Re: DSM: (Almost) errorless measurement

Kathleen Stilwell (
Wed, 8 Nov 2000 14:01:48 -0800 (PST)

>From my study of the Sudbury model it seems that
mandatory testing of any child could not be a part of
the Sudbury model.
No matter how clever a test is designed to be, unless
a child were to choose the test for self-evaluation it
would have no value at all.
Within the education system tests are used to label,
categorize, and sometimes to guide and to mold a
child's future. Unless a child asks for such
labelling, categorizing, guiding and molding (and I've
never met a child who would), then our education
system is assuming a power it has no right to.
Kathleen Stilwell, Las Vegas, NV

--- Marko Koskinen <> wrote:
> I agree. One of my fellow students is doing her
> graduate research about
> her children. She is repeating the test by Piaget,
> but doing the test
> using situations and materials that are common to
> her children so that
> the children really understand what's going on and
> they really have a
> problem that they can relate to. When Piaget did his
> tests they were
> kind of random and didn't nescessarily have anything
> to do with the
> world view of the child, so the children really
> couldn't understand the
> problems and didn't pass the tests. But my fellow
> student has come to a
> conclusion that the tests really aren't even very
> hard problems for her
> kids when they are set in a common situation and
> have meaning to the
> children.
> So I could assume that the key issue here is
> motivation. If the problem
> is really important to you and you really want to
> solve it, you use much
> more attention and effort in solving it, thus the
> probablility to pass a
> test with "real" problems becomes much more probable
> than solving
> "hypothetical" problems. This means that the "school
> test" actually have
> no value at all, because they test only "school
> survival", not real life
> skills and "global knowledge".
> Also there is a lot of research in the field of
> transfer, meaning how
> the learner can use the things learned in a new
> situation, stating that
> learning is very much situated, and there is great
> difficulty in
> transfering the knowledge in totally different kinds
> of environment.
> There is also great difficulty in making instruction
> into transferable
> knowledge.
> This again means that if you learn something at
> school and know it in
> the test, it is very likely that you have no means
> of using that
> knowledge in real life situations, thus making the
> test results totally
> useless and meaningless.
> There is much discussion about these issues in
> Sudbury literature and
> there is also a lot of research supporting the
> assumptions that are made
> in the literature.
> Marko Koskinen
> Finland
> > the main problem is with the tests themselves.
> They don't measure real
> > knowledge. Real command of knowledge only shows
> itself in the presence of a
> > true problem. A true problem is not one in which
> the answer is known and must
> > be picked from a pile (That is just an exercise),
> but one in which the answer
> > doesn't yet exist and must be discovered or
> created. You may eliminate guessing
> > from computer-graded standardized tests, but the
> only way you can measure true
> > knowledge is by how a person uses the knowns to
> find the unknowns. And thus the
> > unknowns must be truly unknown to the person, and
> not just one of a pile of
> > possibles.

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