March 17, 2015

Exams and Brains


…all the brain sees are electro-chemical signals. it doesn’t care where they come from – David Eagleman said something close to this line a few moments ago on the stage in Vancouver during TED 2015, Truth or Dare.

I am presently fully involved in work around the idea of allowing technology on high-stakes exams and David Eagleman’s line illuminated something within that work for me.


I like to think in metaphors, I can be somewhat annoying that way, it helps me to better understand the ideas floating around my mind.

Often, I look at the brain as a metaphor for learning. I love what this line adds to this metaphor in terms of the evaluation of learning.

Think of final evaluation as something (a brain, perhaps 😉 ) that receives certain signals. The exam is a place to make sense of learner input, no matter how it is placed there. If the method of input has no bearing on the signals that are created – why do we need to limit how learners show us what they know, understand, and can do?

image source:

I have been teaching and consulting - from primary school through adult education - since 1996. Currently an education consultant with la Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Îles in Montreal, Quebec, I believe that sharing our stories is the key to getting better together.


Be the first to comment.

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>