Concepts, Calculations and Confusion

I’ve been trying to straighten out a few things in my head with regard to conceptual understanding of topics.  Prompted by numerous yet isolated things, I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of several frustrations I have when it comes to assessing learning.

  • Some can’t work out how to answer the question when it isn’t familiar (and likely rehearsed).
  • Some can answer the majority of a question, particularly something that relies on rehearsed procedures, but never get the ‘explain your answer’ bit. Or even seem to notice that it is part of the question.
  • Model answers seem to be very very popular.
  • It is significantly harder to assess the underlying concepts than to test their application. You have to identify the concepts.

It is a muddled list but seems to be interconnected in some way that I can’t yet untangle.

Actually I’m going around in circles and getting tied up in algorithmic problem solving versus genuine problem solving…I’m off to read more in the hope that the circles become more spiral-like with some sense of an end in sight.

Comments please!