Most of our current modes of testing and personnel assessment were developed for the Industrial Age and even, pointedly, for the Fordist assembly line mentality of hierarchical, standardized, quantifiable productivity. In 2012, these Industrial Age remnants of an old model of productivity and rote learning fall short. Many are clunky, ineffective, and cumbersome, so poorly designed that they require educators to “teach to the test” in order that they, their schools, and their students are not penalized for “failing.” The end-of-grade testing, especially, undercuts teacher and student morale by putting the answer on One Best Answer selection, not real knowledge applied to thoughtful and thought-provoking problem-solving. The current multiple-choice form of testing doesn’t measure all that is being learned and de-motivates true curiosity.
What if we had an assessment system that measured what we valued—not one that valued what is measurable? What if instead of the Industrial Age’s statistical methods based on standard deviation, IQ tests, and ranked scores on multiple choice tests we collectively determined what constitutes excellence and considered our success to be the individual and collective attainment of that degree of excellence, as also validated collectively by our community?