Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

So, I hate to admit it, but last night my husband and I watched the premiere of the new FOX game show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

I can’t say I was impressed with the show… not because the UCLA history graduate wasn’t “smarter” than a fifth grader, but because the game show clearly illuminates one of the big deficiencies with the educational system.  This contestant has a college degree, and I am assuming makes a decent living for himself; however, he could not answer questions from 1st-5th grade textbooks.

I am not ashamed to admit that I couldn’t remember the answers to all of the questions either. I have a master’s degree and think of myself as pretty successful. The point is (in case you have gotten it already) that I have not needed a large portion of the information I learned in school.

A large portion of the questions asked are (in my opinion) little more than trivia, so why do we spend so much time teaching and testing on this information when students will forget the majority of it?

I would rather teach students skills they will actually need in life – problem solving, information management, how to work collaboratively, writing, reading, communication, etc.  It just makes more sense to me. Instead of attempting to stuff children’s heads full of meaningless facts (and essentially wasting a lot of time), we could teach students how to be in charge of their own learning.

I know the game show is supposed to be comical, but I found it sad.

There are similar conversations going on here and here.

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One Comment on “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”


  1. […] how mind numbing multiple choice exams. For more information on this topic read an article by my wife or Wesley […]


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