March 18

I used to complain that grades weren’t really for different fields — biology, history, etc. — they were all different grades for memorization, just memorization of different types of information. Well, the psychology final has taken that one step further. It’s not memorization, it’s just reading comprehension.

To pass the test, apparently all you need to do is read the textbook beforehand and remember what it said. No thought or application is required. (Indeed, thought will probably screw you over since some of the “correct” answers are wrong. I thought about telling the proctors as I left that “the answer to number 26 is wrong” but they’d probably look at me real funny.)

posted March 26, 2005 07:39 PM (Education) (3 comments) #


Stanford: My So-Called Terrorist Life
Stanford: Schoolwork
Stanford: To the Hypnotist
Stanford: Stop Hiring Me
Stanford: Textbooks for Idiots
Stanford: Feats of Memory
Lessons in Capitalism #3: Sycophancy
Stanford: Spring Break
Home: Spring Break
Stanford Interactive: What classes should I take?


Interesting, because in a number of recent computer classes I took, if you could successfully challenge an answer during the test review, the instructor would adjust the test scores accordingly.

posted by D.Meyer at March 29, 2005 10:04 PM #

an audience member points out during clark aldrich’s ‘accelerating change 2004’ talk that ‘education,’ as commonly practiced, provides little more than an evaluation of how ‘smart’ someone already is. people that are already ‘smart,’ i.e. possesing the underlying skill(s) being tested (such as memorization or reading comprehension), will perform at a level commensurate with their abilities.

as proof, the commenter states that test scores in a traditional educational environment are distributed normally, mirroring memorization skills, i.q., etc. however, when students are immersed in a truly educational environment — a simulation in this case — the distribution of scores is bimodal, with 80% performing at an ‘a’ level.

tangentially, i think it would be useful to have classes like ‘memorization,’ ‘speed reading,’ &c., so that students could directly hone these skills instead of having to haltingly develop them by doing stupid shit like memorizing the amino acids or whatnot.

posted by jesus henry christos at March 31, 2005 12:40 AM #

IME tests are mostly just a motivation to read the textbook, pay attention in class and study outside of class. By the time finals week rolls around its usefulness is mostly spent, but you might as well give it anyway so next year’s class doesn’t get cocky…

posted by Bug at March 31, 2005 01:28 PM #

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Aaron Swartz (