Memorization vs. Application In The Classroom

Memorization vs. Application In The Classroom

At one point or another, every student spends a night cramming as many facts and figures into their brain as they can for an upcoming test. They might remember enough of this information to regurgitate it and earn a solid grade on the exam, but these results aren’t always indicative of what students actually understand.

A popular analogy to illustrate this point is the driving test. Just because someone passes the written portion of the exam doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to drive, or that they drive well. In short, the memorization of content doesn’t equate to the application of knowledge in real-world tasks.

Schools certainly aim to equip students with transferable skills, but standardized tests and other forms of traditional assessment often dictate teaching strategies. Because many institutions evaluate instructors based on student performance, they’re more likely to teach to the test for the sake of their jobs. As a result, students don’t always get to practice higher-level tasks that develop skills like critical thinking and problem solving.

It’s not as if these traditional evaluation methods focus on the wrong content — they simply test student comprehension in a less efficient and engaging way. Experiments, presentations, and constructed-response items are just a few ways teachers can assess students more authentically. Not only do these exercises enable students to show what they know, they also promote the “transfer of learning,” which refers to a student’s ability to apply knowledge within a variety of contexts.

When you really look at how memorization and application fit within the classroom environment, the debate actually centers around the larger issue of assessment in schools. Most experts in the field agree that institutions need a combination of testing and authentic evaluation. But as long as students learn how to apply the skills they need to be successful, there really is no wrong answer.

YouSeeU’s video-based software helps teachers authentically assess their students by having them demonstrate their skills in a structured environment. Students can make group presentations, conduct oral interviews, interact with media, and more within our platform. To learn more about how YouSeeU enables more authentic means of assessment, visit our website.