The Right Answer System

They Right Answer System insists that there is a single correct answer to every question. Students do not have any control over what the Right Answer is. Answers are doled out by the teacher. But the teacher really has no control either. He is simply a delivery mechanism. In today's system, control is centralized. The Right Answer is found in the standardized test and is delivered to the classroom by way of the fixed curricula. Answers are selected not so much because they are important to teach as because they are easy to assess.

What schools are really teaching students through this system is that the formula is the key to success in school. They come to believe that reasoning without the formula is futile, even though this could not be farther from the case in real life. And since they quite often do not know the formula, they react by believing themselves to be stupid and incapable. They develop strategies to avoid getting called on, to avoid taking the risks which are so central to learning. After all, when you have a deficiency, the last thing you want to do is display it in front of 30 of your peers. The stress that comes from this is a real inhibitor to learning. No one can learn if they are afraid to be wrong.

Those who do know the answers are in even worse shape. They wind up believing they know all the answers to life's important questions. Unfortunately for them, life isn't a multiple choice test.

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