Do they really get it, or are they just giving me the correct answer?

This article by Dr Niki Kaiser was originally posted on the Kaye Chem Notebook. I wanted to share it with you in the context of ‘future-ready education’. It is no longer enough to teach knowledge, even if that is sufficient to pass an exam. To succeed in the future, our students need a deep and intuitive understanding of their subject. Few writers address this with either the clarity or the practical teaching background Niki does.



One of the topics I most like to teach in chemistry is ionization energies: explaining their relative magnitudes, and outlining the consequent evidence for a shell structure in atoms. Students must draw on a range of fundamental ideas to master the new concepts that I introduce to them and, although they tend to struggle at first, they eventually “get it”, and the joy that they Continue reading

The Game of Education


Donald Clark is a reliably controversial blogger but a post last month took the biscuit. Based on some recently-published research that cast doubt on the claims of “brain training” software to produce learning that will generalise to other contexts, he concludes that “Gamification does NOT work!” in education. This is like finding a broken-down rickshaw and concluding that Continue reading

Assessing Evaluation with multiple-choice questions

In a previous post I covered the KUE model and bemoaned the infrequent application of U and E in multiple-choice questions. Assessing evaluative thinking in multiple choice may seem the hardest of the lot, because it’s the most abstracted form of learning. In fact, it’s relatively easy provided you are very clear about exactly what you are testing for with each question.

Continuing the cycling theme, I’d like you to imagine you are talking one-to-one with a student, and you want Continue reading

Assessing Understanding with multiple-choice questions

The National Curriculum couched learning achievement in terms of knowledge, understanding and evaluation (KUE), a cut-down version of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This remains, in my view, by far the most practical version for the working educator.

The easiest way to set up an assessment is via multiple-choice questions. Building the technology to serve and mark multiple choice tests is easy; most VLEs support it and there are plenty of Continue reading