Short-term Memory vs. Understanding

Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher


As I explained towards the end of my latest post, Measures of Math Lab Learning Outcomes, students in my math lab course were provided the answers to their spring final exam the day before their final.   There were several reasons for my doing so, which I detail in the post.

I also speculated that a student’s score on the final exam did not measure their learning as much as it measured the contribution of their short-term memory, at least in certain cases.

The Data

The data series titled “Spring Final Exam” is shown with blue circles in the following figure.   This data series reflects student scores on the final exam on a correct versus incorrect basis; that is, whether a student chose the correct multiple choice response irrespective of whether they knew it was correct or not.

The adjusted final exam scores, titled “Adjusted Spring FE,” is…

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About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Independent consultant and junior college adjunct instructor. Former secondary math teacher who taught math intervention, algebra 1, geometry, accelerated algebra 2, precalculus, honors precalculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Statistics. Prior to teaching, I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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