Teaching: The Use & Abuse of the Cept

Q. What is a cept?

A. A cept is the smallest convenient unit of knowledge.

Q. Give an example of a cept.

A. I just did.

In their pursuit of academic excellence, the better liberal-arts teachers insist that their students read the original writings of the world's great thinkers and then take essay tests for comprehension of ideas rather than multiple-choice quizzes for recall of facts. This strains both the study time of the student and the grading time of the teacher—but neither has ever been shy about seeking short cuts. And, sometimes openly, sometimes secretively, a shortcut device known as the "cept"...

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