Monday, November 8, 2010

The Problems of Testing...

The modern mind-set solves problems with solutions. Standardization and testing is seen as an effective way to solve the problem of categorizing individuals. Humans like to categorize because it makes life more easy to solve the problems in the world. Our minds, in fact, are made to categorize, I think. So, what is the problem?

Before I go into the problems, I want to affirm the need to test, because testing defines. And definition is necessary to organization. But,  the problem for me is;  is a human being a product, commodity, or problem to be evaluated, shuffled into place and "presto" the organization functions!?

I began my pondering on the problem, I have with testing  a year or so ago. For instance, yesterday just for fun, I took a "test" about which Disney character represented "me", I was frustrated as I usually have been with testing. I know these tests are foolish and simplistic in many ways, but what I found interesting were the questions they used. Don't the questions themselves determine or limit answers? And what if an answer was not given, that would have been more representative to "the truth"? How does this limitation of answers skew the outcomes? And are the outcomes a means of defining a given individual, and how much is that individual determined in their minds about those outcomes? Does it influence a person's performance in a given situation because they believe themselves to be a "Belle" :-)?

I re-took the tests and gave other answers that I also thought were representative of "me". But, some questions left me wondering how to answer. Do I value "humility"? Well, what are you asking? Are you asking if I value this for myself or when I see it in others? Or is it a general question about character values? And what if experience has taught someone that a certain character trait is in opposition to their best interests, like survival? Would that hinder their identification with humility?

Does observing another, like an object, change the individual and thier perceptions, responses, or reactions? If so, how can social sciences be done effectively? And is social science a way for humans to understand and organize life? Is organizing life a proper goal on a grand scale? Evolution doesn't seem to value organization, so much as a fight to win. Is this what we are trying to prevent, the fight to win, or the fight for survival?

Just a rant of mine today, because I think that the labelling and wearing of labels is dismissive of personhood. And I look at systemizing as a limited perspective in understanding life and all that is.

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