Harvard Business Review recently posted a great read by an educator on the problems that American education faces from the data-driven initiatives of the Bush and Obama administrations in education.
At Aletheia and our associated schools, we use testing as a secondary means of assessment. Our first question is always: can a student reason their way to their own thought processes? Or, in the words of our mission statement, are our students thinking critically?
Way back in 1999, Dr. Diane Davis, Aletheia’s Academic Dean, wrote a Master’s Thesis on the 4R Method, one of the fundamental tools we use at Aletheia. She compared test scores among traditional private schools with schools that used the methods we now teach at Aletheia.
What she found was that students who entered our method of education had a drop in testing scores the first few years. But, their gain back after 4 years of consistent schooling was greater than traditional and classical methods.
While this is one study, we believe that teaching the whole student to research the facts for themselves, to reason through conclusions of their own research, to relate different studies with each other and to record their thought in various mediums provides more success than preparing kids for testing.
It requires a commitment to not let test scores determine our success.
So, what does determine our success?
Years after graduating from Liberty Christian Academy, Aletheia Christian College, or Precepts Christian Academy, we follow up with questions about the value of education to our students.
We have discovered that students don’t need the same things from schooling. Some students who left our educational system at 16 to get a GED are now running successful careers in construction and engineering. Other students graduated from one of our schools and pursued careers in computer science, in military leadership, in medicine, and in academia.
Testing is useful as a last minute check: did you get that? Did you hear me?
When we teach, we look for so much more than just achieving a majority passing score on exams.