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Standardized testing

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So my opinion on standardized testing is that it actually just like IQ testing is just there to test us on how well we do under pressure. I took two different IQ tests, one where I answered with the first answer that came to mind and one that I actually thought about or worked on the questions and took time to answer the questions. I got an IQ of 125 on the one that i took time on and much lower on the one that I didn't take time on.
I think that for standardized testing has a negative impact, it stresses out the children because they put so much emphasis on doing well/your best. One of my 6th grade teachers during standardized testing gave us "smarties" one day to help us bring out our brains. The next day he gave us "dum dums" to try and encourage us to be smart.

The Scam of America Test (SAT)

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Ah, the good ol' SAT. I certainly remember waking up the day of the tests and preparing five minutes before hand by eating a granola bar; perhaps, the only preparing that I encountered on my journey to. "ACT and SAT each have their own parts of the country. The GRE has its lock on graduate admissions. And so, one could blame the companies, but really, economically, they have no incentive to change things very much because they're getting the business" (Sternberg).

I'm sure by now, most of us are sentient of a standardized test entitled SAT, which for starters is short for absolutely... nothing. Sure, as if this weren't a brilliant enough, it also cost quite a lucrative fee just to put pencil to paper. Of course, the initial lump sum of cash pronged over doesn't include the endless amount of preparation books, SAT courses, and numerous other addictive additive strategies that your fellow classmates are taking hoping to improve their scores by a zillion points. As well as I did on the current SAT, I sincerely hope to never take anything as monotonous and mind numbing again in my life. In fact, if there ever were a vote for a standardized testing system, I would feel more inclined to vote for this affair than the presidential election of the United States. At least by voting against standardized test, I would possibly prevent the corrupted-egotistical-money hoarding companies from relying on the Wall Street principle of making money; lying-through-their-teeth. " The charge that the SAT is slanted in favor of privileged children--"a wealth test," as Harvard law professor Lani Guinier calls it--has been ubiquitous" (American.com)

In fact, my mother and I once had the conversation in regards to the SAT. I was in my living room on a Friday night studying the day before the test. My mother came into the room at the late hour to inform me that I had a test in the morning and should be sleeping. While my movie was on pause I told her that I thought I was well off growing up. She asked what money had to do with anything, and I told her of course, the whole test relies on the underlying principle of money and the slightest bit of knowledge applied to ones test taking skills. She looked at me like she often does (like I belonged in a mental institution) and went off to bed. This practically summarizes my beliefs in a non aggressive, unsupported manner. Here's a good link:

http://www.american.com/archive/2007/july-august-magazine-contents/abolish-the-sat

What Do Standardized Tests Really Say About You?

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All throughout high school, I had fairly good grades. It was easy for me to pick up on things and I felt as though I could get by with good grades while doing the bare minimum. When it came time to take the ACT, my mom would tell me to study and do all of these practice tests but I never did. I ended up taking my ACT three times, receiving scores of 28, 28 and 31. I knew most of the material that was on the test. After I got accepted into college, I had to take more standardized tests to see what classes I would be placed in. After taking those tests, I found that I did much more poorly on them then I had on those sections of the ACT. Even after seeing how bad my scores were, however, my college advisor still told me to take courses that were much higher than the level I tested at. As a result, I am doing poorly in the classes I was told to take, and I've begun to wonder how much standardized tests can say about a person.

http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/staiv.htm

Big 5 misleading?

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Reading about the Big 5 in the textbook, I feel it makes sense and I can see how it can be useful in analyzing and predicting people's behaviors. However, I have a reservation about its structure; it measures a person's personality as being high or low in a given trait rather than being more exhibitive of a certain trait versus its opposite. For example, a person with low extraversion may be led to feel he has "less of a personality" in this dimension, as he cannot be described as social and lively. Of course, this is not true at all; he may be any of various degrees of introverted, and it is possible that his personality cannot be justly assessed without measuring just how introverted he is--which would be different from measuring how extraverted he is.

I think this possibly misleading aspect of the Big 5 is important to consider any time it is applied for "real-world behaviors," like predicting success in employment. The textbook states that high conscientiousness, low neuroticism, and high agreeableness are commonly associated with successful job performance. Here, a reasonable inference from the model would be that low conscientiousness, high neuroticism, and low agreeableness often lend themselves to low success in jobs. However, I personally fall under the categories of highly neurotic and lowly agreeable, and yet I've been hired for every job for which I've applied, and I've received raises and awards at my workplaces for commendable performance.

As an alternative to the Big 5, I highly prefer and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which measures an individual's preferences in the areas of "favorite world," "information," "decisions," and "structure." I see a deeper value in how this model measures these traits in one direction or another, rather than highness or lowness, and especially how it combines the four results to categorize a person's personality into one of 16 distinctive types. The following site provides further information on the logic behind this model:

http://www.myersbriggs.org/my%2Dmbti%2Dpersonality%2Dtype/mbti%2Dbasics/

China's Missing Creativity

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While China has seen historic growth in its productive capacity in the last 30 years, the knowledge and ideas that have driven the growth has all been imported from the Western world. The United States has fallen behind China in manufacturing, but America is still number one when it comes to innovation. Why is it that even with the world's largest population, China is still unable to innovate?

I argue that the root cause lies deep within Chinese culture. In China, the old, rather than the new, is valued. When the Emperors of Imperial China had problems, instead of seeking new knowledge and insights, they would look back to the great Sage Emperors of antiquity, as they had ruled over what was seen as the epitome of a well ordered society. While this may seem trivial, the idea is still deeply rooted in all Chinese people.

This is most visible in the traditions of Confucianism. Confucianism says that the key to a well-ordered society are proper relationships between people. In every relationship, there is always one person who is superior, while the other is inferior. In a well-ordered society, everyone knows and respects their place in the world. Respect for age is central to this idea of the different roles in relationships. Age is what gives things their worth; the older someone is, the wiser they are.

This can be seen in Chinese schools. Students are taught that they should not question their teachers, even if their teachers are incorrect. Correcting a teacher is seen as extremely disrespectful and a violation of their proper role in the student/teacher relationship. Because of this, students are expected to do as they are told; thinking freely is not encouraged. After years and years in this stressful school environment, it is no surprise that Chinese children have lost their creative capacity.

The Big Five Personality Traits in Everyday Life

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After reading about the Big Five, I was able to start recognizing a lot of those traits in people around me, such as friends, family, and even people that I saw on television in shows and in movies. I liked how the traits can lead to patterns, such as when assessing the U.S. past Presidents. Those that were open to experience went along with historical greatness, while those that were agreeable went against historical greatness. Applying more generally, conscientiousness is usually positively correlated with things like physical health and life span. Furthermore, I found it interesting during the activity during discussion that used the Berkeley Personality Profile from the beginning of the year to separate us into groups to pick vacations. What I found interesting was that people usually picked places that were known to fit with their "profiles." Something that I found kind of surprising was that our class went 100% for being able to guess which group we fell into. To me, this means that people are also cognizant and aware of their own style and other people that are similar to their own style. After I realized this I started thinking about my close friends and also realized that many of us have very similar personality profiles that would also fit with similar Big Five personality traits. At the end of the day, I think it is important that although people may fit a certain personality "profile" it is not a know-all-be-all way to tell what people will be like. I think this is evident in the profession of criminal profiling, where law enforcement attempts to put together a general profile of what a criminal's personality and tendencies could be. I think this is interesting because on some occasions those without any training, such as chemists and students, did better than those who had training, such as police and detectives.
http://psychology.about.com/od/personalitydevelopment/a/bigfive.htm

Does Success on the SAT indicate success on future tests?

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I am looking into applying to Medical School in two years. In order to get into Medical School; you need to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and receive around 30 out of 45 to be successful in Medical School. One thing that I was really wondering about was whether there is a correlation between the SAT and the MCAT. I scored really high on my SAT, so I thought that this would correlate over to the MCAT. However, after doing some research I realized that both of these tests are completely different. The MCAT is an achievement test, which means that it measures mastery of certain knowledge. The SAT is an aptitude test, so it measures the future success or capability to learn in the future. Both of these tests are completely different, so I realized that I should not immediately correlate these two for many reasons. Firstly, they are two different tests and they test different domains of knowledge. The MCAT relies on very specific information; therefore it relies heavily on specific abilities. These abilities are particular abilities that are in a very narrow domain and mastery of these can lead to success or better performance on the MCAT. The SAT does not rely on achievement testing; therefore mastery in certain domains is not required to be successful. Therefore, there is very little correlation between these two because they both test different knowledge capabilities. Also, when dealing with correlations, there is always a third variable involved. In the case of the MCAT, extensive studying is required in physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, and biology. So, if someone scored very well on the SAT, but did not prepare for the MCAT, then they would receive a low score. In determining the future success on a test, there are several different variables to account for, so concluding correlation leads to causation is incorrect because so many different variables can come into play.

Sources used
http://www.northeastern.edu/prehealth/preparing/preparing_for_the_mcat/
http://collegeapps.about.com/od/standardizedtests/tp/sat-act.htm
Lilienfeld, Scott. Psychology From Inquiry to Understanding. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2011.

Brief Thoughts on the Big Five

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Personality tests, as we all know, are absurdly common, ubiquitous even. The big five personality assessment appears no different to me than the rest of this slew of tests save for the fact that it has been applied on a larger scale. For this reason it is thought of as more respectable, but, while I am not contesting its accuracy, I am tempted to say it is flawed in that it only provides us with generalizations that people are inevitably going to fall into. Just as a fortune teller or cookie will make a broad, blanket statement that chances are will apply to my life, so do these sorts of tests, hoping that I will take a position and provide further details to support that at the expense of details in my life that could contradict it. This is a perfect, exclusively personally cognitive, example of the confirmation bias, and it is disconcerting to realize that such a respected psychological categorical assessment rests on this premise.

A further problem these pose is that while they may supply human personality with a specific category to fall into, they tend to distract from inquiry into why these are the case. Evolutionarily, what are the reasons for certain personality traits prevailing over others, etc. These unempirical studies get us no closer to assessing this, and are less scientifically respectable to me because of this.

Jack Block is an American psychologist who expressed similar criticisms.

Below is a helpful video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SrPoIsI42U

My Brush With Eugenics

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TownCenter.png
The first time I heard of the eugenics movement in the US was in 6th or 7th grade. Our class had a unit on local history and, in looking for a possible topic, I stumbled upon the term. I learned about it that young because I grew up in Shutesbury, MA. This quaint and quiet hometown of mine was once an epicenter of eugenics studies in Massachusetts. Many would write of it as proof of the legitimacy of "bad stock" and how it was more common in rural areas.
In 1928 the town and its residents were the subject secret study ran by the executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society, Leon Whitney. He collaborated with professors and students of colleges in the nearby Amherst (the town where I went to high school) to survey all the residents to assess everything from height and eye color to apparent 'defects' and sexual activities. They pitted neighbors against each other, getting them to report any oddness or depravity. They clandestinely collected residents' church attendance, tax records, medical files, school records, school intelligence tests, family histories, anything they could get their hands on. When Whitney went on to write a book (The Case for Sterilization), he used the statistics collected from the Shutesbury study as evidence for the need of sterilization.
The odd thing about this whole ordeal is that it's not generally heard of or talked about now. I wasn't able to find any real information on it until I was much older. Still, even today, I don't think that most of the residents know of their town's only claim to fame. It shows how much the movement has been forgotten.

More on Shutesbury Eugenics Study

Eugenics

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As discussed in Chapter 9: Intelligence and IQ Testing, the concept of eugenics, "good genes" were encouraged to reproduce preventing those with "bad genes" from reproducing or both. After reading the section of the textbook, I scratched my head in bewilderment. I couldn't believe that this was actually a concept in the early 1900's. The idea that those with low IQs were sterilized (and involuntarily) was disgusting. It amazed me to think that through all the years, psychology has evolved, and of course, has had its MAJOR flaws. So, as I was looking for more information on eugenics, the first website that I came across left me in even more confusion. The first website I click is "Future Generations." The first thing I read goes a little like this:

"Future Generations is about humanitarian eugenics. Humanitarian eugenics strives to leave a genuine legacy of love to future generations: good health, high intelligence,
and noble character. We advocate measures to improve the innate quality of humankind which are entirely voluntary. Please be forewarned that most ideas expressed on this website are 'politically incorrect.' We aspire to total honesty, believing that it is the only policy for people with integrity and furthermore, that in the long run, honesty is far-and-away the most compassionate policy."

If you visit the website, it lists a variety of articles that you can read supporting the ideas of "humanitarian eugenics." I think the most interesting thing about this article and opening it up at random is the fact that this is even a concept that is still considered. Now, I don't feel I know enough to say whether or not I completely disagree or agree, as I find it completely confusing. I was under the impression eugenics was no longer a discussed topic. I assumed that in order to help those with low IQs or live in a low income environment or have low health could be helped as best as possible with other forms of help in the psychological world or elsewhere.

The new things that you find everyday....

http://www.eugenics.net/

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