answer. Classically this question would be to discuss methods to solve a problem that as yet hasn’t been solved (in this case using the engineering skills you’ve learnt).
I remember 30 years ago being asked one question with a 1 1/2 hour essay.
“Your director of engineering proposes a new product. A Digital Network Telephone with IP Packet based data. Discuss.”
This was years before TBL proposed the WWW – we were being asked to invent Skype in 1.5 hours. This type of question isn’t possible to teach to – especially as the list of problems to be solved is endless.
In the same vein, I had to appraise a Navigation specialist whilst working offshore. He happened to be Malay (this was in Asia). He had a Masters Science degree. We asked him to solve a simple problem with the tools available offshore.
“The ships gyro has failed. How would you use the vessels onboard GPS systems and additional GPS to functionally replace the Gyro providing heading information”.
He couldn’t provide any answer (after two weeks). His excuse was there was no reference to this in any book. He said then the question wasn’t fair – how can you answer a question where you can’t find the answer in a book?
This is where education has gone wrong.