What’s the best way to measure intelligence?
Back in cavemen times when cave children were about to become cave adolescents they were sent out to see if they could hunt for themselves and if they couldn’t they died, probably.
Then in the era of the Spartan warrior, sevenyear-old boys were ripped from the clutches of their mothers and enrolled in a state-sponsored military training programme, according to the film 300.
In the animal kingdom when chicks are deemed old enough to fend for themselves they leap from the trees and either fly away forever or fall to their deaths, according to Sir David Attenborough.
In 21st century Britain we’ve moved on a bit and no longer send our offspring to their deaths, and of course we’re far more intelligent than birds. Or are we?
Exam season always makes me a little depressed and leaves me asking the question: Is making young people, some only six (because that’s the age children are when they sit their first SATs which set them on an academic trajectory for at least the next four years of their lives), shuffle into a hall and sit in silence for two hours while being made to recall information they’ve had pushed into their brains for the past year really that much better than what cave people probably used to do?
Every one learns differently and many people are immediately at a disadvantage as soon as they sit down at the heavily-doodled desk and turn over the top secret exam paper.You’d think maybe in 2018 we might start exploring alternative methods of assessment which could look at, say, how a child performs over the course of the academic year rather than during a two-hour period in a deadly silent classroom.
So the idea of a reformed GCSE system where letters have become numbers all seemed very modern, that is until you discover that the tougher tests virtually abolish coursework.
Exam culture has infiltrated every aspect of education. It’s high time we woke up to the fact the ability to regurgitate facts is not the best way to measure someone’s intelligence.