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The dangers of elitism in education

23 Oct

The dangers of elitism in education

I came across this very interesting article which touched on some of the issues that remain within SAT and the fundamental dangers inherent if we impose any notions of elitism in education.

Some interesting excerpts:

“University of Wyoming President Robert Sternberg was stupid in elementary school. IQ tests said so. Knowing his scores, his teachers in the 1950s expected him to perform badly, and he agreeably lived down to their expectations. In fourth grade a teacher named Virginia Alexa saw something special in him and conveyed her high expectations. Almost overnight he became an A student. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a doctorate in psychology from Stanford, and later served as president of the American Psychological Association. Not so stupid after all. “My entire future trajectory changed as a result of just one teacher,” Sternberg writes in a 2010 book, College Admissions for the 21st Century.

…. the SAT and ACT are still fundamentally about sorting by smarts. Imagine if hospitals evaluated incoming patients the way colleges evaluate applicants: Only the healthiest cases would be admitted. Thanks in part to the pernicious influence of published college rankings, schools have an incentive to entice more students to apply simply in order to reject them.

For the good of a country that’s losing its lead in the global race for knowledge, it would be more productive to expand opportunities for learning than to monkey with the tests that parcel out existing slots. Increased government funding of postsecondary education is one way to open the bottleneck and reduce the importance of standardized tests. Massive open online courses—MOOCs—are a more exciting answer. They’re cheap and highly democratic, and anyone can enroll at any time. A MOOC is all about the knowledge, not the credential. Which is the way it should be, right?”

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