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Tune up Your Teaching

by: Chuck Downing, Ph.D.


Most teachers today pay lip service at least to the idea that students need to think conceptually. Many would agree that, in our information society, conceptual understanding is more important than factual knowledge. Toward this end, many teachers try to implement conceptual assessment strategies in their classes.

Frequently, the result of this implementation attempt is frustration–student answers fail to exhibit either depth of understanding or the ability to relate one topic to another, or both. Comments like, "I can't believe how much my students did not learn," or "My students can't handle conceptual assessments," abound in offices and faculty lounges. (Actual comments are likely to be much more colorful than these sterilized samples.)


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