14 April 2011

Perspective on Testing

We can probably surmise that tests show something, and I'm starting to think that often, they show how well the test-ee can be bullied into answering as the teacher wishes.


Why am I saying such a mean thing? Well, our children have to graduate into the world sometime and it seems that in business, they bully all the time. Allow me to share a letter from "Very Bossley" Ford, Inc. that we've recently received after having work done on our vehicle:


Dear Mr. Realname,


On behalf of Very Bossley, I want to thank you for choosing us for your recent service visit. I appreciate your business and hope you will recommend me to your family and friends.


In a few weeks, Ford Motor Company may send you a survey asking your opinions about this visit with us. The most important score for me is question number 1, "How satisfied were you on your overall service experience at Very Bossley Ford?" This is my personal grade card and anything marked less than "Completely Satisfied", is a failing score from Ford.


I would appreciate your time in completing and returning the survey in the postage paid envelope supplied by Ford. The survey is very important to me and if for any reason you can not mark question number 1 "Completely Satisfied", please feel free to contact me at (number), or if I am unavailable contact Name Job Title at (number) and we will do our best to resolve your concerns. Remember, "Completely Satisfied" on question 1 and any other questions can be filled out differently to address your specific concerns.


Again, thank you for your input and taking time from your day in filling out this survey and your satisfaction is my highest priority to you.


Sincerely,

Name

Job Title


Okayyy. For the moment, we'll leave aside the minor lack of understanding when to capitalize, and improper use of commas, quotation marks and that sort of thing. But if YOU were a honcho at Ford Motor Company, and suddenly nearly every customer from Very Bossley Ford, Inc. returned a survey stating that he was "completely satisfied" in every way, would you perhaps wonder at the accuracy of the tests? Would you be "completely satisfied" with your branch managers if you found them to be sending letters directly to customers, coaching them as to how to answer your tests?


Large companies like this can spend quite a bit of money gathering information like this and it honestly bothers me that Very Bossley is trying to undercut that process. Notice that the concern really isn't about the customer, either. He doesn't really care how you answer any other question - just pweeease don't affect his good standing with the corporate office! I don't like the real-life implications running through my head right now...

3 comments:

  1. I used to work for a school district office and it is well known that the students who are selected for gifted programs are actually the teacher pleasers, not the best and the brightest students. The students who rate the highest on intelligence tests are usually quite bored and do not perform as well in standard schools. In addition, students who rate the highest on intelligence tests are more likely to have some other issue that mitigates a teacher's opinion of that student.

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  2. Thank you, anonymous. I also wonder at those who are lower in intelligence. No parent wants to admit that about their child, but I wonder if children who are very low in intelligence are also not bored in school because all the material is above them. I know I feel that way when smart people discuss theology or science. Yawn! :)

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  3. I think testing is ridiculous.

    Firstly, everyone is different and how does a middle of the road test accomodate to read the those differences? It doesn't. The girly can do a lot of things mentally that kids her age can't, heck that *I* can't...lol....but, she panics terribly with tests. You would think she's a three year old who never held a pencil. Tests cheat kids like her.

    The boy on the other hand can do testing really, really well. Well to the point that he is bored quickly, so fill in the bubble tests become 'hey let's randomly alternate bubbles and get done so I can go outside!'....

    Do you ever shop eBay? I love the feedback section! What a joke. The seller is rated by performance, and then you are in return rated as a buyer. It kills me to get inboxes from sellers saying if I give them a good review, theirs is automated and I will automatically get a matching review.....are you kidding? How honest is that?

    Oh well, if I ran the world...... :)

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)