Making assumptions about prior knowledge


A few experiences this week reminded me to take care with my assumptions about students prior knowledge.

  1. I asked students to insert <!DOCTYPE html> at the head of a new document. One student admitted she had no idea how to access the “<” and “>” signs on a keyboard.
  2. Making simple comparative statements eg. drivers_age >= 16. Probably 25% of the class struggle with basic Maths operators ie.  >= and <= when constructing conditional statements in Python. Actually assuming any prior knowledge of Maths is a risk… sad but true.
  3. Comprehension of the contents of a test. The student did virtually nothing. I discovered she could hardly understand a word – her reading skills were not developed sufficiently.
  4. When asked to attach a file to a gmail – 25% of the FB generation had no idea how to do it.
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