Standardized Minds: The High Price of America's Testing Culture and What We Can Do to Change It

Standardized Minds: The High Price of America's Testing Culture and What We Can Do to Change It

Standardized Minds: The High Price of America's Testing Culture and What We Can Do to Change It

Standardized Minds: The High Price of America's Testing Culture and What We Can Do to Change It

Synopsis

We've been told time and time again that standardized tests aren't perfect but that they're the best tool we have for gauging aptitude and achievement. Is this really true? What are the flaws of such testing? Why is your father's occupation a better predictor of SAT scores than virtually any other factor? And, most important, what can we do to hold one another accountable to standards at all levels of schools and in the workplace?

Standardized Minds dramatically shows how our unhealthy and enduring obsession with intelligence testing affects us all, from the day we enter kindergarten to the day we apply for that corporate job. Drawing creative solutions from the headlines and the frontlines, Sacks demonstrates proven alternatives to such testing and details a plan to make the American meritocracy legitimate and fair.

Excerpt

Standardized Testing: It's an innocuous sounding term, isn't it? Straightforward, inexpensive, tidy, fair. Americans have grown so accustomed to taking multiple-choice tests to prove themselves that people don't bother to question the tests' legitimacy.

These seemingly innocuous rites of American passage are neither straightforward, inexpensive, tidy, nor fair.

Standardized Minds explores the nation's unhealthy and enduring obsession with standardized mental testing and how this tool of the so-called meritocracy affects us all, from the day we enter kindergarten to when we might apply for a job or seek a new profession.

This book examines why standardized testing continues to dominate the education system. The book will show also how such testing has become a pervasive influence in the workplace as well.

We will explore proven alternatives to such testing and ways to make the American meritocracy more accurate and fair to all people.

The Meritocracy: An American Fascination

Americans in recent years seem fascinated with the mechanisms of the so-called meritocracy.

Recent evidence of this fascination includes the raging controversy over publication a few years ago of The Bell Curve.

Socioeconomic class divisions have become more striking than ever in the past ten or fifteen years, fueling concerns and debate over how the meritocracy works -- or doesn't work.

In recent years, however, the reach of mental testing in our society, as the linchpin of the meritocracy, has largely escaped public scrutiny.

Sure, newspapers have covered President Clinton's national school testing proposal. You have seen the ups and downs of your schools' test scores splattered . . .

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