Thursday, December 22, 2011

to be fair...

As pointed out by UUupdater in a comment on last night's blog post, Cognitive vs. noncognitive part 2..., I should note that the article from ETS that incited my ire over the issue of cognitive vs. noncognitive skills, was attempting to point out some of the shortfalls of the current methodology of standardized testing. In addition, it did point out in  a footnote that the term which it used consistently throughout the report, "noncognitive" is a misnomer, in other words, a term which suggests an interpretation that is known to be untrue. That the report then chose to persist in using it despite the term's perpetuation of a serious misunderstanding prevalent in the halls of academia... that skilled trades and performance art are noncognitive activities and thus of significantly lesser importance than those matters of cognition that can be most easily measured, illustrates the depth at which the industry bias exists.

I know for some, I may seem like Dorothy's dog Toto barking at the Wizard, but that Wizard and standardized testing have been allowed to become all powerful in American education. It is past time to draw back the curtain and reveal that there are other skills of hand and heart that are important in our children's educations, and furthermore in their lives...

Make, fix and create...


  1. Anonymous2:55 PM

    I'll take my plumber's non-cognitive skills any day over some incompetent philosopher with high cognitive ones.


  2. I don't blame the standardized testing industry any more than I would blame the manufacturer of the circular saw for an idiot who cuts off their fingers. The standardized tests had some issues and cultural bias in the past, but they are getting better. The stupidity of the way the tests are used is more a failure of politics.

    When people complained to the politicians that "too many kids were dropping out" they forced the schools to keep kids in school that should have been kicked out. When it was apparent that these kids were graduating, but lacked the skills of a graduate they complained about wanting standards. The main issue is that the politicians with no real clue on how to fix things are looking for "indicators" that show they are improving education. But most often when they get involved they tend to screw things up.

  3. Right you are on the politicians screwing things up.

    But the testing industry is harvesting hundreds of billions of dollars straight off the top from American education. Here in Arkansas hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on consultants to help schools pass tests.

    I don't see the testing industry being blameless. They are supposed to be the smart ones aren't they?

    Thanks for taking time to engage in conversation on the matter.