Why memorization is detremental to learning...

"Memorization, to me, is the enemy of any meaningful concept of education. It conveys a false sense of what knowledge is about and produces only the illusion of understanding. All exams and quizzes in my classes are open note and open books. I view the standard kinds of closed-book testing and, especially, multiple choice exams as inappropriate at best, destructive of curiosity and understanding at worst. There is an unfortunate irony in the spectacle of teachers preparing students for the much-hyped Age of Information through forced memorization and regurgitation of information -- the very things that our technologies have now made unnecessary. Perhaps the mounting criticisms of the SAT will cause more teachers to abandon the multiple choice format and reduce the indignities this brings to the educational process.

Putting this another way, what could be more inefficient and wasteful than my requiring you to memorize what can be easily looked up, diverting your most precious resource -- time -- away from learning to use that information thoughtfully and imaginatively?"

Prof. Michael B. McElroy