Letters to the Editor

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EDUCATION: Dorn on horns of a dilemma

Letter by Roger E. Freiheit, Tacoma on Sep. 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | 4 Comments »
September 17, 2010 11:10 am

Randy Dorn, the state superintendent of public instruction, stated that “we’ll have students taking end-of-course exams in algebra and geometry one to two years after having taken the course. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?” (Viewpoint, 9-5).

For years, educators have told the public that students’ curriculum memories will transfer outside the classroom and be applied in new situations. Educational psychologists know otherwise. In only one year, students forget two-thirds of their algebraic knowledge. Imagine what they will forget in two years.

However, Dorn was very careful to be implicit and never to explicitly talk about forgetting. That would be contrary to educators’ claim of transfer.

Trying to deal with the problem of end-of-course exams and forgetting, while not revealing the public educator’s contradictory claims, is Dorn’s dilemma.

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