Thanks to an e-mail tip, I’ve stumbled across what looks like a very nicely-written blog about education by a psychology and education professor, which is just getting off the ground. For instance, take a look at his most recent effort, a how-to about how to inflate your student’s grades. After all, you could ask your students this question:
The third president of the U.S.A. was:
A. John Adams
B. John Hancock
C. James Madison
D. Thomas Jefferson
Or, you could ask your students this question:
The third president of the U.S.A. was
A. George Washington
B. Thomas Jefferson
C. Bill Clinton
D. George W. Bush
In theory, both questions test the student’s mastery of the same body of knowledge in history. But you needn’t be an expert in educational theory to confidently predict that you’ll get a higher percentage of correct answers to the second question because the first is “tricker.” You can decide for yourself whether you want to commend or condemn the student who attempts to justify his answer of “John Hancock” or worse yet, Peyton Randolph or Thomas Mifflin, after getting the unfavorable results back.
I’ll let Prof. Stillman take it from there, and I commend his blog to all my Readers.