Friday, January 21, 2011

Students fail to improve their thinking, study finds

MORE than a third of students are going through university and failing to learn additional thinking skills, choosing instead to take easy subjects and enjoy the social life, according to a ground-breaking US study.

In an embarrassing finding for US universities, a study of test results on the critical, analytical and communication skills of 2300 undergraduate students found that after two years of college 45 per cent couldn't demonstrate any significant improvement. And little further was gained after four years with 36 per cent still failing to show significant improvement.

The study, by the New York-based Social Science Research Council, is based on the results of the Collegiate Learning Assessment generic skills test


Background here. An amazingly naive project. The Collegiate Learning Assessment is clearly just a type of IQ test and IQ is essentially immovable. The finding reported above could have been predicted from the slightest knowledge of IQ research. They are not measuring anything teachable. At most they show that some students become test-wise

Call for phonics in schools as scathing Ofsted report says 1 in 6 British children reach 7 without being able to spell

Bring back phonics and rigorous tests and ‘virtually all’ children will be able to read by the age of six, according to the schools watchdog. Schools can achieve the highest standards if they go back to basics regardless of whether they are from sink estates or privileged areas, Ofsted said.

Phonics – a method of teaching reading which was ditched in the Seventies in favour of techniques such as ‘look and guess’, where the child uses clues in a sentence to read unfamiliar words – are key to pupils’ progress, the report said.

It also claims the biggest barrier to pupils’ learning is their teachers, as the ‘less successful schools limited their expectations of pupils’.

Official figures show one in five children at the age of seven struggle to spell simple words, prompting renewed calls for teachers who have resisted using phonics to ditch ‘trendy’ techniques.

Phonics teaches the letter sounds and then builds up to blending these to form whole words. The technique returned to the curriculum in 2006, but some teachers have been reluctant to readopt it.

Ofsted’s report, ‘Removing barriers to literacy’, focused on 180 schools from 2008 to 2010. The best achieved their results via a ‘systematic approach to phonics’, it said, and this should be ‘central to the teaching of reading’.

It also called for ‘rigorous monitoring’ of pupils’ progress, a view likely to anger teaching unions who are fighting ministers’ plan to introduce tests for six-year-olds.


The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Children who write by hand 'learn better than those who type'

Children and students who write by hand learn better than those who type, a study has revealed.

Something is apparently lost in the brain process when switching from pen and book to computer screen and keyboard. This is because reading and writing involves a number of our senses, according to the scientists who conducted the study.

When writing by hand, the movements involved leave an imprint in the part of the brain called the sensorimotor. This process helps to help us recognise letters. Simply touching and typing on a keyboard produces a different response in the brain, which means it does not strengthen the learning mechanism in the same way.

In tests, two groups of volunteers were asked to learn an unknown alphabet. The first was taught to write the letters by hand, while the other used keyboards.

At weekly intervals their recollections of the alphabet were recorded. And those who learned the letters through reading and writing came out best.

Professor Anne Mangen, a reading expert from Stavanger University in Norway, and neurophysiologist Jean-Luc Velay, of Marseille University, published their findings in the Advances in Haptics journal.


1 comment:

Roma said...

You are so right. The following article explains how Freud influenced U.S. education: