Reasonable people may disagree about whether teachers should have to pass licensing tests of instructional knowledge before getting a job in a classroom. But it’s hard to dispute the idea that, if there is going to be such a test, then the questions should be based on the best evidence we have about how children learn. Right?
Actually, my research shows that in 29 states, government-distributed test-preparation materials on high-stakes certification exams include the debunked theory of “learning styles,” which holds that matching instruction to students’ preferred mode of learning—seeing, listening, or physically engaging in content-aligned activities, for example—is beneficial. My work builds on earlier research showing the prevalence of the idea in textbooks and teacher trainings across the United States. The presence of such content promotes an incorrect theory.