School Testing & True Knowledge

On the cusp of the closure of yet another school year, I ask you to consider the following premise: What is true knowledge?

This question strikes at the function of schools, which we vastly assume give us the essential knowledge to be successful in life. First, though, we should review what the denotation of ‘true knowledge’ consists of, since it is quite essential to understanding how we can incorporate more of this meaningful learning in our school.

Knowledge should be desired, it’s something that you must want to obtain from what you are learning. You cannot expect to just memorize information as it is given to you, but rather you must take it in and break it apart to understand it – and redefine it.

Knowledge is based off of learning, which can be divided into three levels: (1) defining terms precisely, (2) identifying terms when a writer uses them, (3) applying the terms in personal and public environments.

To understand the misconceptions of true knowledge, you must identify where it does not exist. When you look at a seemingly good-looking school, you think Wow, the kids in this school must be really smart and well educated, but the truth is that the façade doesn’t tell you anything. If you take away the bricks, fancy architectural style, etc. you really see what the school is made up of, not in a material way but in terms of what learning is going on.

School systems’ grading paradigms do not accurately test students’ knowledge.  What the schools so widely assess students on is whether they can regurgitate/ recollect. Yet the true reason for school is to gain knowledge and utilize it to you advantage – what’s going on here?  According to Theory of Knowledge teacher Mr. Silver, “The holy grail is SYNTHESIS – The bringing together of (elements or compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for new situations.”

The school system’s fallacy should be brought up and changed by creating a testing system that would require students to understand what they learned and apply it to other situations.