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To see innovation, you must first be an innovator…

But, nobody starts out that way in education. It is all so innovative, that a person cannot even see what’s in front of them. Sometimes the system cannot even see root needs. When I first became a teacher, it took some time to understand that.

I began my teaching career in 1994, as a special education teacher. During this early part of my career, I was able to spend the time and energy to decipher how students were thinking. A reasonable class size made this possible, meaning I had at least one hour per week to dedicate to each child, where I obtained great insight.
If I could determine where some part of the student’s educational structure pattern was weak, I could work with that student on that specific missing part. Using this process, I could help a student get through a larger learning problem.

I was able to watch and study when I had a bit more time, and a bit more training. Once you know there is a problem in a student’s learning, it becomes an objective that can be tackled. Once the specific objective is identified and shared with the student, they know to keep extra focus on the objective and learn to fix their mistakes.

After 6 years, I transferred over to general education and continued to see similar problems with assessments, time-management, and quite honestly, a lack of innovation.

The larger learning problems were never addressed in the standardized testing. Common Core tests and other standards-based tests are just basically a measuring tape that tells a person how tall they are compared to their peers.

It is not that the testing companies cannot see the patterns, they just don’t bother to follow through on the next steps. I believe this is because the testing companies cannot see the next steps…and it’s not in their corporate mission statement.

Also, their tests are designed that way because the government only wants to spend money on those things that do not require a lot of interpretation. They only want to know if classes are stronger or weaker…the giant picture.

Although knowing the giant picture is beneficial to the government, it does not help any individual student. Teachers can help, but often their hands are tied with overloaded daily teaching expectations.

Where is that extra hour per student that I had when I first started teaching?

This is what bothered me about the big testing companies. All they say is, ”a student fails at something”, but they don’t identify the error patterns or misunderstanding holes.

I started working on consolidating information, researching error analysis and applying it to specific subjects. With this deeper understanding, I was able to better target my lessons, and as this improved it became clear that error analysis could and should be mechanized.

I found a business partner who could figure out how to mechanize this effort, and now we have a product that will do in less than a minute what it used to take me hours to do.

Our company,, is a web-based testing and analysis company. We provide multiple-choice tests to be taken by your students, store the results, then present the results in a weighted format. The weighted answers are analyzed and listed with other weighted answers that are similar if a student thinks in a particular way. You can view the results for an individual student or the entire class to identify similar patterns or spot trends.

To illustrate, suppose a student does not know the difference between a proper noun and a common noun. If they work through their understanding, they will consistently give wrong answers in a pattern, such as capitalizing every possible noun.

If a student has an arithmetic issue, they will still show consistent patterns.

For example, if a student does not know how the number system works, they will continue making the same with place values resulting in consistently wrong answers, but they will fit the pattern.

What is 999 plus 3? One answer is 9912. If you expand that same problem into larger equations, you can get multiplication answers that make no sense whatsoever. That is, unless you look for the internal thinking.
Standardized tests only count mistakes in thinking that are rooted in a counting problem as a wrong answer. They only give minor information about perhaps why there are mistakes. It’s a failure in innovation because they are not innovators.

So, the teacher only has the initial big government test analysis that is really no help. We can go back and reteach everything, just like I had to do as a special education teacher, but without the time. Time for remedial teaching is precious and rare.

Then, schools and school districts tend to make big decisions, like switching to an easier curriculum, or spending more time on a curriculum that isn’t working. Their hope is that the child will discover the error… but maybe they won’t.

How do I use it?

I gave the punctuation and capitalization test to my students and discovered the greatest number of errors revolved around comma misuse. I pointed that out to the individuals who had very specific needs, taught them, and am presently retesting them. I’ve already seen improvements. For those students who do not have problems, there is literally no data to provide.

Our tests and analysis are only directed at helping the child, rather than judging the child.

My friend commented that services are deductive, not destructive.

I think it is a great motto to hold on to!

My name is Lauri Boren, and I am, an About iQEDucator ®.

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