At Education Elements, we devote a massive amount of time and resources to helping our partner schools select digital content that will best serve the academic needs of their students. Whether the goal is to understand fractions, parts of speech, or the events leading up to the Civil War, our team has a knack for knowing right where to look in hand-selecting the best content for any learning goal. But we also understand that academic achievement is composed of many pillars. A student who has skipped breakfast, for instance, may have significant trouble paying attention in class. Another who is experiencing stress with a project partner may fail to turn in an assignment merely due to lack of communication skills rather than a lack of understanding. In more extreme cases, an otherwise bright student may severely underperform due to social exclusion by his peers.
In August of 2013, I emerged from the Department of Neuroscience building at the University of Virginia armed with some controversial test results. Earlier in the month, intellectual curiosity had led me to sign up for a cognitive assessment: a battery of tests representing the best that current educational psychology research had to offer in determining my personal learning aptitudes and preferences. The test results were clear: a small team of talented researches concluded that I was in the “very superior” range for visuo-spatial awareness and reasoning ability—the 99th percentile, in fact—while falling in the “average to below average” range for processing and recall of auditory information. Why was this result controversial?
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