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What is wrong with the US education system?
10-28-2014, 05:34 AM
Post: #3
RE: What is wrong with the US education system?
Good point on the testing schedule. I went to English private schools until I was 17 (not that it was much fun there, and I didn't do that well because of the other extreme). I took SATs and wound up doing my BS and Ph.D. in the US. One of the key differences, at least in the 1970s -- is it any better --? is the propensity for multiple choice exams in the US rather than longer questions with elements of partial credit depending on how much work one showed, thought processes etc. In multiple choice -- one has to mark "the best" answer -- without an opportunity to explain the logic that might cause a deviation towards the "second best" and there is no credit for choosing B when A was considered to be the "best" answer. For instance, out of A, B, C, and D, perhaps one should get 10, 7, 3, and 0 points respectively. Or something like it. For arithmetic problems this is clearly not an issue, but it certainly can be for interpretive or comprehension-based questions. And too often, teachers are trained to teach kids how to take tests, not how to learn to apply logic (whether arithmetic or RPN!)

Ironically, when applying to law school many years later, I found the LSAT exams had exactly the same format -- multiple choice -- for the lion's share of the test. When one considers that a lawyer must surely have to argue the less prima facie obvious case to win on occasion, surely the "second best" answer is not a cut and dried issue. Certainly a defense attorney faced with overwhelming evidence who can creatively form an argument to plant reasonable doubt would deserve partial credit, the defendant's guilt or innocence notwithstanding.

So... I quit law school after becoming disenchanted with its inexactitude and went back to science....and have forever believed that if one took all the lawyers, and all the teachers, and simply swapped their salaries, the world would be a better place.

Thanks for reading this totally non-HP related vent!
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RE: What is wrong with the US education system? - JimP - 10-28-2014 05:34 AM

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