Thursday, 7 March 2013

Real understanding versus procedural pseudo-understanding: a collage of sentences

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The typical modern educated person - by educated I mean someone with advanced educational certification - has zero understanding of complex concepts; including the specific concepts which his educational certification purports to validate.

Modern educational certification is based on evaluations (one can hardly call them examinations) which are so procedural, and so difficult to fail except on procedural grounds, that they are incapable of evaluating understanding.

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Only another human being, in sufficiently dense and sustained human contact, is capable of evaluating understanding.

What we have instead is the evaluation of collages of sentences - evaluated one sentence at a time, in terms of the accuracy of reproduction.

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In multiple choice examinations, students are required to match up sentences in a very explicit way - but in extended writings such as essays and dissertations and theses, the principle is the same: these extended writings (or indeed conversations) are collages of sentences - individual factoids learned and assembled according to prescribed procedure.

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It is not that such evaluations are easy - many people cannot do them; simply that they are grossly misleading in terms of over-estimating understanding.

These evaluations primarily test adherence to procedure; and to adhere to a procedure requires approximately one standard deviation of intelligence less intelligence than to understand that procedure.

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But if our educational evaluations were to become genuine tests of understanding, then not only would nearly all students fail nearly all examinations - but so would their 'teachers'.

All this being a consequence of the decline of general intelligence combined with the inheritance of a highly complex society and culture bequeathed by earlier (and more intelligent and much more creative) generations.

http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-over-promoted-society.html 

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