Why Old Western Culture has no self-graded quizzes

Several years ago we produced self-grading quizzes for a unit of Old Western Culture as a trial. They worked great, and demonstrated that students were paying attention to the material.

But we decided not to publish them. Here is why.

While self-grading quizzes can be very useful, especially for subjects like math and language, we wanted to emphasize the “recitation,” or Socratic dialogue use of the workbooks for Old Western Culture. Ideally, the workbooks shouldn’t be used for mere comprehension, even if they accomplish that, but as a jumping point for discussion. Grappling with the questions from the lectures and readings of Old Western Culture is where the learning is internalized. It is where it becomes most profitable to students (and parents!), and becomes part of who they are.

It is possible for a student to get a perfect comprehension score on a self-graded multiple choice exam, and yet truly learn very little because it was rote memorization. It is equally possible for a student to score poorly on such an exam, and yet walk away with riches that will last a lifetime because what was retained transformed the student.

Old Western Culture is a family-integrated curriculum. Its format allows parents and younger siblings to have meaningful participation even if they’re only watching the videos. So, we encourage you to watch the videos as a family, and discuss the timeless questions as a family, co-op group, adult study group, or in an online class. This curriculum can be used alone, but a student will profit immeasurably more by grappling with the ideas found in the great books with others.

by Daniel Foucachon on Posted on

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