Re: Reforming Education

Dan Fabulich (
Thu, 7 Oct 1999 14:05:04 -0400 (EDT)

'What is your name?' 'Lee Daniel Crocker.' 'IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!!!':

> Just to clarify, I have never, and would never, argue in favor of
> "standardized" exams.

Perhaps you aren't committed to exams with a questions packet and a fill-in-the-bubbles answer sheet, requiring a no.2 pencil, but any GIVEN organization is very likely to use "standardized" exams in some sense or other. Whether they're fill-in-the-bubble exams or whatever, they still suffer from the same problem I was discussing earlier: tests can only evaluate what the student knows on a given day, not their long term retention of the material.

Lee, I made an argument that the current system, which is used by private schools and private institutions across the country, is working correctly. There is a private testing organization, the College Board, which DOES administer standardized tests, because SOMEONE seems to think that they are a good measure of student aptitude. The College Board has an incentive to make certain that its tests accurately measure the abilities of the students who take it, and its results are highly regarded in institutions of higher learning everywhere. However, colleges also (generally) realize that such testing is not a *sufficient* measure of student aptitude, and so they also look at the direct evaluations of teachers in classes.

I don't THINK your proposal is an argument for market failure, and I presume that you think that there's a serious reparable flaw in the way the market works, so I presume, by making this argument, you mean to say that there's a great business opportunity available here for anybody who wants to start up a credentials organization and do it well. This isn't obvious to ME, but our market has a great way of betting on such things.

Suffice it to say that *I* wouldn't invest in a business plan like this.


-unless you love someone-
-nothing else makes any sense-

e.e. cummings