Educating the Individual

Learning is an individual activity. Education is a group activity.

To provide individual learning we continually need to know what our student does not know. Knowing what a student does not know lets us select specific teaching that can resolve the gap. However, such targeted teaching can bury a teacher in work. We need a solution that eases teacher burden to enhance teacher-student focus.

We have identified 4 key questions that need to be answered in a learning environment.

Assessment for teaching not sorting

Most student assessment identifies what a student knows. This is not about teaching. It is about sorting success from failure. Find the best student. Find the failing school. Identify who can go on to college. Though such assessments are important, this is sorting not teaching.

SEE: Assessment for sorting winners and losers

SEE: Assessment for teaching

Assessment as part of the teaching process is focused on what a student DOES NOT KNOW. If a student has mastered a concept, continuing to teach it is a waste of effort. We want to focus our teaching on knowledge gaps. When we find an important knowledge gap we can apply a teaching activity to resolve the gap.

Question 1: How do we KNOW what our students do NOT KNOW?


QuizTeq offers an innovative new technology for adapting teaching to individuals.

Watch the video below, let us show you how it works and then read on for the other 3 key questions.

Filling the gaps

When we find a knowledge gap, good teaching will provide materials, experiences, discussion or information to fill that gap. We want to provide the right corrections to the right gaps in a timely way.

The gaps are individual. Large groups may share common misconceptions but in the end, for each student, it is their own knowledge gaps that matter. So much of teaching is ignored because it is not the right teaching at the right time for a particular individual.

Question 2: If we KNOW what they do NOT KNOW, what can we DO about it?

QuizTeq allows you to identify not only which answers are right and wrong but to dig deeper into the wrong answers to identify the various mistakes that students make. Each identified mistake can have unique feedback associated with it. This is your opportunity to teach them what they have missed. This is also an opportunity to lead them to resources that can help with their particular individual problems.

Assessing the teaching

Notice that we are about assessing the teaching, not assessing the teacher. Deciding which teachers get raises, promotions or termination is not the question here. The question is whether the teaching is actually filling the knowledge gaps. Every activity to remediate a knowledge gap needs to be assessed to see if it worked. Was the gap really filled. As teachers we must honestly admit that not every teaching idea we have is a great one.

Question 3: If we DO something to help, how do we KNOW it worked?

Suppose in the winter section of a course we identified 10 issues where students were not learning what is needed. We can then add additional feedback for those issues or modify our primary instruction to teach those issues better. If we reuse the same questions and grading rules in the fall we can compare the analytics for those two semesters and see if the modifications actually improved student performance.

Empowering teachers

If a grade school teacher has 30 students, assigns 1 page of assessment activities per day and teaches 22 days per month that comes to 660 pages of student work to grade every month. Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” is only 460 pages. Not only must the teacher read all of this work, we want quality feedback with directed teaching that will address all the knowledge gaps in each individual student’s work.

This totally unreasonable workload is not better in higher education where section sizes can be in the 100’s with multiple sections per teacher. The costs of this kind of assessment in corporate training would be unsustainable.

Teachers need better teaching tools. We need automatic grading to handle the assessment load. We also need tools that harness the creativity of individual teachers.

Question 4: Will our assessments SCALE up to 100’s or 1000’s of students?

SEE: QuizTeq tools for automatic grading

SEE: QuizTeq new creative question styles