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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Friday, July 18, 2008

People Can't Be Standardized

"We want to cling to these incredibly outdated measures of ability." - Malcolm Gladwell

I just finished a very interesting video from The New Yorker (no not the Obama cover controversy). Malcolm Gladwell speaks on mismatches between hiring practices and job performance. He uses professional sports combines (NHL, NBA, and NFL quarterbacks), teaching (which I didn't know he would discuss until he got there), lawyers, airline pilots, and cops.

His premise - We are not using the right tools to determine the effectiveness of the people we hire to do these jobs.

His argument - We are trapped into thinking that there is an objective tool (or tools) that will grant us certainty that the people we hire will be successful in their jobs.

His conclusion - There are no right tools to determine the effectiveness of the people we hire to do these jobs. We have to evaluate them once they are on the job. There are no certainties.

My jump - Standardized tests for students are likewise no indicator of student abilities, promise, or value. In fact, these test may only serve as instruments to stifle children, impede their progress, and devalue them. I won't mention the affect on their self-esteem. Oops; I guess I just did.

Take a look at the video here.
Here's Gladwell's TEDTalk from 2006

IMAGE: http://flickr.com/photos/mrtea/2294114381/

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The views expressed here are my own and reflect only my opinion.

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At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Phil said...


....and if we are really smart we know there is too much diversity to ever create quantifiable measures of people. Simply appreciating and valuing does not seem to be enough for the"new metric age". Thanks so much for some links to a pair of videos I might never have found. Indeed, the TED site is probably going to cause me to spend some time on a Saturday surfing away. Maybe it will rain and my wife won't mind? Maybe I am an optimist? Nah don't think so on either count. Thanks for a good post.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Ric Murry said...

Thanks for stopping by Phil. TED is a great way to spend time on a rainy day...even a sunny day.



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