Rightly or wrongly, examinations are partly a test of memory. Pupils must thoroughly learn vocabulary, factual details in case studies and technical terms to the point that they can be recalled without effort. Beyond simple recall of information, pupils need to completely understand but also remember techniques for solving problems and recall ideas and their connections to other ideas and to their applications.
Senior Headmaster Dr Paul Owen's Blog
When I started teaching Physics (some considerable time ago) I would occasionally make use of an Open University video clip to illustrate some particular point at A level. The characteristic brass fanfare still summons up visions of blurry pictures of OU lecturers with unusual facial hair and a curious dress sense. This was the cutting edge of online learning in the 1970s with free television transmissions broadcast, in the days before video recorders, at unsocial hours in the early morning.
It is quite understandable that we hope that children will ‘fulfil their potential’. As a parent, it is a comforting thought that my children will achieve as much as they possibly can, supported in this endeavour by home and by school: none of their human talents will remain dormant or even underdeveloped. Part of my job as a parent will be complete and I will demonstrably have been successful. Further reflection, however, leaves me quite uncomfortable with the idea of a prescriptive potential which may (or may not) be fulfilled.