One of the best teaching tips I can give to other teachers who teach ADHD students is that they will typically understand the hardest concepts first and the easiest concepts sometimes be the most difficult to understand.
This is why they can do something like solve difficult math equations but can’t remember a simple routine process or can explain an abstract poems but can’t tell time. I call this phenomenon the “Reverse Chaos” effect since for them, chaos can seem like order and order can seem like complete chaos.
I try to explain this using a multiple choice test v. a short answer test. The simplicity of a multiple choice test is often completely baffling for ADHD students because it is so black and white and most ADHD minds don’t work that way. Every answer hold the potential for disagreement and considerable analysis.
Example: Question-John went to the park and the zoo. He also enjoyed a swim at the park. Where else did John go before he went home?
(a) the store
(b) the zoo
(c) the store and the zoo
(d) the gas station
ADHD thought process: Did John actually go to the store? I don’t think I would have but with John, you never know…he did go to the park, I remember that and he did stop at the gas station from question 4, but did he actually go to the store and did he like it? Did he buy anything? Or was that Joe?
And on and on and on. But with short answers, students with ADHD can see the question, do that same type of rambling in their minds but usually come to somewhat of the right answer.
It is really important to keep this in mind when developing assessments. If you want to see actual knowledge and learning, don’t give them multiple choice test after multiple choice test because it won’t show anything. Give them a multitude of different questions and ways to test them and you will most likely see a completely different result.