Monday, November 07, 2005

This Offends Me

If you are smart, why do you need extra time? Ambition: Why Some People Are Most Likely To Succeed -- Nov. 14, 2005 -- Page 6: "The study of high-achieving high school students conducted by Ohio State's Demerath was noteworthy for more than the stress he found the students were suffering. It also revealed the lengths to which the kids and their parents were willing to go to gain an advantage over other suffering students. Cheating was common, and most students shrugged it off as only a minor problem. A number of parents--some of whose children carried a 4.0 average--sought to have their kids classified as special-education students, which would entitle them to extra time on standardized tests. 'Kids develop their own moral code,' says Demerath. 'They have a keen sense of competing with others and are developing identities geared to that.'
What moral code? These kids are going to be in charge in 20-30 years. Lying, cheating and pretending are a little different from the testing that I remember. If you are capable of scoring a 4.0 then you should have the confidence to take a test without special help. Unlike flying a plane if you make a mistake you can retake the test and improve the 98% you received. Now I know that I am more than a little strange. Weird, unusual, quirky. I don't mind. I can't and won't change that aspect of me so I have learned to embrace and have fun with it. Having said that let me say that I like tests.

Some people like rollercoasters to get the blood pumping, not me. I have taken more timed IQ tests for fun than anybody I know. I take personality tests, geek tests, psychology, trivia, what color are you, what dog, etc. I like knowing how my brain works, how it processes information, how I score higher on logic tests in the morning and more emotional in the evening. It fascinates me that I flip betweeen I and ENTP. I have been known to take tests without studying (how else do you find out what you don't know?). I have taken open book tests without the book (had to work an extra shift instead of going home and studying). I was the first person finished when I took my written boards. It took me an hour and twenty minutes for a four hour test. We had been studying for four years, focused for the last six months and immersed for the previous 72. My brain was full and it had to go. I didn't score the highest. I had no intention of scoring the highest. I wanted to be DONE. Tests bear absolutely no reality in the real world. You can ace every test and not have a clue.
"Demerath got very different results when he conducted research in a very different place--Papua, New Guinea. In the mid-1990s, he spent a year in a small village there, observing how the children learned. Usually, he found, they saw school as a noncompetitive place where it was important to succeed collectively and then move on. Succeeding at the expense of others was seen as a form of vanity that the New Guineans call 'acting extra.' Says Demerath: 'This is an odd thing for them.'

That makes tactical sense. In a country based on farming and fishing, you need to know that if you get sick and can't work your field or cast your net, someone else will do it for you. Putting on airs in the classroom is not the way to ensure that will happen."
As those old people we keep trying to pretend aren't going to be us keep mentioning, health and friendship help to make old age fun and a great way to spend your life. If you persist in playing Survivor remember that the goal is to be the last person standing, no matter what. What do you do for friends? Who will ever trust you?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away a man's word was his bond. Now we need lawyers and the court of public opinion. We see how well that is working out.

I meant to write about this article last night but I didn't finish reading until this morning. Is that a lack of ambition or procrastination?

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