You already know what happened when the high school class of 1963 were in grade school, but here it is again for the record.
For the first time, in a nation committed to universal education, classroom focus shifted from what students learned to what teachers taught.
Teachers who previously gave personal attention to each student throughout the day, now spent a large part of their energy on crowd control.
Students, whose older siblings had time to engage their teachers and fellow students in meaningful discussion, became note-takers.
The most successful pupils at the dawn of that era learned to discern which points in the teachers’ lectures were important. In fact, today, I am announcing a nationwide search for the schoolchild who first gave voice to that most enduring classroom question:
Will this be on the test?
He or she should at least get credit for learning that much.
Overnight, monologue replaced classroom dialogue. The school day, which, a year before, included personal attention for every student, now consisted of as much lecture as the children could stand, followed by worksheets, list-making, and rote memory…followed by more lecture.
Writing was gradually replaced by multiple choice testing—a dozen years later my Earth Science teacher would call those tests, multiple guess quizzes—because multiple choice tests could be administered smoothly and graded quickly in a school culture where time was the enemy.
Class room discussion, such as it was, was often dominated by a few students at the front of the room. The unskilled, the uncertain and the shy hid out in the back or, worse, were hidden by the mass of bodies in front of them.
from Raising Adults by Jim Hancock