Imagine for a moment that all human beings had the same IQ, but that some of us knew how to tap into it better than others. How would we approach education differently?
For starters, we wouldn’t have to concern ourselves nearly as much with boosting students’ academic confidence. If a student knows she has the same capacity to succeed as her fellow learners, then she’ll be less likely to give up or drop out. In a similar vein, students would view test scores not as measures of self worth, but as evaluations of a chosen learning strategy. When Johnny sees that, despite his best efforts, he scored twenty points lower on the biology exam than Sally, he thinks, “I’m approaching this the wrong way” rather than, “She’s smarter than me.” And he then goes on to improve his memorization technique or ask more questions during the next unit.
Many of us approach a concept with the same potential to learn it, but it only ends up sticking for some of us.