Two weeks ago, I came across an interesting article on recent developments regarding the SAT test. I was reminded of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk when he talks about the plight of the American school system.
Ironic, considering that people all over the world are eager to get into America universities for further education.
The article talked about how the organization was going to alter the way SAT scores are determined. Standardized tests are supposed to be just that, standardized.
They are meant to compare a student’s ability to that of their peers in a fair manner.
Unfortunately, today the concept of what “fair” is has come under some scrutiny. How can two students be compared fairly when their environment and upbringing are so different? My answer, without all of this silly nonsense. I grew up in a world without the Internet, cell phones and computers.
The local library was our Google. The house phone was our iPhone and typewriters got the job done when it came to reports. For Millennials today, it might sound as if I grew up in the Dark Ages. Knowledge was localized. We were limited to the people around us (aka parents and teachers) and the books available.
In 1983 I moved to the Philippines severely limiting my access to books as Manila wasn’t the bustling modern metropolis it is today. However, I did go to a private school though so in many ways I was privileged. But let’s put something in perspective. Today, if you have access to a smartphone and the Internet, you have access to more knowledge than the Pentagon had in 1980. The Pentagon! Yet the SAT organization wants to add in an adversity score, what adversity?
Today we don’t lack knowledge. We don’t lack access. What we lack is desire. When I taught full time as a teacher, I had students that would stop reading their book because they couldn’t find one word in his dictionary. Not a paper dictionary mind you. They just typed a few keys on their smartphone, got nothing, so they stopped. 15 seconds max. When I studied Japanese, once I remember spending 25 minutes on a single word. And in case you’re wondering, I was using an electronic dictionary.
People today expect instant results. They can’t be bothered to check their spelling (that was the most common mistake), use other sources or even type out a message to ask their friend. Personally, as a productivity consultant, I find this trend worrisome. I help people maximize the time they have available to them. I boost their productivity so they are able to get more done, in less time with less stress and you can look me up online for more info.
But it does take time to do this. Systems need to be in place, strategies must be implemented, habits need to be addressed.
What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.
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