In K12 we have the staunch defenders of two symbols of the educational landscape status quo – “rigorous” final exams and lecture-hall style seating/teaching. Responding to progressive education models, we’ll often hear these defenders of the status quo shout, “But we need to prepare them for college!” A recent article indicates there may be cracks in (and momentum toward crumbling) the traditional university model/philosophy.
Anne Knock (@anneknock) writes about a move in universities toward collaborative learning spaces and away from traditional lecture spaces: Insights for schools: Trends in university learning space design, big shift from lectures to collaborative learning design. Knock highlights how the shifts at many major universities are representative of a change in philosophy from a tutor/lecturer focus to more engaging, collaborative learning environments.
I recall another article, from nearly 5 years ago, about final exams: Final exams are quietly vanishing from college. Originally appearing in the Boston Globe, the writer described how Harvard University had only 23% of undergraduate classes administering a traditional three-hour, sit-down, blue-book final exam. Another sign of cracks in the traditional university model?
Let’s stop preparing students for the narrow world of university and better prepare them to overcome the real-world complex challenges they will face in the future.
What are your experiences with shifting summative assessments and learning environments at the university level? If these are in fact trends, how should they inform K12 leadership practice?