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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Obama and standardized testing

Barack Obama has recently come out against standardized tests, saying they should be deemphasized and given less frequently.

How might Obama's personal experience with standardized testing have helped shape his outlook on the matter? Obama has reportedly employed an army of lawyers and spent close to a million dollars to keep his own academic records sealed. I can't help but wonder if part of the reason for this is that his SATs and LSATs are not quite what one might expect of a President of the Harvard Law Review.

When I first heard, back in 2004, that Obama had held that position, I was impressed. But then when I looked into it, in the summer of 2008, it turned out that selection to the Review was not quite the pure meritocracy one might assume. Fourteen editors are selected on the basis of their first year grades and competition scores. Twenty editors are selected purely on the basis of their competition scores. And the remaining editors are selected on a discretionary basis.

Any guesses as to which category Obama fell into?

On top of that, once you've become an editor, becoming President of the Review is purely a matter of currying favor among your fellow students, much like becoming student body President.

And how often is the President of the Student Council the class valedictorian?

Keep those records sealed, Barack.

And continue to pooh-pooh standardized tests. Their results contradict both your personal self-regard and your view of race relations in general.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the topic of standardized tests (and recently IQ), would you say that 5-10 IQ points is worth an inch?

http://www.targetmap.com/viewer.aspx?reportId=4923

John Craig said...

I tried to get that map larger so I could read it but was unable to.

In an case, I personally would gladly give up 5 to 10 points for...