When Lee Jenkins heard Dr. Deming take 5 minutes to explain the foundation of the LtoJ® process, he never imagined the power it would have in the lives of both students and educators. It did seem like a better process to him than chapter tests, but the change in student thinking was far better than he ever imagined.
He never thought that the simple scatter diagram Deming explained would contain all the data necessary to calculate effect sizes and learn that the impact of LtoJ® was 6 times the average influence upon learning. Still, how could a non-graded quiz taken 28 times a school year have such a major influence upon students’ effort, joy and learning? It was a mystery. The details below provide partial answers to the question. More answers will come as adults listen to the students about their experiences – both what causes them to lose interest in school and how LtoJ® increases interest in school learning.
Over and over Lee Jenkins has been told by teachers using LtoJ® that the students are pressuring them to teach more and they rarely need to pressure the students to learn more. Why does this occur? It is because on the almost weekly LtoJ® quizzes, the students are asked questions on content from the whole school year. Obviously, some of the questions are review of what has been taught and some are preview of what is yet to come. It is the preview that causes students to pressure the teacher to explain more what this is all about. They become curious about content they did not know even existed prior to the preview question being drawn at random. A middle school teacher told Lee that one Friday when they return on Monday they would begin their study of rocks. The students applauded. Never before had students applauded for rocks. Why did this happen? It was because preview questions appeared regularly and each time the simple introduction to the answer did not satisfy. They wanted more. Reason #1 for such amazing results is the creation of a continual desire in students to know more.
Reason #2 is students feel smarter because they see evidence of growth. Students do not mind missing preview questions – the content has not been taught yet. However, they do mind missing review questions. So remembering more and more review questions plus an occasional correct answer on a preview question creates a sense of academic success.
Students do not get tired of genuine compliments. Every time they do better than before there is the satisfaction of an All-Time Best. It could be a designation on the personal student run chart and then a shape with their name on it clustered with all of the other shapes. It could be hitting the gong that is reserved for times when students have personal ATB’s. Even more important, students know they earned the compliment. It is not a gift or an especially nice teacher. It is earned in one way only – doing better than ever before. This is reason #3.
As important as the joy is for personal bests, it is possible that there is even more student joy from contributing to the classroom celebration for All-Time Bests. The contribution of everyone is added up and all can see if the class out-performed prior results. Reason #4 is easily understood in athletics when a team member helps the team win. This same joy has been observed in many classrooms, representing every subject, and every grade level.
Reason #5 is students are provided a list of the surface learning for the entire year the first week of the school year. They know where they have been and where they are going. They monitor their own learning and the pacing of the classroom. They might be heard saying, “Mr. Jenkins, it is mid-April. Are you going to make it? There is a lot left to teach.”
The 3-E’s of effective, efficient and engaging summarize the success principles. Not only do we have the evidence of 6-times the learning, we have the common stories of teachers saying, “I cannot believe the students actually remember in May what I taught them in September.” Then there is efficient. Removing cram/forget from the system saves 25-33% of the classroom time formerly spent in review. Then there is engagement: The learning success graphs are is displayed on the walls.. Students create the graphs, not the teacher.
With LtoJ® the focus changes from method to learning. Students who learn the content are celebrated no matter what method they use to gain the knowledge.