If You Learn Quickly You Are Smart, If you Learn Slowly You are… | Jon Bergmann | 6 Min Read

December 21, 2022

If you learn quickly, you are smart.  If you learn slowly you are … dumb. This is the message we send to students every day in schools across the globe. I don’t believe that statement is true. Do you?  

Sadly, every time students are only given one chance to take a major test, that notion is reinforced.  Every time students take timed admissions exams or are given one attempt to demonstrate mastery, we reinforce this untrue statement. 

Parisa Rouhani’s 2019 doctoral dissertation at Harvard University studied students in a self-directed mastery course and found that speed of learning is not the key factor in achievement. In her conclusion, she states:

What really mattered for performance in a course was not how much time it took for the student to learn, but rather, how much of the material was mastered, irrespective of time. Students varied in how long they spent learning material and taking assessments, but the variation did not affect performance. Mastery was the variable that mattered. 

Time was not the variable. Mastery was. Or as I read this study, those that learn fast don’t necessarily learn better or deeper. But when students…

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Jon Bergmann

Jon Bergmann is one of the pioneers of the Flipped Class Movement. Jon is leading the worldwide adoption of flipped learning by working with governments, schools, corporations, and education non-profits. Jon is coordinating or guiding flipped learning initiatives around the globe including China, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, the Middle East, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Canada, South America, and the United States. Jon is the author of 10 books including the bestselling book: Flip Your Classroom which has been translated into 10 languages. He has been an educator since 1986. He has served as a middle and high school science teacher, the lead technology facilitator for a school district in the Chicago suburbs, as well as a consultant/public speaker. He currently is teaching science and leading staff development at Houston Christian High School.