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Topic: a small take off on :Time for Moderation
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Posts: 308
Registered: 12/3/04
a small take off on :Time for Moderation
Posted: Jul 30, 2000 1:15 PM
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> From: Michael Paul Goldenberg <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: Time for Moderation
> Date: Saturday, July 29, 2000 05:35
> It strikes me that there are (at least) two kinds of people in this

> those who believe in the power of numerical data to tell clear-cut,

It strikes me that there are (at least) two kinds of people in this
country: those who believe in the power of numerical data to tell
clear-cut, objective stories about such slippery phenomena as human
potential or behavior, and those who don't ;^)

In my experience, it is pointless to argue from a rational perspective with
those who KNOW that "subjective" tests like portfolios really produce data
that SPEAKS.

Obviously, Charlie's suggestion that a student's whole record be looked at
assumes that it will be looked at by a [shudder!] Intel box, a fallible but
unthinking creature whose experience and judgment (quantify THOSE!) come
into play. Guidelines can be written, rubrics developed, but in the end,
there will be one of those horrid, silicon beasts and its (ahem)
'statistics package' making decisions. Any counselor or admissions officer
who tells you s/he doesn't use his/her 'box' when advising or admitting is
out of date.

What troubles me and I suspect Wayne is that no matter how loud and long
testing companies warn EVERYONE to use test scores at all, some American
idiots just won't. And some of those idiots seem to inhabit discussions on
professional lists of educators who, if they'd bothered to take and heed
courses in measurement, should certainly know better. The result is a
country admits students into higher learning based on an old boy network
rather than proven ability.

I'm not suggesting that anyone on this list would support such activity
today, but I'm not sure that some similarly heinous decision wouldn't be
supported by some here in their misguided beliefs about the power of test
scores to tell an accurate picture about people. Is the holistic or
humanistic view guaranteed to do better? Of course not. But I'd take my
chances with any system that looks at SAT scores as well as those marvelous
FUZZY data over one that deludes itself into believing it's purely
objective. It's harder to take responsibility for decisions when one can
say, "The test scores did it."

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