Test Prep vs Ground School

imatworkallday

Well-Known Member
I'm at a 141 school that uses test prep software for the ground school mid-term and the ground school final. I cannot stand it. I (and other instructors) feel that the students simply memorize the prep material and skip the finer parts taught in ground. This later becomes apparent during orals later on down the road. It appears that many students simply memorize the book and don't try to understand the material. I believe that we can bring our testing in house and get away from using published test prep materials all together. Am I missing something? Am I just old skool? I understand that there is gouge out there and that memorization has its place in aviation however, when the answers are memorized with no sense of understanding, I get a little concerned.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
I'm at a 141 school that uses test prep software for the ground school mid-term and the ground school final. I cannot stand it. I (and other instructors) feel that the students simply memorize the prep material and skip the finer parts taught in ground. This later becomes apparent during orals later on down the road. It appears that many students simply memorize the book and don't try to understand the material.
I also teach at a 141 school. Our 141 students use a flavor of the King Schools software/online training to prep for the Knowledge Test.

It is not intended to be a replacement for teaching ground lessons, however. It gives major concepts, and gets the student in the right mindset to ask the right kinds of questions, but taking the course will not make you ready for a checkride. Our CFIs are expected to fill in the blanks, bring context to what the student learns in those lessons, and ensure that they not only can spit back a correct answer, but understand *why* it's correct.

Students don't know what they don't know, right? We are the ones who have to bring them from the rote level to the Application/Correlation levels of learning.

I believe that we can bring our testing in house and get away from using published test prep materials all together. Am I missing something? Am I just old skool? I understand that there is gouge out there and that memorization has its place in aviation however, when the answers are memorized with no sense of understanding, I get a little concerned.
(added emphasis mine) - Do you mean to say, "bring the teaching in-house?" - Because that's totally a great idea. But if you *didn't* do that, I don't think it's the end of the world. If your students are memorizing material but not learning it, what are you guys doing besides teaching maneuvers?
 

Flyinthrew

Well-Known Member
At one of the two schools that I am an instructor for, if you don't know the material in the flight brief we don't go flying. It is a very big deal.

At the other school I am an instructor for, if you don't know the material in the flight brief I'm going to make you sit there with the money clock running until you get it right. If our time for flying runs out, then you've learned a valuable lesson in readiness and meeting expectations.

Third party written test prep is the way the world works when 40% of the FAA written tests are sorta bananas. Sounds like you guys have a messaging and standardization problem. Your literature must be conveying that the test prep software is meant for something more than it is. I'm willing to bet that you have some instructors who are poisoning the water hole as well even if they don't know it.
 

imatworkallday

Well-Known Member
Students don't know what they don't know, right?
I forget about this sometimes (apparently more now). Correlation is difficult when they don't have the experience to make the connection. Maybe a revision is in order of of how the ground lessons and flight lesson flow together?

Do you mean to say, "bring the teaching in-house?
YES! I believe that some of the students rely too much on the test prep. Unfortunately, we have had a bad (being nice) manager over the last 7 years. This place was on life support when I arrived. Thankfully a new manager is slowly making this place heal.


Flyinthrew said:
I'm willing to bet that you have some instructors who are poisoning the water hole as well even if they don't know it.
I think I can identify two that are doing this. I overhear them discussing how the current Gleim is terrible and and that the Sheppard is so much better. Meanwhile I'm cringing at the very sound of these words. I understand wanting to help the student pass but providing them test prep materials and just checking the ground box isn't going to cut it.
 

Brn N Rubr

Well-Known Member
The purpose of test prep packages is to pass the written.

Everything else is on us.

I agree 100%. The tests are written in such a way that it would be nearly impossible to read all of the references and then sit down and take the exam with any real expectation of passing (assuming the average PPL candidate). The knowledge base is far too wide. I’ll be honest I couldn’t care less about fog forming due to “cool air moving over a warm body of water” (advection, convection, intersection, dontgiveadamn-ion?). What I do care about is whether or not that student knows how to use their practical references to determine if it’s a good idea to fly. Yes, there is fog....should I go fly?

#sheppardforlife
 
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