From a discussion on teaching post-calculus mathematics

How do we want students to know the things we want them to know?

How about, "When my students start my course, I want them to be able to recall, explain and use everything they have studied before."

recall means recite definitions and theorems;

explain means teach me or another student these definitions etc, pointing out, in their own words, what the ideas mean to them; this will probably involve dialogue and lots of examples;

use means extend the ideas to different situations, tackle novel problems, etc.

I think it is useful, when stating objectives, to use verbs which can, in some sense, be assessed. The above needs to be unpacked even more and precise "content" statements made.


Ken Houston
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Professor S. Kenneth Houston
School of Computing and Mathematics
University of Ulster
Jordanstown, Newtownabbey
Co. Antrim
Northern Ireland
BT37 0QB
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