eric mazur – on ap

eric mazur bw

kids coming into harvard with  5 on ap tests not doing as well as kids that haven’t taken the test or class. we’ve gotten so good at teaching to the test, with little time/energy to get our hands dirty, to grok.

one of most important skills in life is how to learn.

find/follow Eric’s work here:

on wikipedia

eric mazurs site

things he’s working on: confessions-of-a-converted-lecturer


june 2014:


nov 2014:

Talks @ Google Presents Kara Miller and Eric Mazur

42 min – how easy it is to reignite curiosity.

50 min – on moocs… helps prof question what they’re doing – rather than stay happy with things way they are.. moocs themselves only perpetuating transfer of knowledge rather than engagement

52 min – in a certain sense – content is irrelevant.. because we don’t know future

suggesting backward by design – wiggins et al

59 min – how to push from synchronous to asynchronous mode

1:00- india – taking teacher out of it – mumbai – total granny crowd ness.. facilitator (social worker)  doesn’t know .. she just facilitates peer learning. – fantastic – i always thought teacher had to be above/ahead of student.

1:04 – assessment  – kids weren’t learning to learn – they were learning to pass the assessment

1:05 – for 5 yrs i tried to change the ap test.. most tests don’t assess thinking skills, rather memory skills

nov 2013

Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning

40 min – his gradual release of open book test ness

46 min – learning during exam.. no grading

49 min – like we did pilot year.


jun 2014:

Peer Instruction for Active Learning

2 min – it as like a hollywood show, and i did high on my ratings, and students did well on their tests… but it was a illusion

5 min – student asking – should i answer how you teach us or how i think.. kids could do the text book problem.. they were approaching the physics as recipes… memorizing.. not understanding the principles

7 min – half got it – so i gave them 2 min – and to explain to each other.. and then they all got it.. key is learning from the person who has recently learned it… ie: mazur knew it too well to understand the struggles with learning it

like our every 5 min pause..

what pinker calls – the curse of knowledge

10 min – peer instruction facilitated by me

11 min – you don’t learn by listening.. but by doing.. and this brings the doing back into the classroom


may 2015:


On deep, engaged learning #edchat

Original Tweet:


from livestream:

Lezing Harvard professor @eric_mazur: ‘Assessment: the silent killer of learning’ #TourDeMazur

when study w/flashcards… remember 80% in 2 days, remember 35% in 1 week, nothing really in 2 weeks

not allowed to use iphone during exam… so forcing flashcard short term memorization

14 min – i’ve spent years.. banishing lecture as mode of regurgitation… i saw assessment too.. really focused on ranking/classifying students… and we do a very poor job at that…

what is the purpose of assessment.. why do we do it..

24 min – from audience: to prove valuable, to rate/rank, to rate prof/course, to motivate students to work, feedback to students/instructors, accountability, …

25 min – assessment doesn’t test problem solving.. it tests inauthentic problem solving

28 min – bloom’s taxonomy – bottom – remembering facts… top – creativity… in most ed, including he, we do not even get to level 3.. applying… we’re stuck at the bottom

31 min – if you can’t take what you’ve learned and apply to a new context.. you haven’t really learned

32 min – enrico fermi – manhattan project – estimation problems – fermi problems… best approach .. is to reason through it.. breaking to bits and estimating quantities..

36 min – skill that students hate – making assumptions… frightening.. but ability to make assumptions is what distinguishes individuals… it’s critical… so why rob students at opportunity to train those skills..

38 min – on others – students – wanting someone else to make the assumptions

39 min – if you had done this problem before… it would no longer be a problem

40 min – take problem from top of bloom’s and make it easy to plug into an equation – have moved it to the bottom

41 min – on tech being able to fill in memory/calc et al… so what we need is ability to solve/reason through authentic problems…

43 min – assessment in a sense … kills creativity

44 min – pic of assessment – solitude… cut off from tech/people.. when in life are you cut off from people/info.. why assess in a situation they’ll never encounter in their lives..

49 min – on harvard bomb threat.. postponing exams for 3 days – problem for them.. they had already studied.. shouldn’t we learn/study for life..

50 min – studies show if there is a grade on the exam… students ignore the feedback.. if no grade… improves learning

51 min  – last 3 yrs … no assessments.. pbl… assessment creates a conflict.. because i then become a judge..  coaches or judges… how can we be both.. i’m thinking education are just one big cartel… robes at graduation enforce that..

52 min – how do we get away with this judgment in ed… by hiding behind a thin vail of objectivity… .no feelings…  right or wrong… on bloom’s which skills can you assess objectively..? bottom..

54 min – there’s grade inflation, cheating… why would a learner cheat… have you ever seen a 4 yr old cheating …

55 min – cheating is not a problem with students… cheating is a problem with assessment

suggestion: 1\ mimic real life.. let’s not cut them off .. info should stick not because someone says – trust me you need to know this.. but because it’s used over and over

57 min – giving ie of using siri… when not used often.. and if use it often.. via siri .. then it sticks… because i needed it enough..

spot on.. now – we need that to be equitable…

let’s do this first: free art-ists.

a nother way

ed is what is left after what is learned is forgotten – quote

59 min – what does access to google do (during assess) – it eliminates that bottom .. of bloom’s

1:03 – clip of indonesian students.. taking a test in stats.. laughing talking et al..

what we did in pilot math – when i was learning from/skyping with you.. we have to move beyond this.. we can. we can’t not. for (blank)’s sake.

why have we not yet.

1:06 – no longer about answer.. but reasoning toward answer… on aha moments – learning from each other during assessment…

isn’t that short term .. likely.. ?

1:09 – ie of his analytical tests – open ended – what is derivative of 3x^2-6x

oh my.

then clip on group exams he gives.. seems taking an exam is still taking an exam. still looks like potential towards short term ness..

1:16 – on g wiggins and backward design.. as how you solve problems in real life…. what am i going to accept of evidence of learning outcome… what instructional approach will i use for that outcome.. you’ve thought about assessment while designing course..

oh my.

re enforcing my suggestion of purpose of assess: money

ie: go ask my students and you can see what they learn… so now course is the time period for learning..

1:19 – being able to assess own learning – meta cognition… we provide little opportunity to assess own self

spot on.. but w/tech capability we have now… that assessment should be on whatever.. we want it to be.. everyday.

so..seems you are perfecting assessment/courses/ et al… when perhaps that isn’t the point… of life.

1:22 – we must rethink assessment.. unless we do.. our assessment will never tell us who is going to be successful/unsuccessful later in careers…

irrelvant quote vinay

1:24 – would love to eliminate grades.. how can you assess an individual with a number.. grades are not an adequate reflection.. really don’t tell us what we need to know..

can we really rate others.. what do we really need to know..?

self-talk as data..

1:28 – question on money.. and why giving exams.. because always giving exams.. math dept.. 18th cent..

1:30 – a: what we need to do… discuss what goal is of education…

perhaps that’s why we have not yet.. no? perpetuate\ing not us ness…

1:31 – on hiring…

sounds like this is a focus/purpose for him (eric) on why we need to rate and/or on life.. (ie: future success as job)

1:32 – q: how to teach students to make assumptions a: have it be a competition.. they’ll do anything to win.. then use skill in evaluating own work.. so continuously re enforcing cycle..

or.. we don’t wrench it out of us when we’re 5.. no? let’s go deeper than fixing us after we’ve made us not-us..

1:35 – q: should we be testing for job success  a: i agree with you.. ie: businesses already do their own tests.. very many look at transcripts… current system is not very good.. i totally agree… ie: we rate someone high and then not successful at job.. and vice versa

1:37 – q: group formation a: not random, not self-selected, .. we engineer the teams.. ie: no single gender, no teams with 4 males adn 1 female; spread across ages; spread across those with self-efficacy (ability to succeed in certain field); attitudes toward learning, ie: mix in self-directed ness… otherwise will re enforce thinking.. i didn’t enroll to teach myself..

so who does this in real life.. ? this engineering teams ness..?

last slide – his more info with pearson dot com



in Aaron‘s writings of unschooling in – the boy who could change the world.. he writes of Eric, ie:

p 296 – they couldn’t detect any diff – not eve between the award winning teacher and one who read from the textbook. measured by a simple test like this, all were equally bad. it didn’t make a diff what the teachers did; the students still didn’t learn anything… well i felt challenged, mazur recalls…

p 297 – according to what you taught me or according to how i usually think about these things… how was he (mazur) supposed to answer that ..

p 300 – mazur was shocked to see that there were students who aced the traditional question but flunked the conceptual one. even more shocking, there were no students who did the reverse – there was nobody who answered these basic questions perfectly and then went on to fail the harder parts of the test. no one.

p 301 – it was not the she could not make the classroom analyses; her vector addition was, by itself, faultless. it is more that her naive physics and classroom physics stood unrelated and in the is instance, she exercised her naive physics..