One of the basic tenets of Modern Socratic teaching is that learning can be accelerated because the process of learning is enhanced and strengthened through the utilization of their techniques.
It appears that in the second year of implementation the claim seems to be valid. Through the utilization of various Modern Socratic techniques in the classroom, students seem to have a better and deeper understanding of material that is being taught. The accompanying charts illustrate the growth rate of particular cohorts at each grade level.
Although not perfect, the trends indicated demonstrate an acceleration of academic growth from one year to the next. If one can anticipate a normal growth rate of 1.0 per academic year, the results illustrate a growth rate that is double, triple, quadruple and more. The trend shows that the growth increases dramatically the longer the student participates in the program (8th graders testing out at a 12th grade level).
There are several indices that support this statement. The first is the high proportion of scholarships granted for graduates. Scholarship awards amounted to over $250,000 the last two years for approximately 45 students. That's about $5,600 for each student. The second is the increased scoring in NY State assessments. This year the school boasted a 94% rate of students earning threes and fours. That was about a 12% increase from the previous year and almost a 20% increase over the last two years.
If one examines the numbers for each cohort, one can see the arithmetic progression from one grade level to the next. If allowed to extrapolate results into the future, it would be safe to say that students educated by means of Modern Socratic Techniques will experience accelerated academic growth to the point that graduates will be testing out at a high school or collegiate level.
There are several testing areas that will be addressed this year to resolve certain inconsistencies, i.e., Grade 4 Reading and Grade 6 Math. Nevertheless, even these inconsistencies do not affect the final outcome.
Another comparison offering validity to the conclusion of accelerated academic growth is the examination of scores by grade level. Once again, one could expect that after one year of instruction, a student's grade level equivalent should increase by one year. Needless to say, that growth was doubled in Grades 3-5 and took off exponentially in Grades 6-8. As a whole, there was a 3.4 Grade Level increase per grade. Those are remarkable numbers!
So once again we return to the essential questions. Can Modern Socratic Techniques increase and accelerate learning? The answer is a resounding yes! As we enter our third year of implementation, I have every confidence that results cannot only be replicated but can be surpassed. These are techniques that address needs of all children; bright, average and special needs children!
These are techniques that cross all socio-economic and gender lines. These techniques are designed to elicit responses, brain-engaged responses, from all children. They draw the student out and encourage children to problem-solve and discover their own intelligence. Subsequently, they develop a self-confidence that only the satisfaction of success and accomplishment can confer.
Dennis J. Welka, Principal
St. Andrews Country Day School
Win Wenger comments:
How would you like for your classroom or school to be one of the next to report such results? We're willing to help. Inquire under the title, "Modern Socratic Method here?"
Many articles in this website relate to this, most especially the utterly easy-to-apply Instant Replay. Others of special note include Modern Socratic Method and the core Dynamic Format. See also this annotated directory of methods to improve and accelerate learning.